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(Recommendation 45).

The Parliamentary Standards Bill which the Government presented to Parliament contained provisions allowing the IPSA to recommend sanctions. They were removed during the Bill's passage.

As it now appears that allowing sanctions to be imposed directly by the regulator is acceptable, the Government will introduce amendments to the 2009 Act to give the compliance officer the power to impose sanctions, namely a civil penalty, as well as requiring restitution of wrongly paid allowances. Repayments, monetary penalties and costs will also be made recoverable as a civil debt. In addition, the Government will provide a route of appeal from the decisions of the compliance officer to the first-tier tribunal. Since allowances claims are not covered by privilege, there should not be any difficulty in this regard.

Cases could still be referred to the Committee on Standards and Privileges if it is felt that parliamentary sanctions are also needed or to the prosecuting authorities if the offence of making false declarations may have been committed.

Lay members of the Speaker's Committee

The Committee recommends that

(Recommendation 48).

The Government propose to bring forward legislation to provide for the appointment of lay members of the Speaker's Committee.

General duty to act openly and transparently

The Committee recommends that the independent regulator should be placed under a general duty to act openly and transparently, to give reasons for any revisions to the expenses scheme, and to report, and take account of, the views of the general public as well as the House of Commons (Recommendation 49).

Section 5(4) of the Parliamentary Standards Act requires the IPSA to consult a number of people and bodies in preparing an allowances scheme, including "any person the IPSA considers appropriate".

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 already applies to the IPSA, including a duty to issue a publication scheme.

The Government are however content to bring forward amendments to the 2009 Act to add an additional requirement that the IPSA must give reasons for its revisions to the allowances scheme, to give reasons for adopting a determination in respect of MPs' pay, and to consult the general public. (See also response to recommendations 41 and 60.)

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Sunset provisions

The Committee recommends that

(Recommendation 53).

The sunset provisions, set out in section 15 of the Act, were inserted in the House of Lords. They deal with the code of conduct on financial interests and the position of the independent commissioner for investigations. As both the role of the IPSA in relation to the code and the commissioner are to be repealed, the sunset clause has no further purpose and therefore can be similarly repealed.

Publication of claims

The Committee recommends that

(Recommendation 60).

As part of the proposed amendments to the 2009 Act to give effect to recommendations 41 and 49, which require the IPSA to act transparently, the Government will bring forward legislation to place on the IPSA the duty to publish claims made and allowances paid, with such details as it considers appropriate. The 2009 Act already requires IPSA to determine procedures for the circumstances in which findings of investigations should be published. (See also response to recommendations 41 and 49.)

There are three further recommendations which would require legislation to achieve, but on which it has been accepted that immediate legislation is not necessary.

Publication of electoral candidates' financial interests

The Committee recommends that

(Recommendation 37).

The Ministry of Justice is working on the guidance. The Ministry of Justice will discuss the approach with the Electoral Commission and others as appropriate before guidance is issued, in time for the next general election. A decision about whether to implement this on a statutory basis will, as the Committee suggests, be taken in the next Parliament.

Hon. Members who are members of devolved legislatures

The Committee recommends that the practice of permitting a Westminster MP simultaneously to sit in a devolved legislature should be brought to an end, ideally by the time of the elections to the three devolved legislatures for May 2011 (Recommendation 40)

This is not strictly an issue about MPs' allowances. The Committee recommends that this provision should be in place by May 2011 and the Government will consult interested parties before implementing it in the next Parliament.

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Term of office of IPSA Chair

The CSPL recommends that

"the chair of the new regulatory body should be appointed for a single, non-renewable five year term. The other members of the new body should in principle be appointed on the same basis, but some flexibility may need to be shown in relation to those appointed in the first round"

(Recommendation 47).

Paragraph 4(1) of schedule 1 to the 2009 Act provides for the chair of the IPSA to be appointed "for a fixed term not exceeding five years". Paragraph 4(3) provides that "a person who has held office as a member of the IPSA (whether as the chair or an ordinary member) may be re-appointed as a member once only, for a further period (whether consecutive or not) not exceeding three years".

The CSPL acknowledges the need for flexibility in relation to the first round of appointments. The Government accept the principle of the recommendation, but believes that amendments to the legislation are not required now. They could be made at a later date if still required.


Autumn Performance Report 2009

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mr. Sadiq Khan): My right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis, has made the following ministerial statement:

Consultation on HGV Testing Exemptions

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Paul Clark): The Department for Transport has today issued a consultation document on our proposals to remove or modify some of the exemptions from the statutory annual roadworthiness testing scheme which currently apply to certain categories of heavy goods vehicles.

I have placed copies of the document in the House Library.

Local Transport Act 2008:Quality Contracts Schemes

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mr. Sadiq Khan): The Local Transport Act 2008 includes provisions designed to make bus quality contracts schemes-the London-style model of bus contracts-a more realistic option for local transport authorities throughout England and Wales. The Government are today announcing that these provisions will come into force, in England, on 11 January 2010.

Supporting regulations will be laid before Parliament within the next few days and statutory guidance, applying in England from 11 January 2010, is being issued today. The Government are also today beginning the process of recruiting members of a panel of persons from
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which members of QCS boards will be appointed. QCS boards are independent boards with a remit to provide an opinion on whether proposed quality contracts schemes in England meet the statutory public interest criteria, and on whether due process has been followed.

Copies of the statutory guidance, the Government's response to the consultation and the recruitment pack for QCS board panel members are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses and will also be available on the Department for Transport's website.

Airport Economic Regulation

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Paul Clark): My right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis, has made the following ministerial statement:

Work and Pensions

Equality 2025

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Jonathan Shaw): In line with good practice on non-departmental public bodies, the Office for Disability Issues commissioned an internal review of 'Equality 2025: the UK Advisory Network on Disability Equality' in June 2009. The review recognised that Equality 2025's remit of offering Government advice and expertise on disability equality issues remains valid and recommended it should continue unchanged. The review also recommended developing Equality 2025's strategic role as an 'expert group' and streamlining its size. I have broadly accepted these recommendations and officials are now working towards their implementation. The full list of review recommendations is available on the Office for Disability Issues' website at: www.

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I am pleased to announce that the Office for Disability Issues intends to publish the report of the review of Equality 2025 in the first half of 2010. The document
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will be available on the Office for Disability Issues' website and will also be placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

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