Dear House of Commons,

Please provide the following:

1) Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives
2) Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

Yours faithfully,

Kacey Montagu

FOI Commons, House of Commons

Dear Kacey Montagu,

 

Freedom of Information request F21-141

 

Thank you for your request for information dated 21 March 2021, received
by us on the 22 March 2021, which is copied below.

 

We will endeavour to respond to your request promptly but in any case
within 20 working days i.e. on or before 19 April 2021.

 

If you have any queries about your request, please use the request number
quoted above and in the subject line of this email.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

We will work hard to answer your information rights requests during the
current COVID 19 situation in line with statutory requirements, however
some requests may be affected by access to collections and availability of
staff. We will keep you informed of any identified delays in answering
your request.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Sarah Price

IRIS Support Officer
Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service | House of
Commons

 

[1]www.parliament.uk | [2]@ukparliament | [3]@houseofcommons

[4]House of Commons Privacy Notice for the Public

[5]Supporting a thriving parliamentary democracy

 

 

 

From: Kacey Montagu <[FOI #738948 email]>
Sent: 21 March 2021 21:10
To: FOI Commons <[email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Guidance provided to newly
elected MPs

 

Dear House of Commons,

Please provide the following:

1) Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives
2) Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

Yours faithfully,

Kacey Montagu

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[6][FOI #738948 email]

Is [7][House of Commons request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to House of Commons? If so, please contact us using
this form:
[8]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[9]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[10]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

FOI Commons, House of Commons

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Montagu,

 

 

Freedom of Information Request F21-141

 

Further to your request for information, I am writing to let you know that
we will not be able to provide a response to you within our deadline.

 

The House of Commons holds information relevant to your request but is
currently considering the public interest tests for exemptions under
sections 24, 31 and 38 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the
exemptions for national security, law enforcement and health and safety
respectively). Owing to the complexity of the issues involved, we will be
extending our deadline to provide your response.

 

Please be assured that your request is being treated as a priority and we
will reply to you as soon as possible, no later than 17 May 2021.

 

Please also accept our sincerest apologies for the delay.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Information Rights Officer
Information Rights and Information Security

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
[1][IMG]

 

[2]House of Commons Privacy Notice for the public

 

The House of Commons welcomes feedback. If you have any compliments,
complaints or comments,
about the service that you have received please send an email
to [3][email address]

 

 

 

From: Kacey Montagu <[FOI #738948 email]>
Sent: 21 March 2021 21:10
To: FOI Commons <[email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Guidance provided to newly
elected MPs

 

Dear House of Commons,

Please provide the following:

1) Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives
2) Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

Yours faithfully,

Kacey Montagu

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[4][FOI #738948 email]

Is [5][House of Commons request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to House of Commons? If so, please contact us using
this form:
[6]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[7]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[8]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

Dear FOI Commons,

I remind you that your deadline you have set, May 17th, is approaching very soon.

Yours sincerely,

Kacey Montagu

FOI Commons, House of Commons

4 Attachments

Dear Kacey Montagu,

 

 

Freedom of Information Request F21-141

 

Thank you for your request for information as copied below. You have asked
two questions about the information a newly-elected MP receives, which we
have sought to answer below.

 

Thank you also for your patience in waiting for this response. Please
accept my apologies for the delay.

 

Please note that due to the file size limit for sending emails and the
size of the documents included here, I will send this response in parts,
over several emails. I will confirm in the final email that it is the last
one, and if you have not received any of the intervening emails shown in
the chain, you should let us know.

 

 1. Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

Following the election, new Members receive a pack containing the
following documents:

 

o A letter from the Clerk and the Managing Director of the House of
Commons

o The New Members’ Guidebook

o Information from HMRC, about their employment, and the Independent
Parliamentary Standards Authority, about their pay and expenses
(neither of which we hold for our purposes)

 

On their arrival at the House of Commons, each new Member receives a pack
containing the following documents:

 

o A ‘New Member Letter’ from the Parliamentary Commissioner for
Standards, a registration form for the Register of Members’ Financial
Interests and a copy of the Code of Conduct & Guide to the Rules
o Members’ Handbook
o ‘Members’ Guide to Services’ desk planner
o A-Z Members Directory
o Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet
o Procedural briefing cards
o 3x 3D maps of the parliamentary estate, the Palace of Westminster and
Portcullis House
o Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House
o An ‘Application for Catering/Retail Account’ form

 

The New Members’ Guidebook and the House of Commons Code of Conduct &
Guide to the Rules are both already published. This information is
therefore exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and
(2)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which removes a
public authority from the obligation to provide access to information
which is already in the public domain. This is an absolute exemption and
the public interest test does not apply. However, it may help you to know
that information relevant to your request can be found at
[1]https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-...
and
[2]https://www.parliament.uk/business/publi....

 

The entirety of the Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet and the
entirety of the maps of the parliamentary estate are exempt from
disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24 and 38 FOIA. Further
information about these exemptions, including public interest tests where
applicable, is included below.

 

The remaining documents that we hold in the two lists above are attached
to this response either in this email or subsequent emails.

 

Parts of the Members’ Handbook and the Members’ Guide to Services desk
planner, including information about security measures, parliamentary
passes, the internal layout of buildings and cyber-security measures, are
exempt from disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24, 38, 40 and 43
FOIA. Further information about these exemptions, including public
interest tests where applicable, is included below.

 

Section 31 – Law enforcement

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate, and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. Therefore, this
information is exempt by virtue of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a
qualified exemption and the public interest test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of
measures being employed in preventing criminal activity.  It is in the
public interest that people working on and visiting the estate should be
able to do so safely and securely. However, the public interest in
withholding the information relates to the risk of criminal activity being
undertaken if the information was disclosed. Details of these measures and
the internal layout of buildings would represent valuable information to
anyone with malicious or criminal intent. This is because it could be used
to subvert those measures, circumventing the normal process for obtaining
access to the estate or taking advantage of a perceived weakness. This
would make it easier for would-be offenders to commit criminal acts
against Members or gain unauthorised access to restricted areas. In turn,
we would be failing in our duty to assist those service providing us with
law enforcement, hindering their work in preventing and detecting crime.

For these reasons, the House has concluded that the public interest in
withholding this information outweighs the public interest in disclosing
it.

 

The House also considers that disclosing information about measures in
place to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons, including how
IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members in limiting
access to their devices, would be likely to prejudice the prevention or
detection of crime. Therefore, this information is also exempt by virtue
of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

Again, we accept the legitimate public interest in our being open and
transparent in these matters so that the public can have confidence that
the House’s computer systems and the parliamentary network are protected
against cyber-attack. However, this is outweighed by the risks of criminal
activity being undertaken if the information was disclosed. The release of
this material could provide valuable information to those wishing to
circumvent our security systems, exposing potential weaknesses that
hackers, terrorists and other criminal groups could exploit. Another
factor that favours withholding the information is the possibility of a
“mosaic effect”, whereby this information could be combined with other
information already in the public domain or obtained from elsewhere, in
order to build a more complete picture of our security arrangements. This
is particularly concerning in the field of cyber security, where small
details may appear harmless but are capable of being combined with other
information to breach or bypass security measures.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information. 

 

Section 24 – National security

 

The House considers that withholding from disclosure information about
measures in place to protect the physical security of Members and
Ministers working on the parliamentary estate and information about the
internal layout of buildings is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding
national security. This information is therefore exempt by virtue of
Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest
test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of the
measures in place for deterring security threats to the workings of the
Government on the parliamentary estate. However, whilst there may be a
public interest in access to this information, it is considered that in
this case it is not in the wider public interest to disclose. This is
because the disclosure of this information would publicise the measures we
have in place to deter security threats to the estate and the people on
it, including Government ministers and officials. If either these measures
or information about the internal layout of buildings were publicised,
there is a risk that this information would assist criminals, terrorists
or fixated individuals with the aim of targeting these individuals or
disrupting the proper workings of government. Groups planning attacks are
known to conduct extensive research, building up a picture of their target
from various sources, which this information could become part.

In these circumstances, it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

The House also considers that withholding from disclosure information
about measures to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons,
including how IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members
in limiting access to their devices, is necessary for the purpose of
safeguarding national security. This information is therefore also exempt
by virtue of Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered, once again, the legitimate public interest in the
provision of robust and secure defenses against cyber-criminals who may
seek to undermine national security. However, we consider that it is not
in the wider public interest to disclose this information because, as well
as the risk posed to the security of Parliament’s IT network, there is
also a risk of national security being compromised. Parliament is an
essential part of the UK’s system of government and constitutes part of
the critical national infrastructure. The disclosure of this information
is extremely likely to assist the design of attacks against the network,
jeopardising the security of information necessary for the proper
functioning of the Government in Parliament. Providing details of specific
cybersecurity advice to Members, who may also be Government ministers,
would expose potential weaknesses that hackers, terrorists and other
criminal groups could exploit. Groups planning attacks are known to
conduct extensive research and to disclose this information could
potentially provide those groups or individuals with an indication of
where to focus their efforts when targeting our systems. The wider public
interest is therefore considered to favour non-disclosure.

 

Section 38 – Health and safety

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
endanger the physical or mental health of individuals within the estate.
Therefore, this information is exempt by virtue of Section 38(1)(a) and
(b) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest test
applies.

We have considered the need to reassure the public that people visiting or
working on the parliamentary estate are safe and that we have appropriate
measures in force to deter threats to this safety. However, there is a
countervailing public interest in protecting information about the means
by which people on the premises, including Members, are kept safe. As
explained above, providing detail about the measures by which the physical
security of Members is secured and information about the internal layout
of buildings would increase the likelihood of criminal activity or an
attack on Parliament. In this event, the health and safety of anyone on
the Estate would be in serious danger. Indeed, a successful attack enabled
by the circumvention of security measures would present a risk to the
lives of many.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

Section 40 – Personal information

 

Some names of staff members working for the House of Commons and of other
organisations have been redacted from the requested information to prevent
them from being identified. This information is therefore exempt by virtue
of section 40 (2) FOIA, as disclosure of this information to the public
generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data
protection principles in Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection
Regulation. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test
does not apply.

 

Section 43 – Commercial interests

 

The log-in username and password for the Employee Assistance Programme
used by the House of Commons has been redacted. We have concluded that
this information is exempt under section 43(2) FOIA because the disclosure
of this information would be prejudicial to the House’s commercial
interests. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered the public interest the disclosure of this information.
It is important to be transparent in which services are being provided to
individuals, and for the public to be satisfied that we have effective
support and reporting processes set up. However, if we disclose this
information these services will be accessible to anyone. In these
circumstances, the public money spent on this service will be wasted.

For this reason, we consider that the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

 2. Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

The role of the House of Commons Administration is to support Members in
carrying out their roles as elected representatives. Therefore, almost all
House teams are likely to send guidance or information for new Members in
a variety of ways and formats. To service this part of your request, the
House of Commons would need to undertake a search across many if not all
teams in the organisation. At the time of your request, the House had 11
teams: the Chamber and Committees Team, the Governance & Strategic
Business Resilience team, the In-House Services and Estates team, the
Finance, the Portfolio & Performance team, the HR & Diversity team and the
Research & Information team, as well as the bicameral Independent
Complaints and Grievance Scheme, the Parliamentary Digital Service, the
Participation team, the Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service
and the Parliamentary Security Department.

 

Each of these teams would have provided guidance and information
introducing their services to newly-elected MPs in the period after the
last election. Assuming each of the 11 teams take at least four hours to
retrieve and collate all of the documents information and guidance within
the scope of your request, we estimate that this task would take at least
44 working hours to complete.

 

Section 12 FOIA only requires the House of Commons to comply with a
request which would not exceed the appropriate limit of £600. This
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 24 working hours in
determining whether the House holds the information, and locating,
retrieving and extracting the information.  As your request exceeds this
limit, it is refused. However, if you were to make a new request for a
narrower category of information, it may be that we could comply, although
we cannot guarantee that this will be the case. For example, you could
refine your request to ask for information or guidance of a specific kind
or from a specific team.

 

Lastly, it may help you to know that newly elected MPs also receive
information about their salaries and expenses. However, these functions
are the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards
Authority (IPSA), which it is separate from the House of Commons.
Therefore you may wish to refer to the IPSA website at
[3]http://www.theipsa.org.uk/ where information about MPs’ salaries and
expenses is published, or you may wish to contact them using the contact
details provided there.

 

 

You may, if dissatisfied with the handling of your request, complain to
the House of Commons. Alternatively, if you are dissatisfied with the
outcome of your request you may ask the House of Commons to conduct an
internal review of any decision regarding your request. Complaints or
requests for internal review should be addressed to: Information Rights
and Information Security Service, Research & Information Team, House of
Commons, London SW1A 0AA or [4][House of Commons request email]. Please ensure
that you specify the full reasons for your complaint or internal review
along with any arguments or points that you wish to make.

 

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner
at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF,
[5]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Information Rights Officer
Information Rights and Information Security

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
[6][IMG]

 

[7]House of Commons Privacy Notice for the public

 

The House of Commons welcomes feedback. If you have any compliments,
complaints or comments,
about the service that you have received please send an email
to [8][email address]

 

 

From: Kacey Montagu <[FOI #738948 email]>
Sent: 21 March 2021 21:10
To: FOI Commons <[email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Guidance provided to newly
elected MPs

 

Dear House of Commons,

Please provide the following:

1) Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives
2) Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

Yours faithfully,

Kacey Montagu

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[9][FOI #738948 email]

Is [10][House of Commons request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to House of Commons? If so, please contact us using
this form:
[11]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[12]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[13]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

FOI Commons, House of Commons

2 Attachments

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:05
To: Kacey Montagu <[FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 1]

 

Dear Kacey Montagu,

 

 

Freedom of Information Request F21-141

 

Thank you for your request for information as copied below. You have asked
two questions about the information a newly-elected MP receives, which we
have sought to answer below.

 

Thank you also for your patience in waiting for this response. Please
accept my apologies for the delay.

 

Please note that due to the file size limit for sending emails and the
size of the documents included here, I will send this response in parts,
over several emails. I will confirm in the final email that it is the last
one, and if you have not received any of the intervening emails shown in
the chain, you should let us know.

 

 1. Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

Following the election, new Members receive a pack containing the
following documents:

 

o A letter from the Clerk and the Managing Director of the House of
Commons

o The New Members’ Guidebook

o Information from HMRC, about their employment, and the Independent
Parliamentary Standards Authority, about their pay and expenses
(neither of which we hold for our purposes)

 

On their arrival at the House of Commons, each new Member receives a pack
containing the following documents:

 

o A ‘New Member Letter’ from the Parliamentary Commissioner for
Standards, a registration form for the Register of Members’ Financial
Interests and a copy of the Code of Conduct & Guide to the Rules
o Members’ Handbook
o ‘Members’ Guide to Services’ desk planner
o A-Z Members Directory
o Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet
o Procedural briefing cards
o 3x 3D maps of the parliamentary estate, the Palace of Westminster and
Portcullis House
o Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House
o An ‘Application for Catering/Retail Account’ form

 

The New Members’ Guidebook and the House of Commons Code of Conduct &
Guide to the Rules are both already published. This information is
therefore exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and
(2)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which removes a
public authority from the obligation to provide access to information
which is already in the public domain. This is an absolute exemption and
the public interest test does not apply. However, it may help you to know
that information relevant to your request can be found at
[1]https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-...
and
[2]https://www.parliament.uk/business/publi....

 

The entirety of the Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet and the
entirety of the maps of the parliamentary estate are exempt from
disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24 and 38 FOIA. Further
information about these exemptions, including public interest tests where
applicable, is included below.

 

The remaining documents that we hold in the two lists above are attached
to this response either in this email or subsequent emails.

 

Parts of the Members’ Handbook and the Members’ Guide to Services desk
planner, including information about security measures, parliamentary
passes, the internal layout of buildings and cyber-security measures, are
exempt from disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24, 38, 40 and 43
FOIA. Further information about these exemptions, including public
interest tests where applicable, is included below.

 

Section 31 – Law enforcement

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate, and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. Therefore, this
information is exempt by virtue of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a
qualified exemption and the public interest test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of
measures being employed in preventing criminal activity.  It is in the
public interest that people working on and visiting the estate should be
able to do so safely and securely. However, the public interest in
withholding the information relates to the risk of criminal activity being
undertaken if the information was disclosed. Details of these measures and
the internal layout of buildings would represent valuable information to
anyone with malicious or criminal intent. This is because it could be used
to subvert those measures, circumventing the normal process for obtaining
access to the estate or taking advantage of a perceived weakness. This
would make it easier for would-be offenders to commit criminal acts
against Members or gain unauthorised access to restricted areas. In turn,
we would be failing in our duty to assist those service providing us with
law enforcement, hindering their work in preventing and detecting crime.

For these reasons, the House has concluded that the public interest in
withholding this information outweighs the public interest in disclosing
it.

 

The House also considers that disclosing information about measures in
place to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons, including how
IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members in limiting
access to their devices, would be likely to prejudice the prevention or
detection of crime. Therefore, this information is also exempt by virtue
of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

Again, we accept the legitimate public interest in our being open and
transparent in these matters so that the public can have confidence that
the House’s computer systems and the parliamentary network are protected
against cyber-attack. However, this is outweighed by the risks of criminal
activity being undertaken if the information was disclosed. The release of
this material could provide valuable information to those wishing to
circumvent our security systems, exposing potential weaknesses that
hackers, terrorists and other criminal groups could exploit. Another
factor that favours withholding the information is the possibility of a
“mosaic effect”, whereby this information could be combined with other
information already in the public domain or obtained from elsewhere, in
order to build a more complete picture of our security arrangements. This
is particularly concerning in the field of cyber security, where small
details may appear harmless but are capable of being combined with other
information to breach or bypass security measures.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information. 

 

Section 24 – National security

 

The House considers that withholding from disclosure information about
measures in place to protect the physical security of Members and
Ministers working on the parliamentary estate and information about the
internal layout of buildings is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding
national security. This information is therefore exempt by virtue of
Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest
test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of the
measures in place for deterring security threats to the workings of the
Government on the parliamentary estate. However, whilst there may be a
public interest in access to this information, it is considered that in
this case it is not in the wider public interest to disclose. This is
because the disclosure of this information would publicise the measures we
have in place to deter security threats to the estate and the people on
it, including Government ministers and officials. If either these measures
or information about the internal layout of buildings were publicised,
there is a risk that this information would assist criminals, terrorists
or fixated individuals with the aim of targeting these individuals or
disrupting the proper workings of government. Groups planning attacks are
known to conduct extensive research, building up a picture of their target
from various sources, which this information could become part.

In these circumstances, it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

The House also considers that withholding from disclosure information
about measures to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons,
including how IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members
in limiting access to their devices, is necessary for the purpose of
safeguarding national security. This information is therefore also exempt
by virtue of Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered, once again, the legitimate public interest in the
provision of robust and secure defenses against cyber-criminals who may
seek to undermine national security. However, we consider that it is not
in the wider public interest to disclose this information because, as well
as the risk posed to the security of Parliament’s IT network, there is
also a risk of national security being compromised. Parliament is an
essential part of the UK’s system of government and constitutes part of
the critical national infrastructure. The disclosure of this information
is extremely likely to assist the design of attacks against the network,
jeopardising the security of information necessary for the proper
functioning of the Government in Parliament. Providing details of specific
cybersecurity advice to Members, who may also be Government ministers,
would expose potential weaknesses that hackers, terrorists and other
criminal groups could exploit. Groups planning attacks are known to
conduct extensive research and to disclose this information could
potentially provide those groups or individuals with an indication of
where to focus their efforts when targeting our systems. The wider public
interest is therefore considered to favour non-disclosure.

 

Section 38 – Health and safety

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
endanger the physical or mental health of individuals within the estate.
Therefore, this information is exempt by virtue of Section 38(1)(a) and
(b) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest test
applies.

We have considered the need to reassure the public that people visiting or
working on the parliamentary estate are safe and that we have appropriate
measures in force to deter threats to this safety. However, there is a
countervailing public interest in protecting information about the means
by which people on the premises, including Members, are kept safe. As
explained above, providing detail about the measures by which the physical
security of Members is secured and information about the internal layout
of buildings would increase the likelihood of criminal activity or an
attack on Parliament. In this event, the health and safety of anyone on
the Estate would be in serious danger. Indeed, a successful attack enabled
by the circumvention of security measures would present a risk to the
lives of many.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

Section 40 – Personal information

 

Some names of staff members working for the House of Commons and of other
organisations have been redacted from the requested information to prevent
them from being identified. This information is therefore exempt by virtue
of section 40 (2) FOIA, as disclosure of this information to the public
generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data
protection principles in Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection
Regulation. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test
does not apply.

 

Section 43 – Commercial interests

 

The log-in username and password for the Employee Assistance Programme
used by the House of Commons has been redacted. We have concluded that
this information is exempt under section 43(2) FOIA because the disclosure
of this information would be prejudicial to the House’s commercial
interests. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered the public interest the disclosure of this information.
It is important to be transparent in which services are being provided to
individuals, and for the public to be satisfied that we have effective
support and reporting processes set up. However, if we disclose this
information these services will be accessible to anyone. In these
circumstances, the public money spent on this service will be wasted.

For this reason, we consider that the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

 2. Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

The role of the House of Commons Administration is to support Members in
carrying out their roles as elected representatives. Therefore, almost all
House teams are likely to send guidance or information for new Members in
a variety of ways and formats. To service this part of your request, the
House of Commons would need to undertake a search across many if not all
teams in the organisation. At the time of your request, the House had 11
teams: the Chamber and Committees Team, the Governance & Strategic
Business Resilience team, the In-House Services and Estates team, the
Finance, the Portfolio & Performance team, the HR & Diversity team and the
Research & Information team, as well as the bicameral Independent
Complaints and Grievance Scheme, the Parliamentary Digital Service, the
Participation team, the Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service
and the Parliamentary Security Department.

 

Each of these teams would have provided guidance and information
introducing their services to newly-elected MPs in the period after the
last election. Assuming each of the 11 teams take at least four hours to
retrieve and collate all of the documents information and guidance within
the scope of your request, we estimate that this task would take at least
44 working hours to complete.

 

Section 12 FOIA only requires the House of Commons to comply with a
request which would not exceed the appropriate limit of £600. This
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 24 working hours in
determining whether the House holds the information, and locating,
retrieving and extracting the information.  As your request exceeds this
limit, it is refused. However, if you were to make a new request for a
narrower category of information, it may be that we could comply, although
we cannot guarantee that this will be the case. For example, you could
refine your request to ask for information or guidance of a specific kind
or from a specific team.

 

Lastly, it may help you to know that newly elected MPs also receive
information about their salaries and expenses. However, these functions
are the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards
Authority (IPSA), which it is separate from the House of Commons.
Therefore you may wish to refer to the IPSA website at
[3]http://www.theipsa.org.uk/ where information about MPs’ salaries and
expenses is published, or you may wish to contact them using the contact
details provided there.

 

 

You may, if dissatisfied with the handling of your request, complain to
the House of Commons. Alternatively, if you are dissatisfied with the
outcome of your request you may ask the House of Commons to conduct an
internal review of any decision regarding your request. Complaints or
requests for internal review should be addressed to: Information Rights
and Information Security Service, Research & Information Team, House of
Commons, London SW1A 0AA or [4][House of Commons request email]. Please ensure
that you specify the full reasons for your complaint or internal review
along with any arguments or points that you wish to make.

 

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner
at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF,
[5]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Information Rights Officer
Information Rights and Information Security

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
[6][IMG]

 

[7]House of Commons Privacy Notice for the public

 

The House of Commons welcomes feedback. If you have any compliments,
complaints or comments,
about the service that you have received please send an email
to [8][email address]

 

 

From: Kacey Montagu <[9][FOI #738948 email]>
Sent: 21 March 2021 21:10
To: FOI Commons <[10][email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Guidance provided to newly
elected MPs

 

Dear House of Commons,

Please provide the following:

1) Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives
2) Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

Yours faithfully,

Kacey Montagu

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[11][FOI #738948 email]

Is [12][House of Commons request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to House of Commons? If so, please contact us using
this form:
[13]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[14]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[15]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

FOI Commons, House of Commons

2 Attachments

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:12
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 2]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:05
To: Kacey Montagu <[1][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 1]

 

Dear Kacey Montagu,

 

 

Freedom of Information Request F21-141

 

Thank you for your request for information as copied below. You have asked
two questions about the information a newly-elected MP receives, which we
have sought to answer below.

 

Thank you also for your patience in waiting for this response. Please
accept my apologies for the delay.

 

Please note that due to the file size limit for sending emails and the
size of the documents included here, I will send this response in parts,
over several emails. I will confirm in the final email that it is the last
one, and if you have not received any of the intervening emails shown in
the chain, you should let us know.

 

 1. Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

Following the election, new Members receive a pack containing the
following documents:

 

o A letter from the Clerk and the Managing Director of the House of
Commons

o The New Members’ Guidebook

o Information from HMRC, about their employment, and the Independent
Parliamentary Standards Authority, about their pay and expenses
(neither of which we hold for our purposes)

 

On their arrival at the House of Commons, each new Member receives a pack
containing the following documents:

 

o A ‘New Member Letter’ from the Parliamentary Commissioner for
Standards, a registration form for the Register of Members’ Financial
Interests and a copy of the Code of Conduct & Guide to the Rules
o Members’ Handbook
o ‘Members’ Guide to Services’ desk planner
o A-Z Members Directory
o Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet
o Procedural briefing cards
o 3x 3D maps of the parliamentary estate, the Palace of Westminster and
Portcullis House
o Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House
o An ‘Application for Catering/Retail Account’ form

 

The New Members’ Guidebook and the House of Commons Code of Conduct &
Guide to the Rules are both already published. This information is
therefore exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and
(2)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which removes a
public authority from the obligation to provide access to information
which is already in the public domain. This is an absolute exemption and
the public interest test does not apply. However, it may help you to know
that information relevant to your request can be found at
[2]https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-...
and
[3]https://www.parliament.uk/business/publi....

 

The entirety of the Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet and the
entirety of the maps of the parliamentary estate are exempt from
disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24 and 38 FOIA. Further
information about these exemptions, including public interest tests where
applicable, is included below.

 

The remaining documents that we hold in the two lists above are attached
to this response either in this email or subsequent emails.

 

Parts of the Members’ Handbook and the Members’ Guide to Services desk
planner, including information about security measures, parliamentary
passes, the internal layout of buildings and cyber-security measures, are
exempt from disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24, 38, 40 and 43
FOIA. Further information about these exemptions, including public
interest tests where applicable, is included below.

 

Section 31 – Law enforcement

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate, and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. Therefore, this
information is exempt by virtue of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a
qualified exemption and the public interest test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of
measures being employed in preventing criminal activity.  It is in the
public interest that people working on and visiting the estate should be
able to do so safely and securely. However, the public interest in
withholding the information relates to the risk of criminal activity being
undertaken if the information was disclosed. Details of these measures and
the internal layout of buildings would represent valuable information to
anyone with malicious or criminal intent. This is because it could be used
to subvert those measures, circumventing the normal process for obtaining
access to the estate or taking advantage of a perceived weakness. This
would make it easier for would-be offenders to commit criminal acts
against Members or gain unauthorised access to restricted areas. In turn,
we would be failing in our duty to assist those service providing us with
law enforcement, hindering their work in preventing and detecting crime.

For these reasons, the House has concluded that the public interest in
withholding this information outweighs the public interest in disclosing
it.

 

The House also considers that disclosing information about measures in
place to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons, including how
IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members in limiting
access to their devices, would be likely to prejudice the prevention or
detection of crime. Therefore, this information is also exempt by virtue
of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

Again, we accept the legitimate public interest in our being open and
transparent in these matters so that the public can have confidence that
the House’s computer systems and the parliamentary network are protected
against cyber-attack. However, this is outweighed by the risks of criminal
activity being undertaken if the information was disclosed. The release of
this material could provide valuable information to those wishing to
circumvent our security systems, exposing potential weaknesses that
hackers, terrorists and other criminal groups could exploit. Another
factor that favours withholding the information is the possibility of a
“mosaic effect”, whereby this information could be combined with other
information already in the public domain or obtained from elsewhere, in
order to build a more complete picture of our security arrangements. This
is particularly concerning in the field of cyber security, where small
details may appear harmless but are capable of being combined with other
information to breach or bypass security measures.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information. 

 

Section 24 – National security

 

The House considers that withholding from disclosure information about
measures in place to protect the physical security of Members and
Ministers working on the parliamentary estate and information about the
internal layout of buildings is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding
national security. This information is therefore exempt by virtue of
Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest
test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of the
measures in place for deterring security threats to the workings of the
Government on the parliamentary estate. However, whilst there may be a
public interest in access to this information, it is considered that in
this case it is not in the wider public interest to disclose. This is
because the disclosure of this information would publicise the measures we
have in place to deter security threats to the estate and the people on
it, including Government ministers and officials. If either these measures
or information about the internal layout of buildings were publicised,
there is a risk that this information would assist criminals, terrorists
or fixated individuals with the aim of targeting these individuals or
disrupting the proper workings of government. Groups planning attacks are
known to conduct extensive research, building up a picture of their target
from various sources, which this information could become part.

In these circumstances, it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

The House also considers that withholding from disclosure information
about measures to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons,
including how IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members
in limiting access to their devices, is necessary for the purpose of
safeguarding national security. This information is therefore also exempt
by virtue of Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered, once again, the legitimate public interest in the
provision of robust and secure defenses against cyber-criminals who may
seek to undermine national security. However, we consider that it is not
in the wider public interest to disclose this information because, as well
as the risk posed to the security of Parliament’s IT network, there is
also a risk of national security being compromised. Parliament is an
essential part of the UK’s system of government and constitutes part of
the critical national infrastructure. The disclosure of this information
is extremely likely to assist the design of attacks against the network,
jeopardising the security of information necessary for the proper
functioning of the Government in Parliament. Providing details of specific
cybersecurity advice to Members, who may also be Government ministers,
would expose potential weaknesses that hackers, terrorists and other
criminal groups could exploit. Groups planning attacks are known to
conduct extensive research and to disclose this information could
potentially provide those groups or individuals with an indication of
where to focus their efforts when targeting our systems. The wider public
interest is therefore considered to favour non-disclosure.

 

Section 38 – Health and safety

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
endanger the physical or mental health of individuals within the estate.
Therefore, this information is exempt by virtue of Section 38(1)(a) and
(b) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest test
applies.

We have considered the need to reassure the public that people visiting or
working on the parliamentary estate are safe and that we have appropriate
measures in force to deter threats to this safety. However, there is a
countervailing public interest in protecting information about the means
by which people on the premises, including Members, are kept safe. As
explained above, providing detail about the measures by which the physical
security of Members is secured and information about the internal layout
of buildings would increase the likelihood of criminal activity or an
attack on Parliament. In this event, the health and safety of anyone on
the Estate would be in serious danger. Indeed, a successful attack enabled
by the circumvention of security measures would present a risk to the
lives of many.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

Section 40 – Personal information

 

Some names of staff members working for the House of Commons and of other
organisations have been redacted from the requested information to prevent
them from being identified. This information is therefore exempt by virtue
of section 40 (2) FOIA, as disclosure of this information to the public
generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data
protection principles in Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection
Regulation. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test
does not apply.

 

Section 43 – Commercial interests

 

The log-in username and password for the Employee Assistance Programme
used by the House of Commons has been redacted. We have concluded that
this information is exempt under section 43(2) FOIA because the disclosure
of this information would be prejudicial to the House’s commercial
interests. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered the public interest the disclosure of this information.
It is important to be transparent in which services are being provided to
individuals, and for the public to be satisfied that we have effective
support and reporting processes set up. However, if we disclose this
information these services will be accessible to anyone. In these
circumstances, the public money spent on this service will be wasted.

For this reason, we consider that the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

 2. Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

The role of the House of Commons Administration is to support Members in
carrying out their roles as elected representatives. Therefore, almost all
House teams are likely to send guidance or information for new Members in
a variety of ways and formats. To service this part of your request, the
House of Commons would need to undertake a search across many if not all
teams in the organisation. At the time of your request, the House had 11
teams: the Chamber and Committees Team, the Governance & Strategic
Business Resilience team, the In-House Services and Estates team, the
Finance, the Portfolio & Performance team, the HR & Diversity team and the
Research & Information team, as well as the bicameral Independent
Complaints and Grievance Scheme, the Parliamentary Digital Service, the
Participation team, the Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service
and the Parliamentary Security Department.

 

Each of these teams would have provided guidance and information
introducing their services to newly-elected MPs in the period after the
last election. Assuming each of the 11 teams take at least four hours to
retrieve and collate all of the documents information and guidance within
the scope of your request, we estimate that this task would take at least
44 working hours to complete.

 

Section 12 FOIA only requires the House of Commons to comply with a
request which would not exceed the appropriate limit of £600. This
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 24 working hours in
determining whether the House holds the information, and locating,
retrieving and extracting the information.  As your request exceeds this
limit, it is refused. However, if you were to make a new request for a
narrower category of information, it may be that we could comply, although
we cannot guarantee that this will be the case. For example, you could
refine your request to ask for information or guidance of a specific kind
or from a specific team.

 

Lastly, it may help you to know that newly elected MPs also receive
information about their salaries and expenses. However, these functions
are the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards
Authority (IPSA), which it is separate from the House of Commons.
Therefore you may wish to refer to the IPSA website at
[4]http://www.theipsa.org.uk/ where information about MPs’ salaries and
expenses is published, or you may wish to contact them using the contact
details provided there.

 

 

You may, if dissatisfied with the handling of your request, complain to
the House of Commons. Alternatively, if you are dissatisfied with the
outcome of your request you may ask the House of Commons to conduct an
internal review of any decision regarding your request. Complaints or
requests for internal review should be addressed to: Information Rights
and Information Security Service, Research & Information Team, House of
Commons, London SW1A 0AA or [5][House of Commons request email]. Please ensure
that you specify the full reasons for your complaint or internal review
along with any arguments or points that you wish to make.

 

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner
at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF,
[6]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Information Rights Officer
Information Rights and Information Security

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
[7][IMG]

 

[8]House of Commons Privacy Notice for the public

 

The House of Commons welcomes feedback. If you have any compliments,
complaints or comments,
about the service that you have received please send an email
to [9][email address]

 

 

From: Kacey Montagu <[10][FOI #738948 email]>
Sent: 21 March 2021 21:10
To: FOI Commons <[11][email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Guidance provided to newly
elected MPs

 

Dear House of Commons,

Please provide the following:

1) Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives
2) Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

Yours faithfully,

Kacey Montagu

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[12][FOI #738948 email]

Is [13][House of Commons request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to House of Commons? If so, please contact us using
this form:
[14]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[15]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[16]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

FOI Commons, House of Commons

2 Attachments

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:14
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 3]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:12
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[1][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 2]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:05
To: Kacey Montagu <[2][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 1]

 

Dear Kacey Montagu,

 

 

Freedom of Information Request F21-141

 

Thank you for your request for information as copied below. You have asked
two questions about the information a newly-elected MP receives, which we
have sought to answer below.

 

Thank you also for your patience in waiting for this response. Please
accept my apologies for the delay.

 

Please note that due to the file size limit for sending emails and the
size of the documents included here, I will send this response in parts,
over several emails. I will confirm in the final email that it is the last
one, and if you have not received any of the intervening emails shown in
the chain, you should let us know.

 

 1. Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

Following the election, new Members receive a pack containing the
following documents:

 

o A letter from the Clerk and the Managing Director of the House of
Commons

o The New Members’ Guidebook

o Information from HMRC, about their employment, and the Independent
Parliamentary Standards Authority, about their pay and expenses
(neither of which we hold for our purposes)

 

On their arrival at the House of Commons, each new Member receives a pack
containing the following documents:

 

o A ‘New Member Letter’ from the Parliamentary Commissioner for
Standards, a registration form for the Register of Members’ Financial
Interests and a copy of the Code of Conduct & Guide to the Rules
o Members’ Handbook
o ‘Members’ Guide to Services’ desk planner
o A-Z Members Directory
o Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet
o Procedural briefing cards
o 3x 3D maps of the parliamentary estate, the Palace of Westminster and
Portcullis House
o Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House
o An ‘Application for Catering/Retail Account’ form

 

The New Members’ Guidebook and the House of Commons Code of Conduct &
Guide to the Rules are both already published. This information is
therefore exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and
(2)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which removes a
public authority from the obligation to provide access to information
which is already in the public domain. This is an absolute exemption and
the public interest test does not apply. However, it may help you to know
that information relevant to your request can be found at
[3]https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-...
and
[4]https://www.parliament.uk/business/publi....

 

The entirety of the Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet and the
entirety of the maps of the parliamentary estate are exempt from
disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24 and 38 FOIA. Further
information about these exemptions, including public interest tests where
applicable, is included below.

 

The remaining documents that we hold in the two lists above are attached
to this response either in this email or subsequent emails.

 

Parts of the Members’ Handbook and the Members’ Guide to Services desk
planner, including information about security measures, parliamentary
passes, the internal layout of buildings and cyber-security measures, are
exempt from disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24, 38, 40 and 43
FOIA. Further information about these exemptions, including public
interest tests where applicable, is included below.

 

Section 31 – Law enforcement

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate, and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. Therefore, this
information is exempt by virtue of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a
qualified exemption and the public interest test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of
measures being employed in preventing criminal activity.  It is in the
public interest that people working on and visiting the estate should be
able to do so safely and securely. However, the public interest in
withholding the information relates to the risk of criminal activity being
undertaken if the information was disclosed. Details of these measures and
the internal layout of buildings would represent valuable information to
anyone with malicious or criminal intent. This is because it could be used
to subvert those measures, circumventing the normal process for obtaining
access to the estate or taking advantage of a perceived weakness. This
would make it easier for would-be offenders to commit criminal acts
against Members or gain unauthorised access to restricted areas. In turn,
we would be failing in our duty to assist those service providing us with
law enforcement, hindering their work in preventing and detecting crime.

For these reasons, the House has concluded that the public interest in
withholding this information outweighs the public interest in disclosing
it.

 

The House also considers that disclosing information about measures in
place to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons, including how
IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members in limiting
access to their devices, would be likely to prejudice the prevention or
detection of crime. Therefore, this information is also exempt by virtue
of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

Again, we accept the legitimate public interest in our being open and
transparent in these matters so that the public can have confidence that
the House’s computer systems and the parliamentary network are protected
against cyber-attack. However, this is outweighed by the risks of criminal
activity being undertaken if the information was disclosed. The release of
this material could provide valuable information to those wishing to
circumvent our security systems, exposing potential weaknesses that
hackers, terrorists and other criminal groups could exploit. Another
factor that favours withholding the information is the possibility of a
“mosaic effect”, whereby this information could be combined with other
information already in the public domain or obtained from elsewhere, in
order to build a more complete picture of our security arrangements. This
is particularly concerning in the field of cyber security, where small
details may appear harmless but are capable of being combined with other
information to breach or bypass security measures.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information. 

 

Section 24 – National security

 

The House considers that withholding from disclosure information about
measures in place to protect the physical security of Members and
Ministers working on the parliamentary estate and information about the
internal layout of buildings is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding
national security. This information is therefore exempt by virtue of
Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest
test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of the
measures in place for deterring security threats to the workings of the
Government on the parliamentary estate. However, whilst there may be a
public interest in access to this information, it is considered that in
this case it is not in the wider public interest to disclose. This is
because the disclosure of this information would publicise the measures we
have in place to deter security threats to the estate and the people on
it, including Government ministers and officials. If either these measures
or information about the internal layout of buildings were publicised,
there is a risk that this information would assist criminals, terrorists
or fixated individuals with the aim of targeting these individuals or
disrupting the proper workings of government. Groups planning attacks are
known to conduct extensive research, building up a picture of their target
from various sources, which this information could become part.

In these circumstances, it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

The House also considers that withholding from disclosure information
about measures to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons,
including how IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members
in limiting access to their devices, is necessary for the purpose of
safeguarding national security. This information is therefore also exempt
by virtue of Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered, once again, the legitimate public interest in the
provision of robust and secure defenses against cyber-criminals who may
seek to undermine national security. However, we consider that it is not
in the wider public interest to disclose this information because, as well
as the risk posed to the security of Parliament’s IT network, there is
also a risk of national security being compromised. Parliament is an
essential part of the UK’s system of government and constitutes part of
the critical national infrastructure. The disclosure of this information
is extremely likely to assist the design of attacks against the network,
jeopardising the security of information necessary for the proper
functioning of the Government in Parliament. Providing details of specific
cybersecurity advice to Members, who may also be Government ministers,
would expose potential weaknesses that hackers, terrorists and other
criminal groups could exploit. Groups planning attacks are known to
conduct extensive research and to disclose this information could
potentially provide those groups or individuals with an indication of
where to focus their efforts when targeting our systems. The wider public
interest is therefore considered to favour non-disclosure.

 

Section 38 – Health and safety

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
endanger the physical or mental health of individuals within the estate.
Therefore, this information is exempt by virtue of Section 38(1)(a) and
(b) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest test
applies.

We have considered the need to reassure the public that people visiting or
working on the parliamentary estate are safe and that we have appropriate
measures in force to deter threats to this safety. However, there is a
countervailing public interest in protecting information about the means
by which people on the premises, including Members, are kept safe. As
explained above, providing detail about the measures by which the physical
security of Members is secured and information about the internal layout
of buildings would increase the likelihood of criminal activity or an
attack on Parliament. In this event, the health and safety of anyone on
the Estate would be in serious danger. Indeed, a successful attack enabled
by the circumvention of security measures would present a risk to the
lives of many.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

Section 40 – Personal information

 

Some names of staff members working for the House of Commons and of other
organisations have been redacted from the requested information to prevent
them from being identified. This information is therefore exempt by virtue
of section 40 (2) FOIA, as disclosure of this information to the public
generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data
protection principles in Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection
Regulation. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test
does not apply.

 

Section 43 – Commercial interests

 

The log-in username and password for the Employee Assistance Programme
used by the House of Commons has been redacted. We have concluded that
this information is exempt under section 43(2) FOIA because the disclosure
of this information would be prejudicial to the House’s commercial
interests. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered the public interest the disclosure of this information.
It is important to be transparent in which services are being provided to
individuals, and for the public to be satisfied that we have effective
support and reporting processes set up. However, if we disclose this
information these services will be accessible to anyone. In these
circumstances, the public money spent on this service will be wasted.

For this reason, we consider that the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

 2. Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

The role of the House of Commons Administration is to support Members in
carrying out their roles as elected representatives. Therefore, almost all
House teams are likely to send guidance or information for new Members in
a variety of ways and formats. To service this part of your request, the
House of Commons would need to undertake a search across many if not all
teams in the organisation. At the time of your request, the House had 11
teams: the Chamber and Committees Team, the Governance & Strategic
Business Resilience team, the In-House Services and Estates team, the
Finance, the Portfolio & Performance team, the HR & Diversity team and the
Research & Information team, as well as the bicameral Independent
Complaints and Grievance Scheme, the Parliamentary Digital Service, the
Participation team, the Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service
and the Parliamentary Security Department.

 

Each of these teams would have provided guidance and information
introducing their services to newly-elected MPs in the period after the
last election. Assuming each of the 11 teams take at least four hours to
retrieve and collate all of the documents information and guidance within
the scope of your request, we estimate that this task would take at least
44 working hours to complete.

 

Section 12 FOIA only requires the House of Commons to comply with a
request which would not exceed the appropriate limit of £600. This
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 24 working hours in
determining whether the House holds the information, and locating,
retrieving and extracting the information.  As your request exceeds this
limit, it is refused. However, if you were to make a new request for a
narrower category of information, it may be that we could comply, although
we cannot guarantee that this will be the case. For example, you could
refine your request to ask for information or guidance of a specific kind
or from a specific team.

 

Lastly, it may help you to know that newly elected MPs also receive
information about their salaries and expenses. However, these functions
are the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards
Authority (IPSA), which it is separate from the House of Commons.
Therefore you may wish to refer to the IPSA website at
[5]http://www.theipsa.org.uk/ where information about MPs’ salaries and
expenses is published, or you may wish to contact them using the contact
details provided there.

 

 

You may, if dissatisfied with the handling of your request, complain to
the House of Commons. Alternatively, if you are dissatisfied with the
outcome of your request you may ask the House of Commons to conduct an
internal review of any decision regarding your request. Complaints or
requests for internal review should be addressed to: Information Rights
and Information Security Service, Research & Information Team, House of
Commons, London SW1A 0AA or [6][House of Commons request email]. Please ensure
that you specify the full reasons for your complaint or internal review
along with any arguments or points that you wish to make.

 

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner
at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF,
[7]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Information Rights Officer
Information Rights and Information Security

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
[8][IMG]

 

[9]House of Commons Privacy Notice for the public

 

The House of Commons welcomes feedback. If you have any compliments,
complaints or comments,
about the service that you have received please send an email
to [10][email address]

 

 

From: Kacey Montagu <[11][FOI #738948 email]>
Sent: 21 March 2021 21:10
To: FOI Commons <[12][email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Guidance provided to newly
elected MPs

 

Dear House of Commons,

Please provide the following:

1) Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives
2) Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

Yours faithfully,

Kacey Montagu

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[13][FOI #738948 email]

Is [14][House of Commons request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to House of Commons? If so, please contact us using
this form:
[15]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[16]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[17]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

FOI Commons, House of Commons

2 Attachments

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:17
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 4]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:14
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[1][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 3]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:12
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[2][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 2]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:05
To: Kacey Montagu <[3][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 1]

 

Dear Kacey Montagu,

 

 

Freedom of Information Request F21-141

 

Thank you for your request for information as copied below. You have asked
two questions about the information a newly-elected MP receives, which we
have sought to answer below.

 

Thank you also for your patience in waiting for this response. Please
accept my apologies for the delay.

 

Please note that due to the file size limit for sending emails and the
size of the documents included here, I will send this response in parts,
over several emails. I will confirm in the final email that it is the last
one, and if you have not received any of the intervening emails shown in
the chain, you should let us know.

 

 1. Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

Following the election, new Members receive a pack containing the
following documents:

 

o A letter from the Clerk and the Managing Director of the House of
Commons

o The New Members’ Guidebook

o Information from HMRC, about their employment, and the Independent
Parliamentary Standards Authority, about their pay and expenses
(neither of which we hold for our purposes)

 

On their arrival at the House of Commons, each new Member receives a pack
containing the following documents:

 

o A ‘New Member Letter’ from the Parliamentary Commissioner for
Standards, a registration form for the Register of Members’ Financial
Interests and a copy of the Code of Conduct & Guide to the Rules
o Members’ Handbook
o ‘Members’ Guide to Services’ desk planner
o A-Z Members Directory
o Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet
o Procedural briefing cards
o 3x 3D maps of the parliamentary estate, the Palace of Westminster and
Portcullis House
o Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House
o An ‘Application for Catering/Retail Account’ form

 

The New Members’ Guidebook and the House of Commons Code of Conduct &
Guide to the Rules are both already published. This information is
therefore exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and
(2)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which removes a
public authority from the obligation to provide access to information
which is already in the public domain. This is an absolute exemption and
the public interest test does not apply. However, it may help you to know
that information relevant to your request can be found at
[4]https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-...
and
[5]https://www.parliament.uk/business/publi....

 

The entirety of the Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet and the
entirety of the maps of the parliamentary estate are exempt from
disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24 and 38 FOIA. Further
information about these exemptions, including public interest tests where
applicable, is included below.

 

The remaining documents that we hold in the two lists above are attached
to this response either in this email or subsequent emails.

 

Parts of the Members’ Handbook and the Members’ Guide to Services desk
planner, including information about security measures, parliamentary
passes, the internal layout of buildings and cyber-security measures, are
exempt from disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24, 38, 40 and 43
FOIA. Further information about these exemptions, including public
interest tests where applicable, is included below.

 

Section 31 – Law enforcement

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate, and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. Therefore, this
information is exempt by virtue of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a
qualified exemption and the public interest test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of
measures being employed in preventing criminal activity.  It is in the
public interest that people working on and visiting the estate should be
able to do so safely and securely. However, the public interest in
withholding the information relates to the risk of criminal activity being
undertaken if the information was disclosed. Details of these measures and
the internal layout of buildings would represent valuable information to
anyone with malicious or criminal intent. This is because it could be used
to subvert those measures, circumventing the normal process for obtaining
access to the estate or taking advantage of a perceived weakness. This
would make it easier for would-be offenders to commit criminal acts
against Members or gain unauthorised access to restricted areas. In turn,
we would be failing in our duty to assist those service providing us with
law enforcement, hindering their work in preventing and detecting crime.

For these reasons, the House has concluded that the public interest in
withholding this information outweighs the public interest in disclosing
it.

 

The House also considers that disclosing information about measures in
place to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons, including how
IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members in limiting
access to their devices, would be likely to prejudice the prevention or
detection of crime. Therefore, this information is also exempt by virtue
of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

Again, we accept the legitimate public interest in our being open and
transparent in these matters so that the public can have confidence that
the House’s computer systems and the parliamentary network are protected
against cyber-attack. However, this is outweighed by the risks of criminal
activity being undertaken if the information was disclosed. The release of
this material could provide valuable information to those wishing to
circumvent our security systems, exposing potential weaknesses that
hackers, terrorists and other criminal groups could exploit. Another
factor that favours withholding the information is the possibility of a
“mosaic effect”, whereby this information could be combined with other
information already in the public domain or obtained from elsewhere, in
order to build a more complete picture of our security arrangements. This
is particularly concerning in the field of cyber security, where small
details may appear harmless but are capable of being combined with other
information to breach or bypass security measures.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information. 

 

Section 24 – National security

 

The House considers that withholding from disclosure information about
measures in place to protect the physical security of Members and
Ministers working on the parliamentary estate and information about the
internal layout of buildings is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding
national security. This information is therefore exempt by virtue of
Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest
test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of the
measures in place for deterring security threats to the workings of the
Government on the parliamentary estate. However, whilst there may be a
public interest in access to this information, it is considered that in
this case it is not in the wider public interest to disclose. This is
because the disclosure of this information would publicise the measures we
have in place to deter security threats to the estate and the people on
it, including Government ministers and officials. If either these measures
or information about the internal layout of buildings were publicised,
there is a risk that this information would assist criminals, terrorists
or fixated individuals with the aim of targeting these individuals or
disrupting the proper workings of government. Groups planning attacks are
known to conduct extensive research, building up a picture of their target
from various sources, which this information could become part.

In these circumstances, it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

The House also considers that withholding from disclosure information
about measures to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons,
including how IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members
in limiting access to their devices, is necessary for the purpose of
safeguarding national security. This information is therefore also exempt
by virtue of Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered, once again, the legitimate public interest in the
provision of robust and secure defenses against cyber-criminals who may
seek to undermine national security. However, we consider that it is not
in the wider public interest to disclose this information because, as well
as the risk posed to the security of Parliament’s IT network, there is
also a risk of national security being compromised. Parliament is an
essential part of the UK’s system of government and constitutes part of
the critical national infrastructure. The disclosure of this information
is extremely likely to assist the design of attacks against the network,
jeopardising the security of information necessary for the proper
functioning of the Government in Parliament. Providing details of specific
cybersecurity advice to Members, who may also be Government ministers,
would expose potential weaknesses that hackers, terrorists and other
criminal groups could exploit. Groups planning attacks are known to
conduct extensive research and to disclose this information could
potentially provide those groups or individuals with an indication of
where to focus their efforts when targeting our systems. The wider public
interest is therefore considered to favour non-disclosure.

 

Section 38 – Health and safety

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
endanger the physical or mental health of individuals within the estate.
Therefore, this information is exempt by virtue of Section 38(1)(a) and
(b) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest test
applies.

We have considered the need to reassure the public that people visiting or
working on the parliamentary estate are safe and that we have appropriate
measures in force to deter threats to this safety. However, there is a
countervailing public interest in protecting information about the means
by which people on the premises, including Members, are kept safe. As
explained above, providing detail about the measures by which the physical
security of Members is secured and information about the internal layout
of buildings would increase the likelihood of criminal activity or an
attack on Parliament. In this event, the health and safety of anyone on
the Estate would be in serious danger. Indeed, a successful attack enabled
by the circumvention of security measures would present a risk to the
lives of many.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

Section 40 – Personal information

 

Some names of staff members working for the House of Commons and of other
organisations have been redacted from the requested information to prevent
them from being identified. This information is therefore exempt by virtue
of section 40 (2) FOIA, as disclosure of this information to the public
generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data
protection principles in Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection
Regulation. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test
does not apply.

 

Section 43 – Commercial interests

 

The log-in username and password for the Employee Assistance Programme
used by the House of Commons has been redacted. We have concluded that
this information is exempt under section 43(2) FOIA because the disclosure
of this information would be prejudicial to the House’s commercial
interests. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered the public interest the disclosure of this information.
It is important to be transparent in which services are being provided to
individuals, and for the public to be satisfied that we have effective
support and reporting processes set up. However, if we disclose this
information these services will be accessible to anyone. In these
circumstances, the public money spent on this service will be wasted.

For this reason, we consider that the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

 2. Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

The role of the House of Commons Administration is to support Members in
carrying out their roles as elected representatives. Therefore, almost all
House teams are likely to send guidance or information for new Members in
a variety of ways and formats. To service this part of your request, the
House of Commons would need to undertake a search across many if not all
teams in the organisation. At the time of your request, the House had 11
teams: the Chamber and Committees Team, the Governance & Strategic
Business Resilience team, the In-House Services and Estates team, the
Finance, the Portfolio & Performance team, the HR & Diversity team and the
Research & Information team, as well as the bicameral Independent
Complaints and Grievance Scheme, the Parliamentary Digital Service, the
Participation team, the Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service
and the Parliamentary Security Department.

 

Each of these teams would have provided guidance and information
introducing their services to newly-elected MPs in the period after the
last election. Assuming each of the 11 teams take at least four hours to
retrieve and collate all of the documents information and guidance within
the scope of your request, we estimate that this task would take at least
44 working hours to complete.

 

Section 12 FOIA only requires the House of Commons to comply with a
request which would not exceed the appropriate limit of £600. This
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 24 working hours in
determining whether the House holds the information, and locating,
retrieving and extracting the information.  As your request exceeds this
limit, it is refused. However, if you were to make a new request for a
narrower category of information, it may be that we could comply, although
we cannot guarantee that this will be the case. For example, you could
refine your request to ask for information or guidance of a specific kind
or from a specific team.

 

Lastly, it may help you to know that newly elected MPs also receive
information about their salaries and expenses. However, these functions
are the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards
Authority (IPSA), which it is separate from the House of Commons.
Therefore you may wish to refer to the IPSA website at
[6]http://www.theipsa.org.uk/ where information about MPs’ salaries and
expenses is published, or you may wish to contact them using the contact
details provided there.

 

 

You may, if dissatisfied with the handling of your request, complain to
the House of Commons. Alternatively, if you are dissatisfied with the
outcome of your request you may ask the House of Commons to conduct an
internal review of any decision regarding your request. Complaints or
requests for internal review should be addressed to: Information Rights
and Information Security Service, Research & Information Team, House of
Commons, London SW1A 0AA or [7][House of Commons request email]. Please ensure
that you specify the full reasons for your complaint or internal review
along with any arguments or points that you wish to make.

 

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner
at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF,
[8]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Information Rights Officer
Information Rights and Information Security

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
[9][IMG]

 

[10]House of Commons Privacy Notice for the public

 

The House of Commons welcomes feedback. If you have any compliments,
complaints or comments,
about the service that you have received please send an email
to [11][email address]

 

 

From: Kacey Montagu <[12][FOI #738948 email]>
Sent: 21 March 2021 21:10
To: FOI Commons <[13][email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Guidance provided to newly
elected MPs

 

Dear House of Commons,

Please provide the following:

1) Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives
2) Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

Yours faithfully,

Kacey Montagu

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[14][FOI #738948 email]

Is [15][House of Commons request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to House of Commons? If so, please contact us using
this form:
[16]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[17]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[18]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

FOI Commons, House of Commons

2 Attachments

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:21
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 5]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:17
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[1][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 4]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:14
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[2][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 3]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:12
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[3][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 2]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:05
To: Kacey Montagu <[4][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 1]

 

Dear Kacey Montagu,

 

 

Freedom of Information Request F21-141

 

Thank you for your request for information as copied below. You have asked
two questions about the information a newly-elected MP receives, which we
have sought to answer below.

 

Thank you also for your patience in waiting for this response. Please
accept my apologies for the delay.

 

Please note that due to the file size limit for sending emails and the
size of the documents included here, I will send this response in parts,
over several emails. I will confirm in the final email that it is the last
one, and if you have not received any of the intervening emails shown in
the chain, you should let us know.

 

 1. Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

Following the election, new Members receive a pack containing the
following documents:

 

o A letter from the Clerk and the Managing Director of the House of
Commons

o The New Members’ Guidebook

o Information from HMRC, about their employment, and the Independent
Parliamentary Standards Authority, about their pay and expenses
(neither of which we hold for our purposes)

 

On their arrival at the House of Commons, each new Member receives a pack
containing the following documents:

 

o A ‘New Member Letter’ from the Parliamentary Commissioner for
Standards, a registration form for the Register of Members’ Financial
Interests and a copy of the Code of Conduct & Guide to the Rules
o Members’ Handbook
o ‘Members’ Guide to Services’ desk planner
o A-Z Members Directory
o Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet
o Procedural briefing cards
o 3x 3D maps of the parliamentary estate, the Palace of Westminster and
Portcullis House
o Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House
o An ‘Application for Catering/Retail Account’ form

 

The New Members’ Guidebook and the House of Commons Code of Conduct &
Guide to the Rules are both already published. This information is
therefore exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and
(2)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which removes a
public authority from the obligation to provide access to information
which is already in the public domain. This is an absolute exemption and
the public interest test does not apply. However, it may help you to know
that information relevant to your request can be found at
[5]https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-...
and
[6]https://www.parliament.uk/business/publi....

 

The entirety of the Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet and the
entirety of the maps of the parliamentary estate are exempt from
disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24 and 38 FOIA. Further
information about these exemptions, including public interest tests where
applicable, is included below.

 

The remaining documents that we hold in the two lists above are attached
to this response either in this email or subsequent emails.

 

Parts of the Members’ Handbook and the Members’ Guide to Services desk
planner, including information about security measures, parliamentary
passes, the internal layout of buildings and cyber-security measures, are
exempt from disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24, 38, 40 and 43
FOIA. Further information about these exemptions, including public
interest tests where applicable, is included below.

 

Section 31 – Law enforcement

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate, and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. Therefore, this
information is exempt by virtue of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a
qualified exemption and the public interest test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of
measures being employed in preventing criminal activity.  It is in the
public interest that people working on and visiting the estate should be
able to do so safely and securely. However, the public interest in
withholding the information relates to the risk of criminal activity being
undertaken if the information was disclosed. Details of these measures and
the internal layout of buildings would represent valuable information to
anyone with malicious or criminal intent. This is because it could be used
to subvert those measures, circumventing the normal process for obtaining
access to the estate or taking advantage of a perceived weakness. This
would make it easier for would-be offenders to commit criminal acts
against Members or gain unauthorised access to restricted areas. In turn,
we would be failing in our duty to assist those service providing us with
law enforcement, hindering their work in preventing and detecting crime.

For these reasons, the House has concluded that the public interest in
withholding this information outweighs the public interest in disclosing
it.

 

The House also considers that disclosing information about measures in
place to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons, including how
IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members in limiting
access to their devices, would be likely to prejudice the prevention or
detection of crime. Therefore, this information is also exempt by virtue
of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

Again, we accept the legitimate public interest in our being open and
transparent in these matters so that the public can have confidence that
the House’s computer systems and the parliamentary network are protected
against cyber-attack. However, this is outweighed by the risks of criminal
activity being undertaken if the information was disclosed. The release of
this material could provide valuable information to those wishing to
circumvent our security systems, exposing potential weaknesses that
hackers, terrorists and other criminal groups could exploit. Another
factor that favours withholding the information is the possibility of a
“mosaic effect”, whereby this information could be combined with other
information already in the public domain or obtained from elsewhere, in
order to build a more complete picture of our security arrangements. This
is particularly concerning in the field of cyber security, where small
details may appear harmless but are capable of being combined with other
information to breach or bypass security measures.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information. 

 

Section 24 – National security

 

The House considers that withholding from disclosure information about
measures in place to protect the physical security of Members and
Ministers working on the parliamentary estate and information about the
internal layout of buildings is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding
national security. This information is therefore exempt by virtue of
Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest
test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of the
measures in place for deterring security threats to the workings of the
Government on the parliamentary estate. However, whilst there may be a
public interest in access to this information, it is considered that in
this case it is not in the wider public interest to disclose. This is
because the disclosure of this information would publicise the measures we
have in place to deter security threats to the estate and the people on
it, including Government ministers and officials. If either these measures
or information about the internal layout of buildings were publicised,
there is a risk that this information would assist criminals, terrorists
or fixated individuals with the aim of targeting these individuals or
disrupting the proper workings of government. Groups planning attacks are
known to conduct extensive research, building up a picture of their target
from various sources, which this information could become part.

In these circumstances, it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

The House also considers that withholding from disclosure information
about measures to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons,
including how IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members
in limiting access to their devices, is necessary for the purpose of
safeguarding national security. This information is therefore also exempt
by virtue of Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered, once again, the legitimate public interest in the
provision of robust and secure defenses against cyber-criminals who may
seek to undermine national security. However, we consider that it is not
in the wider public interest to disclose this information because, as well
as the risk posed to the security of Parliament’s IT network, there is
also a risk of national security being compromised. Parliament is an
essential part of the UK’s system of government and constitutes part of
the critical national infrastructure. The disclosure of this information
is extremely likely to assist the design of attacks against the network,
jeopardising the security of information necessary for the proper
functioning of the Government in Parliament. Providing details of specific
cybersecurity advice to Members, who may also be Government ministers,
would expose potential weaknesses that hackers, terrorists and other
criminal groups could exploit. Groups planning attacks are known to
conduct extensive research and to disclose this information could
potentially provide those groups or individuals with an indication of
where to focus their efforts when targeting our systems. The wider public
interest is therefore considered to favour non-disclosure.

 

Section 38 – Health and safety

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
endanger the physical or mental health of individuals within the estate.
Therefore, this information is exempt by virtue of Section 38(1)(a) and
(b) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest test
applies.

We have considered the need to reassure the public that people visiting or
working on the parliamentary estate are safe and that we have appropriate
measures in force to deter threats to this safety. However, there is a
countervailing public interest in protecting information about the means
by which people on the premises, including Members, are kept safe. As
explained above, providing detail about the measures by which the physical
security of Members is secured and information about the internal layout
of buildings would increase the likelihood of criminal activity or an
attack on Parliament. In this event, the health and safety of anyone on
the Estate would be in serious danger. Indeed, a successful attack enabled
by the circumvention of security measures would present a risk to the
lives of many.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

Section 40 – Personal information

 

Some names of staff members working for the House of Commons and of other
organisations have been redacted from the requested information to prevent
them from being identified. This information is therefore exempt by virtue
of section 40 (2) FOIA, as disclosure of this information to the public
generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data
protection principles in Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection
Regulation. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test
does not apply.

 

Section 43 – Commercial interests

 

The log-in username and password for the Employee Assistance Programme
used by the House of Commons has been redacted. We have concluded that
this information is exempt under section 43(2) FOIA because the disclosure
of this information would be prejudicial to the House’s commercial
interests. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered the public interest the disclosure of this information.
It is important to be transparent in which services are being provided to
individuals, and for the public to be satisfied that we have effective
support and reporting processes set up. However, if we disclose this
information these services will be accessible to anyone. In these
circumstances, the public money spent on this service will be wasted.

For this reason, we consider that the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

 2. Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

The role of the House of Commons Administration is to support Members in
carrying out their roles as elected representatives. Therefore, almost all
House teams are likely to send guidance or information for new Members in
a variety of ways and formats. To service this part of your request, the
House of Commons would need to undertake a search across many if not all
teams in the organisation. At the time of your request, the House had 11
teams: the Chamber and Committees Team, the Governance & Strategic
Business Resilience team, the In-House Services and Estates team, the
Finance, the Portfolio & Performance team, the HR & Diversity team and the
Research & Information team, as well as the bicameral Independent
Complaints and Grievance Scheme, the Parliamentary Digital Service, the
Participation team, the Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service
and the Parliamentary Security Department.

 

Each of these teams would have provided guidance and information
introducing their services to newly-elected MPs in the period after the
last election. Assuming each of the 11 teams take at least four hours to
retrieve and collate all of the documents information and guidance within
the scope of your request, we estimate that this task would take at least
44 working hours to complete.

 

Section 12 FOIA only requires the House of Commons to comply with a
request which would not exceed the appropriate limit of £600. This
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 24 working hours in
determining whether the House holds the information, and locating,
retrieving and extracting the information.  As your request exceeds this
limit, it is refused. However, if you were to make a new request for a
narrower category of information, it may be that we could comply, although
we cannot guarantee that this will be the case. For example, you could
refine your request to ask for information or guidance of a specific kind
or from a specific team.

 

Lastly, it may help you to know that newly elected MPs also receive
information about their salaries and expenses. However, these functions
are the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards
Authority (IPSA), which it is separate from the House of Commons.
Therefore you may wish to refer to the IPSA website at
[7]http://www.theipsa.org.uk/ where information about MPs’ salaries and
expenses is published, or you may wish to contact them using the contact
details provided there.

 

 

You may, if dissatisfied with the handling of your request, complain to
the House of Commons. Alternatively, if you are dissatisfied with the
outcome of your request you may ask the House of Commons to conduct an
internal review of any decision regarding your request. Complaints or
requests for internal review should be addressed to: Information Rights
and Information Security Service, Research & Information Team, House of
Commons, London SW1A 0AA or [8][House of Commons request email]. Please ensure
that you specify the full reasons for your complaint or internal review
along with any arguments or points that you wish to make.

 

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner
at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF,
[9]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Information Rights Officer
Information Rights and Information Security

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
[10][IMG]

 

[11]House of Commons Privacy Notice for the public

 

The House of Commons welcomes feedback. If you have any compliments,
complaints or comments,
about the service that you have received please send an email
to [12][email address]

 

 

From: Kacey Montagu <[13][FOI #738948 email]>
Sent: 21 March 2021 21:10
To: FOI Commons <[14][email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Guidance provided to newly
elected MPs

 

Dear House of Commons,

Please provide the following:

1) Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives
2) Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

Yours faithfully,

Kacey Montagu

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[15][FOI #738948 email]

Is [16][House of Commons request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to House of Commons? If so, please contact us using
this form:
[17]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[18]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[19]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

FOI Commons, House of Commons

2 Attachments

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:27
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 6]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:21
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[1][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 5]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:17
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[2][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 4]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:14
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[3][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 3]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:12
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[4][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 2]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:05
To: Kacey Montagu <[5][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 1]

 

Dear Kacey Montagu,

 

 

Freedom of Information Request F21-141

 

Thank you for your request for information as copied below. You have asked
two questions about the information a newly-elected MP receives, which we
have sought to answer below.

 

Thank you also for your patience in waiting for this response. Please
accept my apologies for the delay.

 

Please note that due to the file size limit for sending emails and the
size of the documents included here, I will send this response in parts,
over several emails. I will confirm in the final email that it is the last
one, and if you have not received any of the intervening emails shown in
the chain, you should let us know.

 

 1. Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

Following the election, new Members receive a pack containing the
following documents:

 

o A letter from the Clerk and the Managing Director of the House of
Commons

o The New Members’ Guidebook

o Information from HMRC, about their employment, and the Independent
Parliamentary Standards Authority, about their pay and expenses
(neither of which we hold for our purposes)

 

On their arrival at the House of Commons, each new Member receives a pack
containing the following documents:

 

o A ‘New Member Letter’ from the Parliamentary Commissioner for
Standards, a registration form for the Register of Members’ Financial
Interests and a copy of the Code of Conduct & Guide to the Rules
o Members’ Handbook
o ‘Members’ Guide to Services’ desk planner
o A-Z Members Directory
o Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet
o Procedural briefing cards
o 3x 3D maps of the parliamentary estate, the Palace of Westminster and
Portcullis House
o Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House
o An ‘Application for Catering/Retail Account’ form

 

The New Members’ Guidebook and the House of Commons Code of Conduct &
Guide to the Rules are both already published. This information is
therefore exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and
(2)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which removes a
public authority from the obligation to provide access to information
which is already in the public domain. This is an absolute exemption and
the public interest test does not apply. However, it may help you to know
that information relevant to your request can be found at
[6]https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-...
and
[7]https://www.parliament.uk/business/publi....

 

The entirety of the Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet and the
entirety of the maps of the parliamentary estate are exempt from
disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24 and 38 FOIA. Further
information about these exemptions, including public interest tests where
applicable, is included below.

 

The remaining documents that we hold in the two lists above are attached
to this response either in this email or subsequent emails.

 

Parts of the Members’ Handbook and the Members’ Guide to Services desk
planner, including information about security measures, parliamentary
passes, the internal layout of buildings and cyber-security measures, are
exempt from disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24, 38, 40 and 43
FOIA. Further information about these exemptions, including public
interest tests where applicable, is included below.

 

Section 31 – Law enforcement

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate, and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. Therefore, this
information is exempt by virtue of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a
qualified exemption and the public interest test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of
measures being employed in preventing criminal activity.  It is in the
public interest that people working on and visiting the estate should be
able to do so safely and securely. However, the public interest in
withholding the information relates to the risk of criminal activity being
undertaken if the information was disclosed. Details of these measures and
the internal layout of buildings would represent valuable information to
anyone with malicious or criminal intent. This is because it could be used
to subvert those measures, circumventing the normal process for obtaining
access to the estate or taking advantage of a perceived weakness. This
would make it easier for would-be offenders to commit criminal acts
against Members or gain unauthorised access to restricted areas. In turn,
we would be failing in our duty to assist those service providing us with
law enforcement, hindering their work in preventing and detecting crime.

For these reasons, the House has concluded that the public interest in
withholding this information outweighs the public interest in disclosing
it.

 

The House also considers that disclosing information about measures in
place to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons, including how
IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members in limiting
access to their devices, would be likely to prejudice the prevention or
detection of crime. Therefore, this information is also exempt by virtue
of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

Again, we accept the legitimate public interest in our being open and
transparent in these matters so that the public can have confidence that
the House’s computer systems and the parliamentary network are protected
against cyber-attack. However, this is outweighed by the risks of criminal
activity being undertaken if the information was disclosed. The release of
this material could provide valuable information to those wishing to
circumvent our security systems, exposing potential weaknesses that
hackers, terrorists and other criminal groups could exploit. Another
factor that favours withholding the information is the possibility of a
“mosaic effect”, whereby this information could be combined with other
information already in the public domain or obtained from elsewhere, in
order to build a more complete picture of our security arrangements. This
is particularly concerning in the field of cyber security, where small
details may appear harmless but are capable of being combined with other
information to breach or bypass security measures.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information. 

 

Section 24 – National security

 

The House considers that withholding from disclosure information about
measures in place to protect the physical security of Members and
Ministers working on the parliamentary estate and information about the
internal layout of buildings is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding
national security. This information is therefore exempt by virtue of
Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest
test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of the
measures in place for deterring security threats to the workings of the
Government on the parliamentary estate. However, whilst there may be a
public interest in access to this information, it is considered that in
this case it is not in the wider public interest to disclose. This is
because the disclosure of this information would publicise the measures we
have in place to deter security threats to the estate and the people on
it, including Government ministers and officials. If either these measures
or information about the internal layout of buildings were publicised,
there is a risk that this information would assist criminals, terrorists
or fixated individuals with the aim of targeting these individuals or
disrupting the proper workings of government. Groups planning attacks are
known to conduct extensive research, building up a picture of their target
from various sources, which this information could become part.

In these circumstances, it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

The House also considers that withholding from disclosure information
about measures to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons,
including how IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members
in limiting access to their devices, is necessary for the purpose of
safeguarding national security. This information is therefore also exempt
by virtue of Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered, once again, the legitimate public interest in the
provision of robust and secure defenses against cyber-criminals who may
seek to undermine national security. However, we consider that it is not
in the wider public interest to disclose this information because, as well
as the risk posed to the security of Parliament’s IT network, there is
also a risk of national security being compromised. Parliament is an
essential part of the UK’s system of government and constitutes part of
the critical national infrastructure. The disclosure of this information
is extremely likely to assist the design of attacks against the network,
jeopardising the security of information necessary for the proper
functioning of the Government in Parliament. Providing details of specific
cybersecurity advice to Members, who may also be Government ministers,
would expose potential weaknesses that hackers, terrorists and other
criminal groups could exploit. Groups planning attacks are known to
conduct extensive research and to disclose this information could
potentially provide those groups or individuals with an indication of
where to focus their efforts when targeting our systems. The wider public
interest is therefore considered to favour non-disclosure.

 

Section 38 – Health and safety

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
endanger the physical or mental health of individuals within the estate.
Therefore, this information is exempt by virtue of Section 38(1)(a) and
(b) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest test
applies.

We have considered the need to reassure the public that people visiting or
working on the parliamentary estate are safe and that we have appropriate
measures in force to deter threats to this safety. However, there is a
countervailing public interest in protecting information about the means
by which people on the premises, including Members, are kept safe. As
explained above, providing detail about the measures by which the physical
security of Members is secured and information about the internal layout
of buildings would increase the likelihood of criminal activity or an
attack on Parliament. In this event, the health and safety of anyone on
the Estate would be in serious danger. Indeed, a successful attack enabled
by the circumvention of security measures would present a risk to the
lives of many.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

Section 40 – Personal information

 

Some names of staff members working for the House of Commons and of other
organisations have been redacted from the requested information to prevent
them from being identified. This information is therefore exempt by virtue
of section 40 (2) FOIA, as disclosure of this information to the public
generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data
protection principles in Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection
Regulation. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test
does not apply.

 

Section 43 – Commercial interests

 

The log-in username and password for the Employee Assistance Programme
used by the House of Commons has been redacted. We have concluded that
this information is exempt under section 43(2) FOIA because the disclosure
of this information would be prejudicial to the House’s commercial
interests. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered the public interest the disclosure of this information.
It is important to be transparent in which services are being provided to
individuals, and for the public to be satisfied that we have effective
support and reporting processes set up. However, if we disclose this
information these services will be accessible to anyone. In these
circumstances, the public money spent on this service will be wasted.

For this reason, we consider that the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

 2. Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

The role of the House of Commons Administration is to support Members in
carrying out their roles as elected representatives. Therefore, almost all
House teams are likely to send guidance or information for new Members in
a variety of ways and formats. To service this part of your request, the
House of Commons would need to undertake a search across many if not all
teams in the organisation. At the time of your request, the House had 11
teams: the Chamber and Committees Team, the Governance & Strategic
Business Resilience team, the In-House Services and Estates team, the
Finance, the Portfolio & Performance team, the HR & Diversity team and the
Research & Information team, as well as the bicameral Independent
Complaints and Grievance Scheme, the Parliamentary Digital Service, the
Participation team, the Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service
and the Parliamentary Security Department.

 

Each of these teams would have provided guidance and information
introducing their services to newly-elected MPs in the period after the
last election. Assuming each of the 11 teams take at least four hours to
retrieve and collate all of the documents information and guidance within
the scope of your request, we estimate that this task would take at least
44 working hours to complete.

 

Section 12 FOIA only requires the House of Commons to comply with a
request which would not exceed the appropriate limit of £600. This
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 24 working hours in
determining whether the House holds the information, and locating,
retrieving and extracting the information.  As your request exceeds this
limit, it is refused. However, if you were to make a new request for a
narrower category of information, it may be that we could comply, although
we cannot guarantee that this will be the case. For example, you could
refine your request to ask for information or guidance of a specific kind
or from a specific team.

 

Lastly, it may help you to know that newly elected MPs also receive
information about their salaries and expenses. However, these functions
are the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards
Authority (IPSA), which it is separate from the House of Commons.
Therefore you may wish to refer to the IPSA website at
[8]http://www.theipsa.org.uk/ where information about MPs’ salaries and
expenses is published, or you may wish to contact them using the contact
details provided there.

 

 

You may, if dissatisfied with the handling of your request, complain to
the House of Commons. Alternatively, if you are dissatisfied with the
outcome of your request you may ask the House of Commons to conduct an
internal review of any decision regarding your request. Complaints or
requests for internal review should be addressed to: Information Rights
and Information Security Service, Research & Information Team, House of
Commons, London SW1A 0AA or [9][House of Commons request email]. Please ensure
that you specify the full reasons for your complaint or internal review
along with any arguments or points that you wish to make.

 

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner
at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF,
[10]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Information Rights Officer
Information Rights and Information Security

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
[11][IMG]

 

[12]House of Commons Privacy Notice for the public

 

The House of Commons welcomes feedback. If you have any compliments,
complaints or comments,
about the service that you have received please send an email
to [13][email address]

 

 

From: Kacey Montagu <[14][FOI #738948 email]>
Sent: 21 March 2021 21:10
To: FOI Commons <[15][email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Guidance provided to newly
elected MPs

 

Dear House of Commons,

Please provide the following:

1) Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives
2) Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

Yours faithfully,

Kacey Montagu

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[16][FOI #738948 email]

Is [17][House of Commons request email] the wrong address for Freedom of
Information requests to House of Commons? If so, please contact us using
this form:
[18]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[19]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[20]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

FOI Commons, House of Commons

5 Attachments

Dear Kacey Montagu,

 

 

Freedom of Information Request F21-141

 

This is the eighth and last email that forms part of the response to your
request. If you have not received any of the emails shown in the chain
below, please let us know.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Information Rights Officer
Information Rights and Information Security

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
[1][IMG]

 

[2]House of Commons Privacy Notice for the public

 

The House of Commons welcomes feedback. If you have any compliments,
complaints or comments,
about the service that you have received please send an email
to [3][email address]

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:28
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 7]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:27
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[4][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 6]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:21
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[5][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 5]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:17
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[6][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 4]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:14
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[7][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 3]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:12
To: 'Kacey Montagu' <[8][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 2]

 

 

 

From: FOI Commons
Sent: 17 May 2021 16:05
To: Kacey Montagu <[9][FOI #738948 email]>
Subject: F21-141 Response [Email 1]

 

Dear Kacey Montagu,

 

 

Freedom of Information Request F21-141

 

Thank you for your request for information as copied below. You have asked
two questions about the information a newly-elected MP receives, which we
have sought to answer below.

 

Thank you also for your patience in waiting for this response. Please
accept my apologies for the delay.

 

Please note that due to the file size limit for sending emails and the
size of the documents included here, I will send this response in parts,
over several emails. I will confirm in the final email that it is the last
one, and if you have not received any of the intervening emails shown in
the chain, you should let us know.

 

 1. Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

Following the election, new Members receive a pack containing the
following documents:

 

o A letter from the Clerk and the Managing Director of the House of
Commons

o The New Members’ Guidebook

o Information from HMRC, about their employment, and the Independent
Parliamentary Standards Authority, about their pay and expenses
(neither of which we hold for our purposes)

 

On their arrival at the House of Commons, each new Member receives a pack
containing the following documents:

 

o A ‘New Member Letter’ from the Parliamentary Commissioner for
Standards, a registration form for the Register of Members’ Financial
Interests and a copy of the Code of Conduct & Guide to the Rules
o Members’ Handbook
o ‘Members’ Guide to Services’ desk planner
o A-Z Members Directory
o Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet
o Procedural briefing cards
o 3x 3D maps of the parliamentary estate, the Palace of Westminster and
Portcullis House
o Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House
o An ‘Application for Catering/Retail Account’ form

 

The New Members’ Guidebook and the House of Commons Code of Conduct &
Guide to the Rules are both already published. This information is
therefore exempt from disclosure in accordance with section 21(1) and
(2)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which removes a
public authority from the obligation to provide access to information
which is already in the public domain. This is an absolute exemption and
the public interest test does not apply. However, it may help you to know
that information relevant to your request can be found at
[10]https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-...
and
[11]https://www.parliament.uk/business/publi....

 

The entirety of the Members’ Personal Security Guidance booklet and the
entirety of the maps of the parliamentary estate are exempt from
disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24 and 38 FOIA. Further
information about these exemptions, including public interest tests where
applicable, is included below.

 

The remaining documents that we hold in the two lists above are attached
to this response either in this email or subsequent emails.

 

Parts of the Members’ Handbook and the Members’ Guide to Services desk
planner, including information about security measures, parliamentary
passes, the internal layout of buildings and cyber-security measures, are
exempt from disclosure in accordance with sections 31, 24, 38, 40 and 43
FOIA. Further information about these exemptions, including public
interest tests where applicable, is included below.

 

Section 31 – Law enforcement

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate, and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. Therefore, this
information is exempt by virtue of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a
qualified exemption and the public interest test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of
measures being employed in preventing criminal activity.  It is in the
public interest that people working on and visiting the estate should be
able to do so safely and securely. However, the public interest in
withholding the information relates to the risk of criminal activity being
undertaken if the information was disclosed. Details of these measures and
the internal layout of buildings would represent valuable information to
anyone with malicious or criminal intent. This is because it could be used
to subvert those measures, circumventing the normal process for obtaining
access to the estate or taking advantage of a perceived weakness. This
would make it easier for would-be offenders to commit criminal acts
against Members or gain unauthorised access to restricted areas. In turn,
we would be failing in our duty to assist those service providing us with
law enforcement, hindering their work in preventing and detecting crime.

For these reasons, the House has concluded that the public interest in
withholding this information outweighs the public interest in disclosing
it.

 

The House also considers that disclosing information about measures in
place to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons, including how
IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members in limiting
access to their devices, would be likely to prejudice the prevention or
detection of crime. Therefore, this information is also exempt by virtue
of Section 31(1)(a) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

Again, we accept the legitimate public interest in our being open and
transparent in these matters so that the public can have confidence that
the House’s computer systems and the parliamentary network are protected
against cyber-attack. However, this is outweighed by the risks of criminal
activity being undertaken if the information was disclosed. The release of
this material could provide valuable information to those wishing to
circumvent our security systems, exposing potential weaknesses that
hackers, terrorists and other criminal groups could exploit. Another
factor that favours withholding the information is the possibility of a
“mosaic effect”, whereby this information could be combined with other
information already in the public domain or obtained from elsewhere, in
order to build a more complete picture of our security arrangements. This
is particularly concerning in the field of cyber security, where small
details may appear harmless but are capable of being combined with other
information to breach or bypass security measures.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information. 

 

Section 24 – National security

 

The House considers that withholding from disclosure information about
measures in place to protect the physical security of Members and
Ministers working on the parliamentary estate and information about the
internal layout of buildings is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding
national security. This information is therefore exempt by virtue of
Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest
test applies.

In favour of disclosure is the argument of transparency in the spending of
public money and the public’s right to be assured of the robustness of the
measures in place for deterring security threats to the workings of the
Government on the parliamentary estate. However, whilst there may be a
public interest in access to this information, it is considered that in
this case it is not in the wider public interest to disclose. This is
because the disclosure of this information would publicise the measures we
have in place to deter security threats to the estate and the people on
it, including Government ministers and officials. If either these measures
or information about the internal layout of buildings were publicised,
there is a risk that this information would assist criminals, terrorists
or fixated individuals with the aim of targeting these individuals or
disrupting the proper workings of government. Groups planning attacks are
known to conduct extensive research, building up a picture of their target
from various sources, which this information could become part.

In these circumstances, it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

The House also considers that withholding from disclosure information
about measures to protect the cyber security of the House of Commons,
including how IT equipment is maintained and the requirements for Members
in limiting access to their devices, is necessary for the purpose of
safeguarding national security. This information is therefore also exempt
by virtue of Section 24 FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered, once again, the legitimate public interest in the
provision of robust and secure defenses against cyber-criminals who may
seek to undermine national security. However, we consider that it is not
in the wider public interest to disclose this information because, as well
as the risk posed to the security of Parliament’s IT network, there is
also a risk of national security being compromised. Parliament is an
essential part of the UK’s system of government and constitutes part of
the critical national infrastructure. The disclosure of this information
is extremely likely to assist the design of attacks against the network,
jeopardising the security of information necessary for the proper
functioning of the Government in Parliament. Providing details of specific
cybersecurity advice to Members, who may also be Government ministers,
would expose potential weaknesses that hackers, terrorists and other
criminal groups could exploit. Groups planning attacks are known to
conduct extensive research and to disclose this information could
potentially provide those groups or individuals with an indication of
where to focus their efforts when targeting our systems. The wider public
interest is therefore considered to favour non-disclosure.

 

Section 38 – Health and safety

 

The House considers that disclosing information about measures in place to
protect the physical security of Members and the parliamentary estate and
information about the internal layout of buildings would be likely to
endanger the physical or mental health of individuals within the estate.
Therefore, this information is exempt by virtue of Section 38(1)(a) and
(b) FOIA. This is a qualified exemption and the public interest test
applies.

We have considered the need to reassure the public that people visiting or
working on the parliamentary estate are safe and that we have appropriate
measures in force to deter threats to this safety. However, there is a
countervailing public interest in protecting information about the means
by which people on the premises, including Members, are kept safe. As
explained above, providing detail about the measures by which the physical
security of Members is secured and information about the internal layout
of buildings would increase the likelihood of criminal activity or an
attack on Parliament. In this event, the health and safety of anyone on
the Estate would be in serious danger. Indeed, a successful attack enabled
by the circumvention of security measures would present a risk to the
lives of many.

In these circumstances it is our view that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the
information.

 

Section 40 – Personal information

 

Some names of staff members working for the House of Commons and of other
organisations have been redacted from the requested information to prevent
them from being identified. This information is therefore exempt by virtue
of section 40 (2) FOIA, as disclosure of this information to the public
generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data
protection principles in Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection
Regulation. This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test
does not apply.

 

Section 43 – Commercial interests

 

The log-in username and password for the Employee Assistance Programme
used by the House of Commons has been redacted. We have concluded that
this information is exempt under section 43(2) FOIA because the disclosure
of this information would be prejudicial to the House’s commercial
interests. This is a qualified or non-absolute exemption and the public
interest test applies.

We have considered the public interest the disclosure of this information.
It is important to be transparent in which services are being provided to
individuals, and for the public to be satisfied that we have effective
support and reporting processes set up. However, if we disclose this
information these services will be accessible to anyone. In these
circumstances, the public money spent on this service will be wasted.

For this reason, we consider that the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

 2. Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

 

This information is held by the House of Commons.

 

The role of the House of Commons Administration is to support Members in
carrying out their roles as elected representatives. Therefore, almost all
House teams are likely to send guidance or information for new Members in
a variety of ways and formats. To service this part of your request, the
House of Commons would need to undertake a search across many if not all
teams in the organisation. At the time of your request, the House had 11
teams: the Chamber and Committees Team, the Governance & Strategic
Business Resilience team, the In-House Services and Estates team, the
Finance, the Portfolio & Performance team, the HR & Diversity team and the
Research & Information team, as well as the bicameral Independent
Complaints and Grievance Scheme, the Parliamentary Digital Service, the
Participation team, the Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service
and the Parliamentary Security Department.

 

Each of these teams would have provided guidance and information
introducing their services to newly-elected MPs in the period after the
last election. Assuming each of the 11 teams take at least four hours to
retrieve and collate all of the documents information and guidance within
the scope of your request, we estimate that this task would take at least
44 working hours to complete.

 

Section 12 FOIA only requires the House of Commons to comply with a
request which would not exceed the appropriate limit of £600. This
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 24 working hours in
determining whether the House holds the information, and locating,
retrieving and extracting the information.  As your request exceeds this
limit, it is refused. However, if you were to make a new request for a
narrower category of information, it may be that we could comply, although
we cannot guarantee that this will be the case. For example, you could
refine your request to ask for information or guidance of a specific kind
or from a specific team.

 

Lastly, it may help you to know that newly elected MPs also receive
information about their salaries and expenses. However, these functions
are the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards
Authority (IPSA), which it is separate from the House of Commons.
Therefore you may wish to refer to the IPSA website at
[12]http://www.theipsa.org.uk/ where information about MPs’ salaries and
expenses is published, or you may wish to contact them using the contact
details provided there.

 

 

You may, if dissatisfied with the handling of your request, complain to
the House of Commons. Alternatively, if you are dissatisfied with the
outcome of your request you may ask the House of Commons to conduct an
internal review of any decision regarding your request. Complaints or
requests for internal review should be addressed to: Information Rights
and Information Security Service, Research & Information Team, House of
Commons, London SW1A 0AA or [13][House of Commons request email]. Please ensure
that you specify the full reasons for your complaint or internal review
along with any arguments or points that you wish to make.

 

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner
at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF,
[14]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Information Rights Officer
Information Rights and Information Security

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
[15][IMG]

 

[16]House of Commons Privacy Notice for the public

 

The House of Commons welcomes feedback. If you have any compliments,
complaints or comments,
about the service that you have received please send an email
to [17][email address]

 

 

From: Kacey Montagu <[18][FOI #738948 email]>
Sent: 21 March 2021 21:10
To: FOI Commons <[19][email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Guidance provided to newly
elected MPs

 

Dear House of Commons,

Please provide the following:

1) Any welcome pack that a newly-elected MP receives
2) Any guidance/information a newly elected MP receives

Yours faithfully,

Kacey Montagu

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