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Speaker's Office Expenditure (2018)


An itemised breakdown of all spending charged to the Speaker’s official House account since 6 January 2017 (the date of the last disclosure).
Could this information include a description of what the spending was incurred for, and what event it related to.



Please note that maternity costs of one individual have been redacted from the sheet. This information is exempt by virtue of section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), 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.

In addition, Mr Speaker’s official travel expenses, which are also paid from this account, are released on a quarterly basis as a transparency publication on our parliamentary pages. These published costs, up until 31 December 2017, are exempt in accordance with section 21 (1) and (2) (a) of the FOIA, as the information you request is reasonably accessible to you otherwise than under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.

Travel expenses, from 1 January 2018 to the date of your request, are intended for future publication in the next quarter.  This data is withheld under section 22 (intended for future publication) of the Act. 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 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 and in this case the public interest in favour of withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it.