Tuesday, 1 August 2017

One in five MPs still employ a relative but why not?

One in five MPs continue to employ a family member despite the practice being banned for the most recent intake of members.
122 MPs out of 589 currently employ a relative, according to the latest Register of Members’ Financial Interests.
Of these, the vast majority employ their wife, husband or partner.
I may be in a minority here , but I do not entirley  object to this practice.
After all a Wife, Husband or Partner may be the first point of contact if a constituent or reporter seeks to contact their MP.  He or she is likely even if unpaid to carry out a lot of consistency work even if unpaid.
Also if they were to work at the House of Commons it means they can live together in London and not just see each other when the House is not sitting.
The practice of employing a relative was banned for MPs who were elected this year, but MPs with existing family members on their staff were allowed to keep them on — and allowed to keep them on indefinitely.
The new rules were introduced by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) earlier this year because, the watchdog said, the practice is out of step with modern employment practises; which obviously raises questions as to why some MPs are still allowed to do it.
As Left Foot Foward  points out 
The reason to ban the practice is obvious — it leaves the door open to nepotism — and the evidence supports this.A report by IPSA earlier this year showed that the pay of MPs’ family members is on average £5,600 higher than that of other staff and at the time of the last general election, the average salary of a ‘connected party’ was £31,350 a year.
The obvious answer is "Why not relegate   MP Staffing Pay ? Indeed I wonder how many partners of MPs are doing work and not getting paid for it?

The Practice has been abused of course where MPs have abused the system where MPs have employed  relatives who do no real work.

However despite finding there had been “no significant compliance concerns” since the introduction of the new rules,  Sleaze watchdog Ipsa decided that employing relatives was “out of step with modern employment practice, which requires fair and open recruitment and management of staff”. Ending the practice would “help to encourage greater diversity among MPs’ staff”, the watchdog said.
Citing guidelines from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Ipsa said: “We acknowledge the need for MPs to employ people they can trust, but do not consider that these can only be connected parties.”
“We are clear that this decision is not based on any identified abuse or mis-claiming. We agree with the MPs who have told us that connected parties regularly go ‘above and beyond’ in supporting MPs in their constituency.
“But we have nonetheless determined that, in order to encourage good practice in recruitment and employment by MPs, and to assure the public about the appropriate use of taxpayers’ money, we should restrict the practice in future.
“On balance, the need for good employment practice which is transparent and encourages diversity outweighs the benefits which some MPs find in being able to employ connected parties
Alas it properly does. But of course  will possibly swap relatives or partners so they can carry on working in the House of Commons and I wonder if MPs are now compelled to disclose their relationship  with their Staff and if as has happened in the Staff a MP leaves his wife for his secretary , should that person be dismissed?

Those MPs who abuse the system will get around it.

But why should decent Members of Parliament  and their partners pay the price for this?

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