What do you think about MPs spending public money?
A lot has changed since the MPs’ expenses scandal in 2009, but IPSA’s research shows that there are still misconceptions around MPs’ staffing and business costs. Here are some facts that might surprise you:
The use of parliamentary facilities, advocacy or lobbying where the MP has a financial interest.
The Commissioner will not investigate complaints about:
an MP’s views or opinions;
an MP’s handling of or decision about constituency cases and correspondence at any stage; (A local MP will generally do as much as they can to help a constituent, but (s)he is not obliged to take up every matter that is brought to their attention);
the conduct of an MP’s wider public life, unless the MP’s conduct has caused serious damage to the reputation of the House of Commons as a whole or of MPs more generally.
The post of Compliance Officer for IPSA was established by the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009, as amended by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.
The Compliance Officer’s remit is defined in statute and is to:
conduct an investigation if he has reason to believe that an MP may have been paid an amount under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs (the Scheme) that should not have been allowed; and
at the request of an MP, review a determination by IPSA to refuse reimbursement for an expense claim, in whole or in part.
As the Compliance Officer’s role is confined to matters pertaining to the Scheme, he has no power to investigate complaints that pre-date the creation of IPSA in May 2010. Complaints regarding expense claims prior to May 2010 are usually handled by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.