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Fees Office staffing costs, IPSA expenditure and information relating to IPSA's communications department
FOI005
Disclosure Date:19 Mar 2010
Categories: IPSA - OPERATIONS IPSA - FINANCIAL
Exemptions Applied: None
Request
  1. Recorded reasons why existing staff conveniently situated in the Fees Office in Parliament cannot continue to pay MPs salaries and expenses.
  2. How many staff are at present employed in the Fees Office and at what cost?
  3. How many staff will be employed at Victoria (Portland House) and at what cost?
  4. How many of the latter will be transferred from the Fees Office?
  5. What will happen to the Fees Office when it becomes empty?
  6. What will be the extra cost of setting up communications facilities etc in the new offices.
  7. Who has authorised this overall expenditure, and how will it be funded.
  8. If it is necessary to discuss individual claims with MPs, will IPSA staff visit them at the House of Commons, or will they be invited to travel to Victoria (Portland House)?
  9. What will be the precise responsibilities of each of the four Board Members?

 

Response
  • Recorded reasons why existing staff conveniently situated in the Fees Office in Parliament cannot continue to pay MPs salaries and expenses.

IPSA was established by the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009, which passed into law on 21 July 2009. The Act assigned to IPSA the role of preparing a new and independent system for the payment of MPs’ salaries and allowances and to review the scheme regularly and revise it as appropriate.

  • How many staff are at present employed in the Fees Office and at what cost?

IPSA does not hold this information.

  • How many staff will be employed at Victoria (Portland House) and at what cost?

In the set-up and transitional phase of IPSA, it is expected that there will be 70 staff in place from April 2010. Following set-up, IPSA will conduct a thorough organisational review to ensure that it is operating in a cost effective and efficient way. It is expected that the organisational review will be completed by the autumn of 2010. Subject to the outcome of the organisational review and the remit of IPSA remaining unaltered by Government legislation, it is expected that the number of staff will progressively reduce towards 50.  IPSA is currently finalising its budgets and will publish details in due course. As such, until this time, exact budget figures  are exempt under section 22 of the FOIA (Information intended for future publication). We will be publishing this information shortly and we will inform you by email at the time of publication.

  • How many of the latter will be transferred from the Fees Office?

Approximately 30 staff will be transferred from the Fees Office (formally, the Operations Directorate of the House of Commons Department of Resources). We are confident that the skills and experience they will bring to IPSA will enable us to administer a workable and effective new scheme of expenses within the tight deadlines we are working to.

  • What will happen to the Fees Office when it becomes empty?

IPSA does not hold this information.

  • What will be the extra cost of setting up communications facilities etc in the new offices.

Please find included a table which provides a breakdown of IPSA’s budgeted set up costs, including costs associated with communications.

  • Who has authorised this overall expenditure, and how will it be funded.

This set-up funding has been budgeted for and funded out of the money voted by Parliament for the set-up of IPSA. Running costs for IPSA will be provided in an estimate to be considered by the Speaker’s Committee early in the next Parliament.

  • If it is necessary to discuss individual claims with MPs, will IPSA staff visit them at the House of Commons, or will they be invited to travel to Victoria (Portland House)?

Queries from MPs regarding individual claims will be dealt with in writing or by the IPSA helpline.

  • What will be the precise responsibilities of each of the four Board Members?

The Board have primarily focused on working collectively to prepare a new and independent expenses system. Their particular individual responsibilities have not yet been finalised.