Details relating to IPSA's Acting Chief Executive


  1. Please describe the recruitment process of Paula Higson into the role of IPSA.

  2. Please advise how many times Andrew McDonald met Paula Higson since May 2010 - I am aware they worked together at the Home Office and met on more than on occasion after that.

  3. Please advise if references were taken from NHS Direct Ms Higson former employers

  4. Please indicate whether Ms Higson is an employee or paid through a Ltd company


IPSA holds the information that you request.

In response to the first part of your request, we can confirm that Paula Higson was appointed as IPSA’s acting Chief Executive in July 2012 to provide cover, at short notice, for IPSA’s Chief Executive, Andrew McDonald, while he received treatment for prostate cancer. Possible contractors were identified and Ms Higson was subsequently interviewed and appointed by the IPSA Chair, Sir Ian Kennedy. We are withholding details of any references sought in relation to the appointment under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act. Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt if one of the conditions set out in Section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the FOI Act, disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) where it would be fair to those persons or is confidential.

As a point of clarification, Dr Andrew McDonald has never worked at the Home Office. Dr McDonald maintains one diary which covers all his social and professional engagements. This diary is held by IPSA and we would withhold details of any social or private engagements that do not relate to IPSA under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act (see paragraph above).

Andrew McDonald and Paula Higson met on three occasions to discuss IPSA-related matters, notably Paula’s coaching of a manager at IPSA, between 1st May and 30th July 2012. She began work as IPSA’s Acting Chief Executive on 30th July.

Ms Higson was paid on presentation of invoices payable to a limited company, in line with standard practice for short term contracts of this type.

26 November 2012
Exemptions Applied:
Section 40