Abusive behaviour by MPs towards IPSA staff
I am responding to your request as the member of IPSA designated by the Lord Chancellor as the Qualified Person under s.36(5)(o)(iii) of the Freedom of Information Act. I can confirm that IPSA does hold information relevant to your request but that the information is exempt from disclosure.
As the Qualified Person I have conducted the public interest balancing exercise in relation to the engagement of the exemption at s.36(2)(c) (prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs) of the Act. It is my opinion that certain forms of adverse effect would or would be likely to follow from a full disclosure of the information you request.
In the process of my deliberations I have consulted the other IPSA Board members and senior IPSA staff.
I am attaching two reports and a digest giving details of each recorded incident of inappropriate conduct.
You will note that individual names and place names have been redacted. It is my opinion that this information is exempt in respect of MPs under s.36(2)(c). Names of IPSA officials have been redacted as they are not considered relevant to your request.
In short, although the information is personal information, there is a legitimate interest in the public knowing the details of the conduct to which IPSA staff have been subjected. However, it is also very important and in the public interest that there is a satisfactory and effective working relationship between MPs and IPSA in implementing the new expenses regime. This would, in my view and in the view of those at IPSA whom I have consulted, be damaged by making public the names of the individual MPs concerned. I have therefore concluded that there is a greater public interest in withholding this information than there is in its release.
I should make clear that IPSA has a clear anti-bullying policy and that no member of staff who has experienced inappropriate conduct by MPs has wished any action to be taken against them.
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- 19 August 2010
- IPSA - STAFF
- Exemptions Applied:
- Section 36