How we operate

In the same way that we are responsible for the regulation of MPs’ staffing and business costs, we are also responsible for following and maintaining rules governing our own conduct. 

These include codes of conduct for our Board and team members, rules on gifts and hospitality, and how our expense claims are managed.

How we operate

In administering the Scheme we adhere to these principles.

  • Diversity – we will take account of MPs’ diverse working arrangements and treat MPs fairly, so they are not disadvantaged or advantaged financially because of the Scheme.

  • Transparency – we will operate transparently, making information about MPs’ expenditure accessible to the public.

  • Value for money – we will administer the Scheme efficiently and cost-effectively.

  • Proportionality – we will regulate proportionately and effectively. 

We have also adopted and are committed to the UK Parliament Behaviour Code.

We are funded by HM Treasury through an Annual Estimate (or budget).  

Each year, our Estimate is reviewed by the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (SCIPSA) before it is laid before the House of Commons for approval.  

When considering the Estimate, SCIPSA must consult the Treasury and have regard to any advice given.  

Read more about SCIPSA’s review of our Estimate.

For more information, visit Annual Estimates and operational costs.

The appointment of our Chair and Board Members is prescribed by Schedule 1 of the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009.

They are selected by the Speaker of the House of Commons, with the agreement of SCIPSA, based on fair and open competition.

Appointments are made by His Majesty the King on an address of the House of Commons. The Chair and Board Members are appointed for a fixed term, not exceeding five years. They may be reappointed for a further term of up to three years.

Our Code of conduct applies to our Chair and the Board Members.

Our values of professionalism, respect, integrity, collaboration and improvement underpin the behaviour expected at IPSA.

Our Chair and Board Members always undertake to:

  • observe the highest standards of impartiality, integrity and objectivity in carrying out their duties and responsibilities

  • act in good faith and in the interests of the IPSA

  • not disclose any confidential information without lawful authority

  • comply fully with the Freedom of Information Act 2000

  • not misuse information or opportunities gained in the course of their public service for personal gain or for political purposes, or to promote their private interests or those of connected persons, businesses or organisations

  • declare in a register of interests any political, financial, personal and business interests

  • comply with our rules on claiming expenses and the acceptance of gifts and hospitality

  • observe the Seven Principles of Public Life as established in the First Report of the Committee for Standards in Public Life: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, and Leadership

No code of conduct can cover every eventuality and our Board Members should raise any queries or concerns with the Chair for their consideration.

The Chair should direct their own queries or concerns to the Chief Executive, who will commission advice as necessary.

Read our Code of conduct for the Chair and Board Members of IPSA.

Our Gifts and hospitality code has been developed in line with our values of professionalism, respect, integrity, collaboration and improvement.

It sets a framework for our Chair and Board Members and covers all gifts and hospitality – including working lunches and refreshments.

Value for money will always be considered when our Board Members offer gifts or hospitality, as will the value of any gifts or hospitality offered to our Board Members.

Because of the nature of our work, it is unlikely that expenses to meet the costs of gifts or hospitality will be granted, except in exceptional circumstances.

Our Chair and Board Members must carry out their roles in accordance with our Code of Conduct and always seek to ensure they do not put themselves in a position where they may be said to be acting improperly.

Read our Gifts and hospitality code.

The Rules for expense claims by members of the Board align with our values of professionalism, respect, integrity, collaboration and improvement.

They reflect the approach taken in the relevant sections of the Scheme of MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs.

The roles of our Chair and Board Members require them to work on a part-time basis, meaning it's possible they may have to travel some distance. This was outlined in the advertised terms and conditions for the posts and is normal for this type of public appointment.

Because of this, expenses incurred from travel and overnight accommodation (up to a limit) can be reimbursed. In making any claim, a Board member must certify the expenditure was necessary for the performance of their duties.

Value for money should always be considered when making claims.

These rules do not cover gifts, entertainment and hospitality, which are covered separately.

All claims for expenses incurred will be published quarterly.

Read the Rules for expense claims by members of our Board.

The Rules for expense claims by members of our staff outline the procedures for reimbursing IPSA staff for costs incurred to carry out their duties.

All costs must be accompanied by evidence and provide value for money.

Read the Expenses policy for our staff.

Before employing any individuals, we assess whether their involvement in political activity is, or has been, such as to make them ineligible to be appointed as a member of staff.

We ask candidates to provide full details of any political activity within the last year. Our selection panel then determines whether that activity raises doubts about the candidate’s eligibility or suitability.

We ask candidates to indicate whether they have:

  • held office within a registered party

  • been employed by a registered party, an MP, an MEP or an equivalent within a devolved administration

  • sought office as a Local Councillor, MP, MEP etc

  • donated sums of £7,500 or more to a registered political party or members’ association, or sums of £1,500 or more to a party accounting unit or regulated individual

  • undertaken any other active political involvement which could be relevant 

We also ask candidates to declare if they are or have been an Independent or have sought or obtained office as a representative of a particular interest group.

If a candidate has been found ineligible due to the above conditions, we reserve the right to remove them from the recruitment process.

We believe in openness and transparency. We recognise that conflicts, or potential conflicts of interest, can arise in our work and that private matters can impinge on our public duties.

It is essential for our staff to avoid any suggestion of nepotism, favouritism, or any other kind of improper behaviour in their dealings with colleagues, clients or other contacts. This applies to the entire range of work activities that we undertake.

Our staff must not use their position to advantage (or disadvantage) someone based on:

  • personal or private interests, relationships, friendships, associations, membership of societies, clubs and other organisations (such as being a Freemason), or

  • interests of friends, relatives or anyone with whom a close personal relationship exists

Our staff must declare any conflicts, potential conflicts, or personal or private interests relating to any public duties they undertake. They must take steps to resolve any conflicts arising, in a way which protects the public interest.

We rely on information to help us work effectively and build knowledge to improve and document our work.

Our policy is to protect, manage and keep these records for as long as necessary for us to meet our responsibilities and obligations.

When records are no longer needed, we identify those with archival value and send them to The National Archives for permanent preservation. Records which are identified for destruction are listed and, following the necessary approvals, securely destroyed as confidential waste.

For more information about how we manage our records, read our Records retention policy and schedule.

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