Skip to the content

Complaints made about MPs
CAS-29493
Disclosure Date:28 Sep 2015
Categories: COMPLIANCE OFFICER FOR IPSA IPSA - OPERATIONS
Exemptions Applied: None
Request
  1. Which party has had the most substantial complaints made against it?
  2. Which party has had the least substantial complaints made against it?
  3. Who polices IPSA to ensure that no scoundrels police the other (MP) scoundrels?
  4. Do IPSA have the powers to detain, question and stop and search MPs?
Response

I will take your requests for information in turn.

  • Which party has had the most substantial complaints made against it?
  • Which party has had the least substantial complaints made against it?

As you may be aware, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) was created by Parliament in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal. IPSA was given the remit and powers to introduce independent regulation of MPs’ business costs and expenses and, subsequently, pay and pensions. The rules regarding MPs’ business costs and expenses are contained within the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), a fully copy of which can be viewed on our website: http://www.parliamentarystandards.org.uk/.

If a member of the public believes that an MP has been paid an amount by IPSA under the Scheme that should not have been paid, they can complain to the Compliance Officer for IPSA. The Compliance Officer is an independent office-holder, who sits independently from IPSA. More information regarding the Compliance Officer can be found on his website: http://www.parliamentarycompliance.org.uk.

As the Compliance Officer is independent from IPSA, IPSA does not hold information regarding complaints that have been made to the Compliance Officer; information on how to contact the Compliance Officer can be found on his website.

Further, the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards deals with the application of the Code of Conduct and related Rules that apply to Members of Parliament. This includes the registration of financial interests held by MPs and the investigation of allegations that MPs have breached the rules set out in the House of Commons Code of Conduct. Complaints regarding these rules are made to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, and are therefore not held by IPSA. You can find more information regarding the Parliamentary Commissioner on her website at the following address: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-financial-interests/parliamentary-commissioner-for-standards/parliamentary-commissioner-for-standards/

  • Who polices IPSA to ensure that no scoundrels police the other (MP) scoundrels?

IPSA is a parliamentary body, wholly independent of government, which reports directly to Parliament. The Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (SCIPSA) considers the candidates proposed by the Speaker, following fair and open competition, for the posts of Chair and members of the Board of IPSA and approves IPSA's annual estimate of resources. You can find out more about SCIPSA on its website: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/other-committees/speakers-committee-for-the-independent-parliamentary-standards-authority/

  • Do IPSA have the powers to detain, question and stop and search MPs?

IPSA’s powers are established in the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009, as amended by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. Full copies of these Acts can be found on the UK Legislation website: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/.

The Acts do not grant IPSA the powers to formally detain, question and stop and search MPs. The Acts grant the Compliance Officer various powers to investigate MPs, where there is reason to believe they have been paid an amount by IPSA in breach of the Scheme, but these do not include the powers to detain or stop and search.

You also asked the following further question, which has not been handled under the terms of the FOIA, but which I am happy to address.

  • In your experience, who should I vote for to ensure there are as few scoundrels as possible in public life?

Although IPSA is not formally part of the Civil Service, we abide by many of its practices and codes, including that of political neutrality. We are independent of government and of political parties and as a public body funded by the taxpayer, it would not be appropriate to influence any individual’s voting intention.