Cost of processing claims and evidence requirements


Under the Freedom of Information Act will you please tell me the cost of processing an expenses claim for a Member of Parliament and whether receipts and reasons for the expenditure are required.


IPSA holds the information that you request.

We are currently in the process of producing a current figure for the cost of processing expense claims, which will be agreed with and form part of a study by the National Audit Office.

A cost per claim was calculated in 2011 by the National Audit Office when conducting its value-for-money study into IPSA’s operations.  They estimated the full cost of processing a single claim for business costs and expenses incurred by Members of Parliament to be £15.86.  In calculating the cost of processing a claim, they took into account direct staff costs plus a proportion of indirect staff costs (e.g. management) and IPSA’s overall overheads and corporate functions.  This cost was divided by the total number of claims received during the year.

The direct cost of staff time spent processing a claim, excluding overheads, was calculated as £8.75. 

The National Audit Office recommended that IPSA calculates this figure annually as a measure of improvements in our processing efficiency.  IPSA’s view was that this was not an indicator of efficiency on the grounds that we have no control over the number or value of claims MPs submit.

With regards to your question regarding evidence required for claims, we can confirm that all claims submitted, regardless of their value, must be “supported by the evidence required by IPSA”, as stipulated by section 1.1 of the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (the ‘Scheme’).  This may include receipts, leases, valuations or invoices as appropriate. 

You may wish to view the Scheme via this link to our website.  IPSA has also published a guide to MP’s Business Costs and Expenses, which provides guidance to MPs on what can be claimed and what supporting documentation is required as evidence.

4 November 2013
Exemptions Applied: