Members' Office Costs Allowance are contained alphabetically by MLA name in the links below
OCA is paid to meet the expenses incurred by a Member in connection with carrying out his or her Assembly duties. OCA is not an automatic entitlement that is paid to a Member by virtue of membership of the Assembly. It can only be paid to a Member who has actually incurred allowable expenditure.
As its name suggests, it is generally used to allow a Member to provide a service to constituents through a constituency office. Items that can be claimed from OCA include office rent and rates, offices utilities (including heating and lighting and telephones), office equipment, office furniture and office consumables. OCA can also be used to allow a Member to engage the services of administrative support staff and to buy in research or secretarial services. OCA cannot be claimed without valid proof of the actual expenses that have been incurred.
For the detailed analysis of OCA expenditure it should be noted that where a Member’s name is given as the “Supplier” the payment was made as a reimbursement to the Member for admissible expenditure incurred.
Members are permitted to use OCA to purchase stationery for use in their constituency offices and where this stationery has been purchased from the central Assembly Stationery Office the supplier will be either “Banner Office Supplies” or the “NI Assembly”.
The amount of OCA available each year is a maximum amount which must not be exceeded. If at any point of time during the year a Member submits an invoice and there are insufficient funds available to process the invoice, the Member may choose to submit the necessary funds to the Assembly who will then facilitate payment on the Members behalf. Where a Member makes a contribution these amounts will show as negative amounts on the detailed report with the description given as “Contribution to ……”. Other contributions may be made by Members from time to time – e.g. towards the cost of producing constituency leaflets if they wish to include an article which does not relate directly to Assembly business.
The information held by the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission in relation to the expenditure paid to volunteers from the OCA is regarded as sensitive personal data on political opinion. The Data Protection Act 1998 requires the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission to process this information in accordance with the Data Protection Principles which are set out in Schedule 1 Part 1 of the Act. The first Data Protection Principle requires the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission to process this sensitive personal data fairly and lawfully and requires that at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 of the Act is met before it can publish the information. The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission does not consider that it has met any of the conditions in Schedule 3 which are necessary for publishing this sensitive personal data and is therefore not published.
Detailed analysis has not been provided for those former Members of the Legislative Assembly who are deceased.