IPSA regulates MPs, but who monitors IPSA?
As a regulatory body, we hold ourselves to the highest possible standards as we carry out our duty on behalf of the public to set, administer and regulate MPs’ pay and business costs.
In the Scheme of MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs we promise to adhere to the principles of diversity, transparency, value for money and proportionality. However, the best intentions of an organisation can't be the only way it's scrutinised, especially one that is trusted to protect the public purse.
Our organisation is monitored in several different ways: by the public and the media, Parliament and the Speaker’s Committee for IPSA, the National Audit Office, our Board and the Compliance Officer for IPSA.
The public and the media
Every two months we publish data on MPs’ business costs so that any member of the public can scrutinise the claims we have paid, or not paid.
Journalists sometimes use this data to highlight areas of an MP’s spending that may be of interest to their readers.
The UK is a leader in providing openness and transparency on MP costs. With the exception of Australia and France, there are few other parliaments in the world that share this information as freely as we do. We publish details of our own running costs and the minutes of our Board meetings to help the public scrutinise our spending and decision-making in the same way as they can for MPs.
Each year we carry out several assurance reviews focussed on specific areas of spending or high-profile activities like General Elections. We also carry out consultations ahead of making big decisions to gather feedback and inform our decision making.
IPSA was created, in part, because of a Freedom of Information request from a journalist and today, as a public body, we comply with the Freedom of Information Act and release information on request. Responses to Freedom of Information requests are published on our website.
Whenever we publish MPs’ business costs data, consultations or reports, we send a press release to give the media an opportunity to review the information, scrutinise the funds spent, and the work we carry out on the public’s behalf.
Parliament and the Speaker’s Committee for IPSA
Our work is continually reviewed by MPs and their staff – the people who are directly affected by the decisions we make. We have regular meetings with MPs and staff to gain feedback and we conduct an annual survey to measure how well we support them to follow the rules.
Our work is also scrutinised by the Speaker’s Committee for IPSA (SCIPSA). SCIPSA approve our budget and review our progress against objectives. SCIPSA is chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons and comprises the Leader of the House of Commons, Committee Chairs, representatives from the main parties, and three lay members are chosen through an open recruitment process.
We are also required to attend certain parliamentary committees and respond to parliamentary questions.
National Audit Office
Like all public bodies, our accounts are examined by the National Audit Office (NAO). The NAO is an independent public-spending watchdog that aims to improve public services through high-quality audits. The NAO reviews our accounts twice a year and publishes reports detailing their findings on their website.
We are governed by our Board, which consists of a Chair and four Board members. Under the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009, our Board must consist of one member who has held high judicial office, one member who is a qualified auditor, and one member who is a former MP. The Board are appointed by SCIPSA and sets our strategic vision and approves our corporate plan and annual report and accounts. The Board also reviews our performance, holds the executive to account and is responsible for determining schemes of MPs’ pay, pensions and business costs.
Compliance Officer for IPSA
The Compliance Officer for IPSA conducts investigations into business costs paid to MPs and reviews determinations made by us. Anyone can make a complaint to the Compliance Officer regarding an MP’s business costs; the public, IPSA or MPs. The Compliance Officer may also conduct an investigation on their own initiative, providing they have reason to believe an MP may have received a payment that should not have been allowed.
The Compliance Officer is independent of IPSA and can review the decisions we make regarding MPs’ staffing and business costs. Being independent of both the House of Commons and IPSA allows the Compliance Officer to make impartial determinations based on the facts of each case.
Confidence in governance
The mechanisms in place to monitor our work are designed to provide the public with confidence that we are fulfilling our duty to provide an exemplary, seamless regulatory service to enable MPs to focus on what really matters – serving and representing their constituents. We take this responsibility very seriously. If you would like to know more about how MPs use public money to support their parliamentary work, visit our guide to MPs’ staffing and business costs.
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Learn about MPs’ claims
Discover how and why MPs claim for their staffing and business costs.Read about MPs’ staffing and business costs
How we publish MPs’ costs
Learn about how we publish details of MPs' claims.Read our Publication Policy
What we do
Find out how we regulate MPs’ staffing and business costs, pay, and pensions.What we do