Making a complaint

We may conduct an investigation if we have reason to believe an MP may have received from IPSA an amount that should not have been allowed under the MPs' Scheme of MPs' Staffing and Business Costs (“the Scheme”).

Making a complaint large

We are not responsible for criminal allegations relating to an MP, nor can we investigate whether or not an MP has broken the MPs' Code of Conduct, which is administered by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. We may open an investigation following receipt of a complaint from a member of the public about a payment to an MP that is suspected or alleged to be outside the rules of the Scheme, or if we receive a request from IPSA or an MP to investigate a payment.

We may also conduct an investigation on our own initiative, providing we have reason to believe an MP may have received a payment that should not have been allowed.

We may also reject complaints if we consider them unfair or disproportionate to investigate.

Reasons for this decision may include:

  • the complaint is trivial or vexatious

  • the complaint does not relate to a claim for payment under the Scheme

  • the complaint repeats allegations that have already been the subject of an investigation

  • the complaint is anonymous and there is no other good reason to investigate

In most cases, we will be able to resolve matters prior to the opening of an investigation, to the satisfaction of all parties, without the need to resort to the more formal process.

IPSA publishes details of all claims made by MPs for their staffing and business costs.

On IPSA's website, you can view these claims by using the interactive map, or by searching an MP by name.

If you wish to make a complaint about an amount an MP may have received from IPSA that you believe should not have been allowed under the Scheme, you can:

  • submit your request by post to Compliance Officer for IPSA, 2nd Floor 85 Strand, London WC2R 0DW

  • or by email to

Please include the following information:

  • your contact details

  • the name(s) of the MP(s) in question

  • the claim details and/or nature of the complaint

  • any documentary evidence you may have

We will acknowledge any complaint within two working days.

COVID-19 and requests

In line with government advice, our office is currently closed and staff are working from home.

We are keen to ensure that we can continue to support you as much as possible during this period of remote working with minimal impact on our service.

We strongly advise you not to send information requests to us by post as we have very limited and irregular access to our London office. There are likely to be significant delays between mail being delivered to the office and us collecting it for processing.

We will continue to receive and process any requests sent by email.

Before we start an investigation, we consider the validity of a complaint, and specifically whether it is our statutory remit.

Our powers to investigate are limited to the provisions given in the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009 (as amended by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010).

If a complaint is outside our remit, we will provide an explanation and, wherever possible, we will help direct the complaint to the appropriate body.

If the complaint is within our remit, we will consider whether there are sufficient grounds to open an investigation.

We may decide there is sufficient reason to believe a claim may have been wrongfully paid to an MP. If so we may open an investigation. But, if we find insufficient grounds, the complaint is closed down. We may decide not to open an investigation – even if there are grounds to do so – if we judge that conducting an investigation would be a disproportionate course of action.

This does not in any way imply that the matter is disregarded, merely that it is progressed using less formal and more proportionate means.

Once a decision has been made the MP, IPSA and the complainant (if applicable) are informed of our decision.

If we decide to open an investigation, the MP, IPSA and the complainant (if applicable) will be notified.

When this happens, we will publish the name of the MP under investigation, along with brief details of the matter.

During the investigation, we may require the MP and IPSA to provide any information they hold.

We may also request information from any source deemed appropriate.

The MP and IPSA will have the opportunity to make formal representations in writing.

We also give the MP the opportunity to be heard in person and to request another person attends the meeting to represent them or to be asked about the matter in question.

We may issue a Closure Report to the complainant (if any), the MP concerned and IPSA stating the investigation is closed.

If the Compliance Officer considers it appropriate we will include details of any agreement by the MP concerned to repay any amount to IPSA and whether or not any amount has been paid.

At the conclusion of the investigation, we publish a Statement of Provisional Findings.

This includes:

  • further details on the scope of the investigation

  • evidence obtained

  • representations made, and

  • provisional conclusions and recommendations

The MP and IPSA are both then offered the opportunity to make further representations.

If we then receive further representations from the MP and/or IPSA, we will prepare a Statement of Findings.

As with the Statement of Provisional Findings, this will outline whether we believe a claim has been wrongfully paid to an MP.

It may also include details of any failures by the MP to provide information or documentation required in the process of the investigation, and any findings on IPSA's role, specifically, whether any faults may have led to a claim being wrongfully paid to an MP.

We will then send the Statement of Findings to the MP, IPSA and the complainant (if applicable) and notify them that the investigation has been concluded and that details of the investigation will be published.

If we make a repayment direction or impose a penalty on an MP, they have the right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal.

An appeal must be brought within 28 days of the date when the Statement of Findings was sent to the MP.

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