unredacted expense claims for Jonathan Djanogly and Andrew Lansley

The request was partially successful.

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear Sir or Madam,

I request an unedited copy - i.e. without any information "blacked out" - of the documents relating to expense claims for Jonathan Djanogly and Andrew Lansley that are partially published at
http://mpsallowances.parliament.uk/mpslo... and http://mpsallowances.parliament.uk/mpslo.... This comprises the ACA, IEP and communication allowances for the two MPs for the accounting years 2004-2008.

This information is not already available to me as only an edited version has been published.

If this is too much information to provide within the cost limit, please omit the following items in sequence (cumulatively) until the cost limit is reached.

If the cost limit is breached for my full request, then as advice and assistance for any possible future requests, please also provide full details of your estimates in numeric terms that allow me to predict what they would be for any requests of a similar nature and thus make requests that fall under the costs limit.

1) Andrew Lansley's expenses

2) All expenses for your accounting year 2007-8

3) All expenses for your accounting year 2006-7

4) All expenses for your accounting year 2005-6

5) IEP claims

6) Communication allowance claims

For example, after removing items 1-5, all that would be left of my request would be Jonathan Djanogly's ACA and communication allowance claims for 2004-2005.

Yours faithfully,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Sittampalem,

Thank you for your request for information dated 11th August 2009,
received by us on 12th August 2009, and is copied below.

Following the recent publication of information about MP's expenses, we
are receiving unprecedented numbers of requests which, unfortunately, has
affected our ability to consistently meet the statutory targets for a
response. We are allocating additional resources to deal with this, but in
some cases our responses are taking longer than we would like or would
commit to normally.

Information relating to allowances for the period 2008/09 and 2009/10 is
currently being prepared for publication and will be available as soon as
possible.

We will endeavour to respond promptly to your request within 20 working
days i.e. on or before 10th September.

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

Yours,

Patrick Dawson

Data Protection and Freedom of Information Manager
Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) service
Department of Resources
FOI
House of Commons
London

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FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Sittampalam

Thank you for your request for information which is copied below. You
asked for unedited copies of expenses claims relating to Jonathan Djanogly
and Andrew Lansley.

We are not able to provide you with unedited copies of the Members'
expenses claims, as by doing so, we would be disclosing information which
is exempt under the FOIA, for example, section 38 (health and safety) or
section 40 (personal data) of the Act. The published expenses claims for
these Members were edited to protect the security and privacy interests of
the MP, his staff and other individuals. In addition, the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA) was amended in July 2008 to the effect that
MPs' residential addresses and the details of providers of goods and
services to those residences are not within the scope of the FOIA (further
information about this amendment can be found at
[1]http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2008/pdf/uks... ).
Information to which the FOI Act does not apply as a result of this change
in the legislation was also edited out.

However, should you wish us to inform you which exemptions apply to a
specific claim, receipt, or edit, please let us know, and this will be
considered in line with the provisions of the section 12 and the
associated fees regulations.

You may, if dissatisfied with the treatment of your request, ask the House
of Commons to conduct an internal review of this decision. Requests for
internal review should be addressed to: Freedom of Information Officer,
Department of Resources, House of Commons London SW1 OAA or
[House of Commons request email]. Please ensure that you specify the nature of
your complaint and 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.

Yours sincerely

Katarina Ndrepepaj | Freedom of Information Coordinator

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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear Sir or Madam,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of House of Commons's handling of my FOI request 'unredacted expense claims for Jonathan Djanogly and Andrew Lansley'.

Your refusal notice is inadequate as it does not explain why sections 38 or 40 apply to the information I ask for. This explanation is required as it is not apparent why these exemptions apply. I give some examples below, but I emphasise that you cannot apply the section 12 time limits to the act of redacting information or writing a refusal notice, and you need to provide a proper refusal notice that provides an explanation to cover each redaction. I do not expect you to provide a single explanation for each redaction, but you should explain what classes of information have been redacted in enough detail to provide a proper explanation of why the exemption applies.

In addition the information that is redacted from the published versions of the documents goes significantly beyond that allowed by the Information Tribunal decision that originally led to the release of the receipts or by the derogation that Parliament voted itself.

Here are some specific examples from Jonathan Djanogly's expenses of redactions that I disagree with:

- almost all of many utility bills including what seems to be all details of how much gas/electricity was used etc,

- large areas of the "Member's claim forms"

- the relevant website address on an invoice for website maintenance

This list is not exhaustive, but I am unable to properly contest your redactions because of the inadequacy of your initial refusal notice.

Looking at the instructions by which the redactions were apparently made (http://www.parliament.uk/deposits/deposi..., I disagree that the following classes of redactions are properly covered by the FOI act:

- "all names of hotels/guest houses used"

- "correspondence or advice letters to or from Department of Resources DFA"

- "all manuscript additions to forms, receipts etc where these have been made by HoC staff"

- "notes and details of all rejected and adjusted claims"

- "dates and times on till receipts"

I note also that you have substantially changed the redaction process for the upcoming release of 2008/9 expenses - http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/81... - this seems to be an acknowledgement that the current set of redactions has gone too far.

Finally I have just discovered that Andrew Lansley's claims are available on the Telegraph's website, which makes the excesses of your redaction process clear. For example on page 14 of his 2007-8 ACA expenses, a note reading "proportion of amount below for July 07 - July 08" has been removed yet there is no possible justification for this under either of the exemptions you have quoted. Again this is just one of many such examples in the places I have looked and I emphasis that it is for you to ensure that you release to me all information that is not properly covered by an exemption, and to provide a proper explanation for the rest.

I remind you of the ICO guidance that internal reviews should normally be completed within 20 working days and at all times within 40 working days. If you require more than 20 working days for this review, please contact me to explain why, otherwise I will be making an immediate complaint to the ICO.

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

Yours faithfully,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

F09-562

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Thank you for your email dated 10 September 2009 requesting an internal
review of Freedom of Information request ref: F09-562, which was received
on the same date and is copied below. Our internal target for dealing
with internal reviews is thirty working days. We will deal with your
request promptly and endeavour to provide a response by 22 October 2009.

If you have any queries about the review, please contact
[1][House of Commons request email] quoting your request number.

Yours sincerely,

Katharine Gray

Freedom of Information Coordinator

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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOICOMMONS,

I remind you that I will be complaining to the ICO unless you complete this internal review in line with the requirements of the s45 code of practice, i.e. within 20 working days, which is the 8th October, or provide a proper explanation of why you cannot do so.

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

F09-562

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Thank you for your email.  Our internal target for dealing with internal
reviews is thirty working days. We anticipate being able to send our
response to this internal review next week.

Yours sincerely,

Katharine Gray

Freedom of Information Coordinator

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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOICOMMONS,

I am aware of your continuing refusal to bring your internal targets in line with the code of practice. I also do not believe anything you say about when you will do something.

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

1 Attachment

F09-562

Dear Mr Sittampalam

Please find attached response to your request for an internal review of
your Freedom of Information request F09-562.

Yours sincerely,

Katy Gray

Freedom of Information Coordinator

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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOICOMMONS,

When will you be actually sending the information now that you have finally acknowledged your legal obligations?

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

Thank you for your email. We anticipate being able to disclose the requested IEP papers on or before Friday 13 November 2009. As stated in the response to your internal review, the ACA papers will not be disclosed until Sir Thomas Legg has reported, and we do not therefore have a date by which this information will be with you at this stage.

The IEP papers to be disclosed will be available in paper copy. Please can you supply us with an address to which we can post a copy of these papers? Alternatively, they can be made available for collection from our offices in Westminster.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOICOMMONS,

This is the first mention you've made of being unable to provide an electronic copy, which is the form I expressed a preference for in my initial request by specifying an electronic address for communication. Can you explain why this is, given that you were clearly able to make redactions electronically for the general publication of expenses you made earlier this year?

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

The IEP papers that you requested have been redacted manually in order to give effect to your specific request. There are over 400 pages to be disclosed and they are only held in paper format.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear Mr Castle,

If they are only held in paper format then how were you able to publish refacted PDFs of them on the web earlier this year?

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

The PDF documents which you refer to were created by a subcontractor who was working on the project concerned. The House did not have the facilities to electronically redact the papers you have requested at the time your request was received. They have therefore been redacted manually and are only held in paper form. We are now ready to supply you with the IEP papers in paper format, if you are able to provide us with a postal address.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOICOMMONS,

Doesn't the House of Commons possess a scanner?

Also, please could you provide (by email) a list of which parts of my original request you will be releasing the information for, including the ACA documents that you are withholding for the time being. I also remind you of my request for numeric estimatess of the time required for any parts of my request that exceeded the cost limits.

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

The information you requested has been prepared in paper format. The House of Commons has already exceeded the reasonable time limit in preparing the information you requested. We do not think it is reasonable to spend more time sending Jonathan Djanogly MP's Incidental Expenses Provision (IEP) papers for 2004/05 and 2005/06, which are ready to send to you in paper format, for scanning.

The information which we have been unable to prepare for disclosure within the reasonable time limit is all of Andrew Lansley MP's papers and Mr Djanogly's IEP papers for 2006/07 and 2007/08, Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) papers for 2007/08 and Communications Allowance (CA) papers for 2007/08. Please note that the CA was introduced in 2007 and there are therefore no CA papers preceding this date. We estimate that it would take around seventeen hours of calculable time to prepare the remainder of Mr Djanogly's papers for disclosure, based on estimates of around 3 hours per ACA bundle, around 6 hours per IEP bundle and around 1 hour per CA bundle. Mr Lansley has slightly fewer pages, and we estimate around 30 hours to prepare his papers for disclosure.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear FOICOMMONS,

I do not accept that it is unreasonable for you to scan the papers, nor do I accept that you are entitled to withhold the ACA ones for the duration of the Legg enquiry, and I have serious doubts over whether you have applied the costs limit correctly. However as we have already had one internal review, I guess we'll have to see what the Information Commissioner thinks.

I will send you my postal address by a separate email.

Yours sincerely,

Ganesh Sittampalam

Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Ganesh received a response by post, scanned it in and sent it to us. I've uploaded the documents here:

http://files.whatdotheyknow.com/request/...

Ganesh Sittampalam

Dear House of Commons,

As you have now published these expenses for 2008 onwards, it seems you no longer think that the Legg enquiry constitutes an impediment to release. Please send me the remainder of the documents immediately.

Yours faithfully,

Ganesh Sittampalam

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Sittampalam,

I am writing regarding your request for information F09-343. The internal review of your request concluded that the Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) papers for Jonathan Djanogly which you requested could not be sent to you until the inquiry by Sir Thomas Legg had been completed. The Members Estimate Committee has stated that it aims to publish Sir Thomas Legg's report on 4 February 2010. We therefore intend to send you Mr Djanogly's ACA papers for 04/05, 05/06 and 06/07 as soon as possible after the report has been published.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Castle
Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Ganesh received some more files by post, I've also uploaded them here.

http://files.whatdotheyknow.com/request/...

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