IPSA daisy

Lord Lucas

Some schadenfreude watching the quarrels of IPSA (the new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) and MPs, tempered by the knowledge that IPSA wants to gets its teeth into us too.

Many quangos end up bloated and self satisfied, but two weeks after birth is something of a record.

IPSA does not need a full time chief executive, or fat salaries, or any communications people (questions should be directed straight at the parliamentarian concerned). The Lords, who have to make arrangements for the management of their own expenses soon, will I trust manage with something cheaper and less confrontational.

To my mind expenses claims should be detailed and public, and that – other than a clear set of rules and some competent checking – is all that’s needed: a vigilant pulic will make sure that they are well audited and publicised.

6 comments for “IPSA daisy

  1. 24/05/2010 at 7:45 pm

    Is expecting the public to keep an eye on the expenses part of that Big Society thing we keep hearing about?

    For the avoidance of doubt, I think publishing the details for the public (and journalists/activists etc) to peer at would be much more effective than IPSA – not to mention, being significantly cheaper.

  2. Lord Blagger
    24/05/2010 at 8:25 pm

    The more politicians squeal, the better the job the IPSA is doing.

    Since the Lords can’t regulated themselves, and have shown themselves incompetent in the process, its time that IPSA gets its teeth in.

    At least IPSA will be forced to publish the reports into the misgoing ons in the Lords. Unlike the Lords who get to make it a state secret. If I post the reasons why, it will be censored. It’s impossible to post what is going on without name the job of the person responsible, and your fellow lords don’t like that.

    At the end of the day, the more porking that goes on, the more likely you will all go. As another quango, the Lords has a limited life.

    So when you say

    To my mind expenses claims should be detailed and public, and that – other than a clear set of rules and some competent checking – is all that’s needed

    You are all supposed to be experts at oversight of government.

    Why haven’t you done the same with your own expenses?

    Lord Blagger

  3. Chris K
    24/05/2010 at 8:45 pm

    I absolutely agree Lord Lucas. All that was needed was a properly administered website with a list of each MP’s expenses and you’d find claims for dog food and horse manure would never have materialised in the first place.

    It actually appalls me that there is a bureaucracy which polices our elected politicians. But perhaps that is a true reflection of how the whole country is run.

    • Gareth Howell
      27/05/2010 at 2:08 pm

      “appalls me that there is a bureaucracy which polices our elected politicians.”

      The semantic exactitude of policing the policy makers, is surely not to be wondered at about politicians.

      The Houses of Parliament would cease to function without uniformed and plain clothes police on every corner. It amazes me how rapidly, and efficiently, plain clothes crawl out of the wood work, when there is the smallest problem.

      But not for Money?

      It is the same old story of Tax avoidance/evasion being fair play, but crimes of other sorts being unacceptable, and even then other crimes may be paid for in money rather than Time, by the wealthy and well heeled.

      I’m sure that random/surprise checks on members’ expense claims would be helpful.

      With new computer systems, the negative/positive taxation seems to reach an exactitude previously unheard of, for the general public, but why not for MPs & peers?

      A shop with cash income may be tested against a “Model” for all such similar shops, and taxed accordingly, regardless of their excessive statistical claims, but why not for MPs & peers?

      Storm in a tea cup.

  4. Croft
    25/05/2010 at 11:08 am

    I wrote here when they were talking about the new expenses regime that I feared it would be bureaucratic and expensive.

    I’d much rather MPs used an official credit card – massively reducing the admin – publish the statements online and all receipts and invoices to be placed online and the originals at a publically accessible location for examination.

    I wonder, considering how many lawyers there are in parliament, if some might try taking the ipsa rules to judicial review?

  5. BaronessMurphy
    26/05/2010 at 9:02 am

    I’m with you Lord Lucas, IPSA is very expensive window dressing for a relatively simple task. But as long as our Governance systems in the Lords are unfit for purpose I fear this is the only solution. Croft you may be right about using official credit cards for most travel but I’ve seen those abused in companies and driving expenses wouldn’t be covered. Most of our expenses are in overnight stays in our own or rented property and again that wouldn’t be covered by a credit card. I believe in thorough checking and surprise audits and a governance system which allows the clerks to ask seriously searching questions and refuse to go along with ‘creative interpretation’.

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