Members who have claimed over £6000 for travel expenses to the Assembly between April 2018 – March 2019

Information Standards Freedom of Information Response

 Our Ref: FoI 39-19

22 January 2020

Freedom of Information Act 2000

I can confirm that the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission holds information relevant to your request of 18th December 2019.  In your request you asked for the following information:

“I am making a Freedom of Information request for all MLAs who have claimed over £6000 for travel expenses to the assembly between April 2018 – March 2019.

I would like to know the following:

1. How is this process monitored?

2. Please can you detail the exact process that MLAS need to follow in order to get travel expenses approved? (for example, do they submit fuel receipts? What evidence to they need to submit evidence to show they have travelled between their constituency and Stormont and/or within their constituency?

3. For each of the MLA that have submitted travel expenses over £6,000, please can you provide exact detail/data on the number of days MLA’s travelled to the assembly?”


Please see the information relevant to your request in Appendix A.

If you feel that the information we have provided does not meet your request fully, please contact this office as soon as possible.  You have the right to request a formal review by the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission and if you wish to do so, please write to me at the above address.

If after such an internal review you are still unhappy with the response, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,  Cheshire SK9 5AF who will undertake an independent review.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.  Please remember to quote the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Information Standards and Data Protection Officer


Appendix A

The Independent Financial Review Panel (‘the Panel’) issued the Assembly Members (Salaries and Expenses) Determination (Northern Ireland) 2016 (‘the 2016 Determination’) in March 2016. This can be found at or on the Northern Ireland Assembly website at

The Panel set the rates of travel allowances payable to Members. The Panel also established the criteria that must be met by a Member in order to recover those allowances.


Annual Assembly Travel Allowance (ATA)

The Determination provides for the Annual Assembly Travel Allowance (ATA), which is for travel from the Members’ constituency to Parliament Buildings. Paragraph 26 requires that Members must keep records of their attendance and they must attend for a minimum number of days (72) to receive the full annual allowance.  Paragraph 26 (3) of the 2016 Determination also states:

“The member is entitled to the full allowance if the member attends the Assembly for 72 days or more working days a year.  For each working day less than this that the member attends, the allowance is reduced by 1%.”

During the period when there was no Executive, the Secretary of State issued the Assembly Members (Salaries and Expenses) Determination (Present period when there is no Executive) Determination (Northern Ireland) 2018.  This Determination amended the 2016 Determination. New paragraph 26A (5) stated:

 “The member is entitled to the full allowance if the member travels to Parliament Buildings in connection with the member’s exercise of functions as a member, for 100 or more days a year.  For each day less than this that the member travels, the allowance is reduced by 1%.”

The amendment was effective from 1 November 2018.  For the period of 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019, the required number of days of attendance was therefore 84 days.

Paragraph 26 of the 2016 Determination also sets the amount of allowance for each Member for each year based on their constituency. 


Process and how it is monitored

Members are not required to submit travel claims in order to receive the allowance. It is paid monthly to Members via payroll and is subject to deductions for tax and National Insurance Contributions.  At the end of each financial year, each Member is required to forward a declaration as to whether they have attended Parliament Building for the minimum number of days as required by the Determination and, if not, to state the actual number of days attended.  This declaration has to be accompanied by a record showing the date of travel and the reason.  It is not necessary for Members to state the mileage or to provide receipts for fuel.

Please note that the record only has to include the minimum number of days required so if, for example, a Member travels the required number of days between April and December, the number of journeys between January and March are not required. If fewer days have been travelled than the minimum required, a recovery of the previously paid allowance will be made. It should be noted that some Members opted to defer receiving the monthly allowance and only receive a payment based on their declared attendance at the end of the financial year.


Assembly Travel Allowance £6000 or over; 2018-2019

The table below shows the Members who received £6,000 or more in respect of travel to and from the Assembly between.

NameConstituencyATADays Travelled*

Kelly, Catherine

West Tyrone



McAleer, Declan

West Tyrone



McCrossan, Daniel

West Tyrone



Barton, Rosemary

Fermanagh & South Tyrone



Gildernew, Colm

Fermanagh & South Tyrone



Lynch, Sean

Fermanagh & South Tyrone



Dolan, Jemma**

Fermanagh & South Tyrone



* There was a minimum requirement of 84 days attendance. This was met for each Member but the Member may have attended for additional days.

** This includes a payment for 2017/2018 that was paid in the 2018/19 financial year.

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