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15 December 2014: IPSA publishes Compliance Officer Procedures

IPSA has today published the procedures and guidance for the Compliance Officer following a public consultation.

The Compliance Officer is a statutory office holder who investigates complaints that an MP has claimed for something not allowed under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses. The Compliance Officer can also review decisions by IPSA not to pay a claim.

During the consultation, IPSA considered whether the Compliance Officer should publicise the fact that an investigation has been launched and the reason why once it has concluded rather than, as now, at the start. The decision is a balance between releasing information as quickly as possible, on the one hand, and reducing the risk that an investigation could be prejudiced, on the other. Having considered the responses to the consultation, IPSA will retain the current practice and the Compliance Officer will continue to publicise the relevant facts when an investigation starts.

Following the consultation, IPSA has also decided that attendance at hearings conducted as part of an investigation will normally be for the MP and other parties or witnesses only, although MPs will be offered the opportunity to hold the hearing in public if they wish.

IPSA will also clarify the procedures for the Compliance Officer when reviewing decisions not to pay a claim. This formalises a working pattern which has been in place for a number of years.

Sir Ian Kennedy, IPSA chair, said today:

“This was a hugely valuable consultation exercise for us.  We now have a tight, robust and workable set of procedures to support the Compliance Officer when undertaking investigations. Crucially, IPSA continues its commitment to the public to be open and transparent.

“We have introduced a new era of openness when it comes to MPs’ costs. Every single pound claimed by an MP is published online and is there for all to see. For their part, MPs comply with the rules that IPSA has laid down. On the rare occasion when any MP is investigated by the Compliance Officer, we will continue our current approach of making that fact public at the outset.”

You can read the full report, alongside all responses made to the consultation, on the Consultations page of our website, via the following link: www.theipsa.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. The new Procedures and Guidance will come into effect on 1 January 2015.
  2. The legislation governing the Compliance Officer is the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009, as amended by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.
  3. The current Compliance Officer is Peter Davis.