MPs engaging unpaid interns
The information we hold all relates to volunteers: individuals registered with IPSA by Members of Parliament for the purpose of claiming for incidental expenses such as lunch and travel to and from work, but who are not entitled to receive a salary. This includes individuals undertaking work experience, which may be as short as a few days, and those on student placements, or those undertaking internships with MPs. “Unpaid interns” are, by definition, volunteers and we do not hold information on “interns” separately. Therefore, the fact that an MP has been included does not mean that they have necessarily taken any unpaid interns.
Each volunteer must complete a volunteer registration via the online expenses system and complete and send to IPSA a model volunteer agreement.
MPs may call some of their salaried staff “interns”. These staff may be paid below the normal IPSA pay scales and may have reduced responsibilities, but must be paid at least the national minimum wage. These individuals are not required to complete volunteer registrations and are not separately identifiable from other salaried staff paid through IPSA’s payroll. The numbers provided in our response do not, therefore, include any individuals who fall within this category.
In our response to your earlier FOI request of 27 February 2013 (reference FOI2013-A192), in which you asked for the number of interns taken on by MPs since May 2010, we provided a list of the number of volunteers each MP had registered with IPSA to claim incidental expenses since IPSA began operations in May 2010, correct as at the time of your request. Our response to your FOI request was both provided to you and published on the Freedom of Information section of IPSA’s website.
The FOIA states that information that is accessible by other means is not subject to release. Therefore, as the information you have requested, which has already been provided to you under a previous FOI request, is available on our website, it is exempt from disclosure under section 21 of the FOIA (information accessible to applicant by other means).
Annex A, therefore, lists, by MP, the number of individuals each MP has registered with IPSA to claim incidental expenses since the time of your last request.
That a volunteer is registered does not indicate that claims for incidental expenses have been submitted to IPSA. The information also does not indicate the number of individuals volunteering at any one time, nor does it point to the length of time individuals have been registered as volunteers, although the period will often be short. We publish details of MPs’ claims for expenses on our website. You may view the published information by visiting our publication website. Details of claims for expenses are published in a two month cycle, three months in arrears.
We do not hold information relating to the second part of your request.
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- 9 October 2013
- MPs' STAFFING
- Exemptions Applied: