There are two organisations which deal with complaints about Members of Parliament:
- Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
- Compliance Officer for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
- The registration and declaration of financial interests ;
- The use of parliamentary facilities, advocacy or lobbying where the MP has a financial interest.
The Commissioner will not investigate complaints about:
- policy matters;
- an MP’s views or opinions;
- an MP’s handling of or decision about constituency cases and correspondence at any stage; (A local MP will generally do as much as they can to help a constituent, but (s)he is not obliged to take up every matter that is brought to their attention);
- the conduct of an MP’s wider public life, unless the MP’s conduct has caused serious damage to the reputation of the House of Commons as a whole or of MPs more generally.
Further information can be found in the advice leaflet from the PCS.
The post of Compliance Officer for IPSA was established by the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009, as amended by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.
The Compliance Officer’s remit is defined in statute and is to:
- conduct an investigation if he has reason to believe that an MP may have been paid an amount under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (the Scheme) that should not have been allowed; and
- at the request of an MP, review a determination by IPSA to refuse reimbursement for an expense claim, in whole or in part.
As the Compliance Officer’s role is confined to matters pertaining to the Scheme, he has no power to investigate complaints that pre-date the creation of IPSA in May 2010. Complaints regarding expense claims prior to May 2010 are usually handled by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.