The Term Ahead, September 2018: Ten Years since the Parliamentary Standards Act
Date published: September 1, 2018
July 2019 will mark the tenth anniversary of the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009 which established the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority to regulate MPs’ parliamentary spending and to provide support to MPs through payment of expenses and salaries.
Over the past ten years, MPs and IPSA have worked together to rebuild public confidence in the use of taxpayer’s money. IPSA has created a Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses which provides MPs with the appropriate funds to carry out their parliamentary work while assuring the public that their money is being well spent and well regulated. The Scheme has undergone an evolution over the past eight years.
Most recently we have removed some limits, such as on staff travel and MPs’ travel in Europe, from the Scheme and increased MPs’ discretion in making claims for office costs. This is a recognition that MPs are best placed to decide how to carry out their parliamentary duties.
IPSA operates fairly and transparently, upholding the rules while supporting MPs and their staff members to comply with the rules. In the past financial year, 99.6% of claims submitted to ISPA were compliant with The Scheme and the small number of claims that were not paid, were mainly a matter of administrative error.
IPSA carries out public consultations and produces assurance reports to gather evidence and assure the public that the expenses system is operating effectively. Interest in MPs’ pay and expenses has decreased over recent years with fewer Freedom of Information requests and parliamentary questions relating to IPSA.
The UK is a world leader of independent regulation of parliamentary spending with parliaments across the world looking to IPSA’s experience on how to operate a robust but fair set of rules and an efficient expenses and payroll system.
Where is IPSA headed?
Now, in 2018, IPSA has a transparent regulatory regime that provides assurance to the public that MPs are paid fairly to perform their parliamentary duties and are regulated independently. IPSA will launch IPSA Online, a more modern IT system, and processes that can support us and MPs more effectively.
IPSA will continue building on these strong foundations, becoming an organisation that achieves excellence, leads in its field, innovates for the benefit of users and provides ongoing assurance to the public.