Ipsa chief admits expenses failings

By politics.co.uk staff

The head of the expenses watchdog attacked by MPs for introducing an unworkable new allowances regime has conceded the new rules have caused “bumps in the road”.

Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), sought to reach out to MPs as he admitted partial responsibility for teething problems.

Writing in an article for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Sir Ian emphasised that Ipsa had had to work at “great pace” as it implemented the new expenses system.

He quoted the Office of Government Commerce report stating that Ipsa had “delivered the impossible” before addressing the many criticisms by MPs.

“It was always going to be the case that there would be some bumps in the road,” Sir Ian wrote.

“And, if I’m being frank, some of the problems and anomalies are down to Ipsa and the new rules.

“We have not hidden from this – from day one we identified this as a real risk when introducing a new system. And we have been clear: where concerns arise we will deal with them.

“That is what we have done. It’s what we’ll continue to do.”

Sir Ian warned that MPs needed to “restore faith in parliament” by preventing their expenses being an issue.

He said once the expenses controversy had died down Ipsa would turn to the wider issue of how much taxpayers’ money a “21st century legislator” needs “to do the job properly”.

“But, for now at least,” he concluded, “we’ll focus on delivering one impossible at a time”.