Latest update: 18 January 2016
Holders of photo-identity passes as Members’ secretaries or research assistants are required to complete a Registration Form on which they are asked to list certain financial interests they may have. Anyone who is required to complete the form is automatically sent one by the Pass Office or else by the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
For those staff who are required to register their interests, detailed, specific information is below but a useful rule of thumb when considering whether to make an entry is to:
- ask yourself whether the remuneration you receive could be perceived as having an influence your behaviour/conduct as a privileged Commons passholder;
- if in doubt err on the side of caution and seek advice from the Assistant Registrar (number below).
You can learn more at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmsecret/memi01.htm. but here’s the key information:
In accordance with Resolutions made by the House of Commons on 17 December 1985 and 28 June 1993, holders of photo-identity passes as Members’ secretaries or research assistants are in essence required to register:
- Any occupation or employment for which they receive over £370 (from January 2016) from the same source in the course of a calendar year, if that occupation or employment is in any way advantaged by the privileged access to Parliament afforded by their pass
- Any gift (eg: jewellery) or benefit (eg: hospitality, services or facilities) they receive in the course of a calendar year, if the value of the gift or benefit exceeds £370 and if it in any way relates to or arises from their work in Parliament.
The figure of £370 represents 0.5% of an MP’s salary and will therefore rise slightly whenever MPs’ salaries increase.
2. Obligations for Special Advisors
Since the overhaul of the Parliamentary Pass colour-coding most Special Advisors are issued with the wonderfully metrosexual pink passes that identify the holder as a civil servant. However, there are some instances where Special Advisors also have duties in the Parliamentary office of their Cabinet Minister and hold a secretary/research assistant pass. In these circumstances you must register the name of the Department that you work for and your job title in that department eg ‘Special Adviser, Cabinet Office’.
3. Councillors’ expenses and obligations for party workers
If you are an elected Councillor and receive either an allowance or expenses for your work, then these must be declared on the Register under “occupations”. (eg ‘Councillor, London Borough of Lambeth’). Similarly, if you receive remuneration from a political party, then you must declare this on the Register under the same heading.
If you are in receipt of a non-educational bursary that exceeds the £370 limit per calendar year, this must be declared on the Register.
Be sensible. Whilst a whopping bursary from a large brewery company should obviously be declared, nobody is seriously going to think that your part-time bar work on Saturdays is going to be in danger of tempting you to exert a pernicious influence on your employer or the democratic process. If in doubt, however, call the Parliamentary Commissioner’s Office to ask for advice (number below).
6. Cumulative payments
Multiple payments received from the same source are registrable if cumulatively their value exceeds £370 in the course of a calendar year, even if individually one or more payment is worth less than £370.
7. Current Register
You can check your current register entry by viewing the Register of Interests of Members’ Secretaries and Research Assistants, which is published on Parliament’s website.
For more information, contact the Assistant Registrar in the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards: 020 7219 0401.
DR March2011/June 2010
SS July 2008