Handbook on facilities and services for Members

Steve Elibank made this Freedom of Information request to House of Lords

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear House of Lords,

Please provide me with an electronic copy of the whole of your document, "Handbook on facilities and services for Members" (including the maps and plans inside the front-and-back covers, and all other maps and plans as contained within the printed edition) - the edition marked '2008' if you have it, or the most recent edition if you do not keep past versions.

Yours faithfully,
Steve Elibank

House Of Lords Information Office, House of Lords

Thank you for your email.

The House of Lords Information Office receives large numbers of e-mails and we aim to reply within 10 working days. If you need the information sooner please telephone the House of Lords Information Office on 020 7219 3107.

The following information may answer many of your enquiries.

House of Lords
If you have access to the Internet you may find the answers to most of your queries on the House of Lords pages of the Parliament website: <http://www.parliament.uk/> http://www.parliament.uk/lords

Judicial work
For queries about Judicial Work, please visit the Judicial Work section of the Parliament website (http://www.parliament.uk/business/judici...).

Contact the Supreme Court for further information:
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square
London SW1P 3BD
Tel: 020 7960 1991/1992
Fax: 020 7960 1901
http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk

Appointments to the House of Lords
For queries about appointments to the House of Lords, contact the House of Lords Appointments Commission, which is a separate independent body and NOT part of the House of Lords:
The House of Lords Appointments Commission
35 Great Smith Street
London
SW1P 3BQ
Tel: 020 7276 2005 (020 7276 2315 for an Information Pack)
www.lordsappointments.gov.uk<http://www.lordsappointments.gov.uk>

Thank you.

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FOI LORDS, House of Lords

Dear Mr Elibank

I am writing in response to your request for information received by the House of Lords administration on 16 April.

When Parliament has been dissolved there is no ‘House of Lords’ for the purposes of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the 2000 Act, and there is therefore no ‘public authority’ to which the 20 day deadline under section 10 of the 2000 Act is capable of applying. The time limits do not, therefore, apply during the period of Dissolution.

The effect of the 2000 Act, including its time limits, resumes when the House of Lords first meets following the general election.

As your request was received after Parliament was dissolved, the time limit will commence on 18 May, being the day the new Parliament first meets. We will respond on or before 15 June 2010.

Yours sincerely

Alex Daybank
Information Compliance Manager
House of Lords
[email address]

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FOI LORDS, House of Lords

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Elibank

I am writing in response to your request for information received by the
House of Lords administration on 16 April.

The House of Lords administration holds information relevant to your
request. A copy of the 2008 handbook is attached. You will note that the
maps at the end of the handbook (Maps 3,4,5 and 6) have been removed, this
is because after careful consideration we believe that placing this
information into the public domain would be likely to endanger the
physical health or safety of individuals working or visiting the
Parliamentary Estate. This is because the withheld maps include specific
details relating to areas of the Palace which are not normally accessible
by members of the public. We are of the view that the disclosure of these
details may aid individuals or groups wishing to carry out illegal acts on
the Parliamentary Estate, including acts which would endanger the health
or safety of those working on or visiting the Estate. The other maps and
plans in the Handbook are available on the Parliamentary website,
consequently these have not been removed from the version being disclosed.

The withheld maps are as a result of the above exempt from disclosure
under section 38(1)(a) and(b). Section 38 is subject to a public interest
test. While there is a genuine public interest in the Palace of
Westminster we are of the view that this public interest is met by the
information which is already placed in the public domain. We do not
consider any substantial additional public interest is served by the
disclosure of these particular maps. On the other hand, we consider there
is a considerable public interest in not disclosing the information
contained in the maps because of the significant risk of endangering the
health or safety of individuals working or visiting the Parliamentary
Estate if the information becomes publicly available and gives rise to
illegal acts. We therefore believe that in this case the public interest
in withholding the exemption outweighs that of disclosure.

You may, if dissatisfied with the treatment of your request for
information, ask the House of Lords to conduct an internal review.
Requests for an internal review should be addressed to
[1][email address] or to the Freedom of Information Officer, House
of Lords, London SW1A 0PW. Arrangements will be made for someone who has
not been involved in dealing with your request to conduct an internal
review. Our aim is to complete internal reviews within 20 working days.

If, following this review, you remain dissatisfied with the House’s
treatment of your request for information then you may take your complaint
to the Information Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire. SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Alex Daybank

Information Compliance Manager

House of Lords

[2][email address]

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Dear House of Lords,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of House of Lords's handling of my FOI request 'Handbook on facilities and services for Members'.

It is patently absurd to suggest that releasing a map of the
interior of Parliament would, in any way, endanger public health
and safety. Anybody can visit Parliament, tour it, and get a feel
for its layout. The maps you have provided show the most sensitive
areas of the lobbies, and the Chambers.

I am convinced that the public-interest benefit lies with
disclosing the material I have requested.

Please reply to confirm receipt.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ha...

Yours faithfully,

Steve Elibank

House Of Lords Information Office, House of Lords

Thank you for your email.

The House of Lords Information Office receives large numbers of e-mails and we aim to reply within 10 working days. If you need the information sooner please telephone the House of Lords Information Office on 020 7219 3107.

The following information may answer many of your enquiries.

House of Lords
If you have access to the Internet you may find the answers to most of your queries on the House of Lords pages of the Parliament website: <http://www.parliament.uk/> http://www.parliament.uk/lords

Judicial work
For queries about Judicial Work, please visit the Judicial Work section of the Parliament website (http://www.parliament.uk/business/judici...).

Contact the Supreme Court for further information:
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square
London SW1P 3BD
Tel: 020 7960 1991/1992
Fax: 020 7960 1901
http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk

Appointments to the House of Lords
For queries about appointments to the House of Lords, contact the House of Lords Appointments Commission, which is a separate independent body and NOT part of the House of Lords:
The House of Lords Appointments Commission
35 Great Smith Street
London
SW1P 3BQ
Tel: 020 7276 2005 (020 7276 2315 for an Information Pack)
www.lordsappointments.gov.uk<http://www.lordsappointments.gov.uk>

Thank you.

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FOI LORDS, House of Lords

Dear Mr Elibank

I am writing to acknowledge your request for an internal review.

We aim to respond to such requests within 20 working days of receipt, you should therefore expect a response from us no later than 13 July.

Yours sincerely

Alex Daybank
Information Compliance Manager
House of Lords
[email address]

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MAWSON, Chloe, House of Lords

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Elibank,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Request for a full copy of the House of Lords
`Handbook on facilities and services for Members'.

On 15 June 2010 you sent an e-mail to [1][email address] requesting
an internal review of the handling of your request for a copy of the
`Handbook on facilities and services for Members". I have conducted this
internal review. I have not previously been involved in dealing with your
request. This e-mail records my conclusions.

The response to your request for the Handbook was to supply a PDF copy but
to remove maps 3, 4, 5 and 6. The maps were said to be exempt from
disclosure under section 38(1)(a) and (b) of the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. Having reviewed this decision I have decided to supply you with
copies of maps 4 and 6. However, I am upholding the decision not to
release maps 3 and 5.

Maps 4 shows the layout of the principal floor of the Palace of
Westminster including the two Chambers. Map 6 is an enlarged version of
part of map 4. I have decided to release these two maps because after
investigation I have found that map 4 is already available in a commercial
publication. Furthermore, members of the public regularly take tours
through a significant proportion of the principal floor of the Palace.

Map 3 gives detailed information about the layout of the ground floor of
the Palace of Westminster and map 5 details the first floor. I have
decided to uphold the decision to withhold these maps. They give
information about areas of the Palace that are not normally accessible to
members of the public (with the exception of the committee rooms on the
first floor and Westminster Hall on the ground floor). If these maps were
made available together with maps 4 and 6 then we would be supplying
detailed information about every area, staircase, entry and exit in the
Palace of Westminster. This information would potentially be of use to
terrorists and therefore I believe that supplying all the information you
requested would significantly endanger the safety of people working in or
visiting the Parliamentary Estate. The public interest in maintaining the
safety of the occupants of the Palace outweighs any public interest there
might be in disclosing the plans of the ground and first floors. I
therefore uphold the decision to withhold maps 3 and 5 under section
38(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I hope that you find this an acceptable outcome. Should you wish to take
the matter further, the Act provides that you may apply to the Information
Commissioner for a decision whether your request has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of Part 1. The Information Commissioner's
address is Wycliffe House, Water lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK2 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

Chloe Mawson

Clerk of Select Committees

House of Lords

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