Assembly Commission Meeting (Wednesday 17 February 2016)
Session: Session currently unavailable
Date: 16 February 2016
Reference: SO 15/15/16
The Speaker has called a meeting of the Assembly Commission tomorrow (Wed 17 February) to discuss issues raised in recent days regarding the expenses regime for Assembly Members and to agree further actions to address these concerns.
The IPSA report was requested by the Assembly Commission to assist in the ongoing improvement of the administration of the system of financial support for Members’ expenses. While the report, in its own words, did not find any major issues of concern, it has made recommendations on a small number matters. These matters are currently under consideration by the Commission. Officials are drafting a revised Handbook to take account of the IPSA recommendations and also the content of the forthcoming IFRP Determination.
With regard to comments on a “secret appeals process”, the IPSA report identified a situation where a member of staff rightly sought justification for a claim from a Member. That justification was provided promptly by the Member directly to the member of staff who had raised the query and payment was subsequently made. Therefore, the expectation by IPSA (and by the Commission) that all Members should, when requested, provide sufficient justification for every claim was fully met in the situation set out in the IPSA report. This reported “high-value claim” was less than £50.
The methods for Members to seek a review of a decision to refuse payment of a claim is entirely open and transparent. It has been included in the current version of the Financial Support for Members Handbook since 2011.