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26 May 2009


As part of its consideration of the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) report on MLAs’ salaries and allowances received in December 2008, the Assembly Commission has begun a review of the Members’ Financial Services Handbook. The Handbook provides guidance for MLAs in respect of Office Cost Allowance, travel and subsistence.

The review will seek to enhance the existing financial guidance for MLAs and will take account of recent recommendations in the SSRB report. The review will also consider matters recently referred to the Commission by the Standards and Privileges Committee as well as developments in best practice in other legislatures.

Speaking after Thursday’s Commission meeting, Assembly Speaker, William Hay, MLA, said: “The Commission has been considering the SSRB report in recent months. We want to ensure that the Assembly is open, transparent and demonstrates value for public money. Our goal is to have in place a model of best practice which is effective in supporting MLAs in their important work on behalf of the community and which commands public confidence.”

The Commission has decided to publish more detail about MLAs’ individual claims starting in this financial year. This will be implemented as soon as administrative and IT arrangements are in place.

Notes to Editors

1. Political parties will be invited to submit their views by the end of June 2009.

2. Following on-going consideration of the SSRB report by the Commission, an initial draft report on a revised Handbook will be considered by the Commission in September 2009 with a view to bringing recommendations on revised guidance, along with recommendations on salaries and allowances, for debate in the Assembly later in 2009.

3. The Commission also welcomed the ongoing work of the Standards and Privileges Committee in revising the Members’ Code of Conduct and will work to ensure that the revised Members’ Financial Services Handbook complements the revised Code.

4. The SSRB is a wholly independent body which provides advice on the salaries and allowances for senior staff in the public sector including the senior civil service, the judiciary and to legislatures including Westminster and the devolved institutions. The SSRB submitted a review of the salaries, allowances and pensions for Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to the Commission in December 2008.

5. The Members’ Financial Services Handbook provides guidance to Members on Office Cost Allowance, travel and subsistence.

For media enquires, please contact:

Susie Brown, Head of Communications - 9052 1161 or 07776 198226




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