Sunday, 18 July 2010

MPs' expenses - ICO response to Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA)

The UK privacy regulator, the ICO, have published The Information Commissioner’s response to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) consultation paper on their publication proposals, responding to IPSA's June 2010 Consultation on IPSA’s Publication Proposals which consulted on their proposed publication scheme under the Freedom of Information Act, including proposals as to what info will be published on MPs' expenses etc as well as procedural matters, trying to strike a balance between privacy / data protection and openness.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is a new independent statutory body established by the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009 to devise and administer an expenses regime for MPs and to administer MPs’ salaries and pension contributions. IPSA produced new rules on expenses, removing allowances and establishing clear, transparent guidelines on what MPs can and cannot claim for. "Following the 2010 general election, IPSA has sole responsibility for processing, validating and paying or rejecting MPs’ claims for expenses. In the interests of transparency, IPSA will publish on its website every claim made by every MP."

The ICO broadly agrees with the proposed scheme (they had input into it) but stressed the need for guidance to be produced to assist MPs in ensuring that their staff and third parties who might be affected are adequately informed about how they may be affected by the publication of expense details.

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