Managing expenses isn’t a task likely to make you the most popular person in an organisation. It’s a challenging job which is always liable to provoke a fair share of employee grumbles and groans.
But a spare a thought for those finance professionals at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the organisation in charge of managing the expenses of UK MPs.
Because a Freedom of Information request has recently revealed the views of the politicians whose expenses they have to manage - and they’re really not very happy.
In the anonymous survey, the politicians vented their feelings of anger and hostility towards the IPSA organisation which they accuse of having created a ‘Kafkaesque nightmare’.
The comments include calls for the watchdog to be scrapped completely as well as a description of the IPSA chair, Sir Ian Kennedy, as a ‘discredited bully’.
It’s the latest in a long running battle between hostile MPs and an organisation which was set-up in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal to get expenses back under control.
Tighter controls needed by expenses watchdog
The independent body has completely revamped the discredited expenses system with the introduction of much tougher checks and balances on MP spending, as well as much greater transparency.
But many politicians have accused them of becoming a bullying and bureaucratic organisation, with a number of MPs claiming to have been reduced to tears by the IPSA treatment they have received.
One MP stated:
“You are rubbish at acting on behalf of the Members of Parliament - you serve yourselves and are so far from 'helping us do our job' the complete opposite. Everyone feels the same - new and older MPs’.
Another respondent called for the entire expenses system to be scrapped and replaced by a yearly allowance to cover all additional costs. They described the benefit of this as:
“No more forms, just £10-12k per month to go and do the job we want to do, freed up from your Kafkaesque nightmare of a system”.
Despite the anger directed at IPSA from MPs the body has also received media criticism for having recently awarded politicians a 10 percent salary increase - taking their basic pay from £67,060 to £74,000.
IPSA say they are taking on board the comments raised anonymously in the survey and are currently working on a new website to simplify the way expenses can be claimed by MPs.
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