Northern Ireland Assembly Commission Publishes Amended 2016 Determination
Session: Session currently unavailable
Date: 26 August 2020
Reference: AC 03/19/20
The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission (the Assembly Commission) has today published a 2020 Determination which amends the 2016 Determination – the regulations that detail the allowances that MLAs have to employ staff and the costs they can recover as they carry out their legislative and constituency duties. The original 2016 Determination was published by the then Independent Financial Review Panel.
The 2016 Determination was amended by the Assembly Commission and makes changes to three broad categories – staffing, constituency office costs and technical adjustments necessary due to EU Exit.
The most noteworthy change is to ensure that MLAs’ staff who provide constituency and other services have terms and conditions of employment that are in line with those of Assembly staff.
The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Chair of the Assembly Commission, Alex Maskey, MLA, said, “This amended 2016 Determination will enable MLAs to carry out their legislative and constituency responsibilities in an appropriate, efficient and flexible way.
“The most significant change is to how MLAs’ staff are treated. Both the Assembly Commission and MLAs strongly believe that the staff MLAs employ should not be treated less favourably than Assembly staff, especially in light of the important role they play in providing services to constituents.
“I want also to make it very clear that the changes to the 2016 Determination in no way diminish the scrutiny and oversight that the Assembly Commission applies to all allowances that are available to MLAs to pay their staff and run their constituency offices. MLAs must continue to demonstrate that monies spent are in accordance with the rules regarding such payments. The Assembly Commission is rigorous in ensuring that MLAs comply with the rules before it reimburses expenditure incurred by MLAs. Expenditure by MLAs will continue to be published quarterly.”
Notes to Editors:
- The 2020 Determination and amended 2016 Determination can be found on the Assembly website.
- The statutory terms of office in relation to former Independent Financial Review Panel (IFRP) members ended on 1 July 2016. Recruitment for a subsequent panel was paused to allow the Assembly Commission to consider a range of options for reform of the IFRP. The legislation required to enable the Assembly to appoint a new panel remains in place, but the Assembly Commission does not intend to appoint new members until the remit of the body is formally altered.
The IFRP will continue to be responsible for determining MLAs’ pay and pension in an independent and rigorous manner. A Bill will be brought forward to the Assembly to rename the IFRP and alter its functions.
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