Communication Adviser (2013)


Please could I be given details of the contract for communications adviser Justine McGuinness.

Could this information include the cost and duration of the contract, and details of her duties.




Some personal details have been redacted from this contract. This information is exempt by virtue of section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the exemption for personal information), as disclosure of this information to the public generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.

Additionally, the cost of the contract is exempt under section 43(2) of the FOI Act in that the House of Commons considers that the disclosure of this information would be prejudicial to the House’s and the contractor’s commercial interests.

We have considered the public interest in transparency relating to the spending of public money and public authorities getting value for money.  However, we have also considered that in this case it is not in the wider public interest to disclose as there is a risk that such disclosure would have a detrimental effect on future marketability and future earnings potential of the contractor.  We have also concluded that the House's bargaining position with contractors in the future will be prejudiced and contractors may become reluctant to enter into discussions, which could undermine the House’s ability to fulfil its role effectively. 

Ms McGuinness’s main duties are:

  1.  To provide external communications advice and support to:
      - the Speaker of the House of Commons
      - the Deputy Speakers
      - the House of Commons Commission
      - the Speaker’s Committees on IPSA and the Electoral Commission
      - the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy
      - the Panel of Chairs
      - activities related to the significant anniversaries that occur in 2015
      - the Speaker’s Advisory Council on Public Engagement
  2.  To be a part of the House of Commons Media Service, providing a professional, timely, proactive and trusted media and communications service to the House of Commons on House and corporate matters.
  3.  To maintain a high level of awareness of media and political trends through developing trusted relationships with media and political contacts.
  4.  To develop a positive reputation both within and outside the House for sound external communications advice, delivered timeously and with close regard for the reputation of the House