Lost and stolen IT equipment (2016)

Request

I would like to request under FOI details of computers, printers and other IT equipment provided by the parliamentary authorities
a) reported stolen
b) reported lost
c) otherwise found to be missing / unaccountable
in each of the last five years with annual totals listed along with any available information about the value of the equipment, thanks.

Response

Whilst the House of Commons and the House of Lords are separate public authorities in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Parliamentary Digital Service (PDS) is a joint service providing information and communications technology services for both Houses of Parliament. The information below covers both Houses and all users of the parliamentary network e.g. MPs, Members of the House of Lords, their staff, staff of the House Administrations and non-parliamentary network users participating in parliamentary business.

This information is held by the House of Commons.  Details of IT equipment provided by the Parliamentary Digital Services (PDS), formally called Parliamentary Information and Communications Technology (PICT) that were reported lost or stolen for the years 2010 to 2013 can be found on the attached spreadsheet and includes the date the incident was reported, the user type, type of item and a summary of the incident. Please note the following caveats:

  • The quality of the data on the spreadsheet is limited and does not include some relevant information, for example, if lost items have been eventually found.
  • The data has been extracted from logged calls to the Digital Service from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2013.
  • The list contains duplicate entries for the same incidents and in some cases triplicate entries as individuals may log more than one call when reporting a loss or theft. For example an initial call would alert us of the loss/theft, and one or more calls can be logged subsequently to provide a crime reference number or give further details.

Details of  IT equipment provided by PDS and reported as lost or stolen in 2014 is already publicly available on our Transparency webpages. and includes the date the incident was reported, type of item, location and whether the incident was reported to the police.  This published information is exempt from release under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which is the exemption for information already publicly available. Details of the exemption are provided below.

Information about IT equipment provided by PDS reported as lost or stolen for the year 2015 is held by the House of Commons, but intended for publication in summer 2016. This information is therefore exempt from release under Section 22 of the FOIA, which is the exemption for information intended for future publication.  Details of the exemption are provided below.

You asked for any available information about the value of the equipment reported lost or stolen.  The pricing of parliamentary IT equipment varies throughout the year so it is not possible to definitively state the value of each item at the time of its loss. A pricelist is, therefore, published on our transparency page and will be updated as new prices become available.
This published information is exempt from release under section 21 of the FOIA, which is the exemption for information already publicly available.  Details of the exemption are provided below.


Section 21

As the information you request is reasonably accessible to you otherwise than under the (FOIA), your request is refused. In refusing your request the House is applying the exemption set out in section 21 (1) and (2) (a) of the FOIA.  This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.

Section 22

The published information on our Transparency pages is due to be updated in summer 2016 therefore this information is being withheld under section 22 (intended for future publication) of the FOIA. Section 22 is a qualified exemption, and accordingly we have to consider whether the public interest is in withholding the information or in disclosing it. The arguments for and against disclosure are detailed below.
The general argument in favour of releasing information is that there is a public interest in being able to scrutinise aspects of the House of Commons where that information might be easy to access and will not prejudice the House. Against disclosure the argument is the public interest in permitting public authorities to publish information in a manner and form and at a time of their own choosing.  It is a part of the effective conduct of public affairs that the general publication of information is a conveniently planned and managed activity within the reasonable control of public authorities.  Where the decision has been made in principle to publish, there is a reasonable entitlement to make arrangements to do so.