Members “Winding Up Costs” and details for payments of support staff redundancies
Information Standards Freedom of Information Response
Our Ref: FoI 04-20
05 February 2020
Freedom of Information Act 2000
I can confirm that the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission holds information relevant to your request of 14 January 2020. In your request you asked for the following information:
“When an Assembly Member stands down do they get a winding up allowance?
How much is this amount?
How much has been paid in total and to whom - which MLAs - in the years from 2010 to 2020?
Do their staff get redundancy also?
How much in total was paid out in redundancy pay to MLA staff in the years from 2010 to 2020.”
Please see the information attached at Appendix A in relation to the above request.
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.
Under the provisions of paragraph 21 of the Assembly Members (Salaries and Expenses) Determination (Northern Ireland) 2016 (the 2016 Determination) when a Member resigns from the Assembly they are allowed to recover expenses wholly and necessarily incurred as a result of them winding up their Assembly business. They can claim costs for a period of three months following their resignation. The current maximum amount is £4,500, which covers office expenses plus rent and rates but excludes support staff costs. Winding up is not an automatic allowance; it has to be claimed.
Details of all expenditure claimed for winding up expenditure since 2010 under the 2016 Determination and under previous Determinations can be found on the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission website.
Under the provisions of the 2016 Determination, support staff are engaged on a standard set of terms and conditions. Under these terms and conditions, support staff do not receive any contractual redundancy benefits. Only statutory redundancy payments are made. Prior to the 2016 Determination, Members were able to make contractual redundancy payments in addition to statutory payments.
The total amount paid in redundancy payments from 2010 to date is £558,643.52. It should be noted that this includes all redundancy payments, both contractual and statutory and not just those incurred during winding up periods.