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Package of recommendations on the employment conditions of Members’ staff published

20 July 2023

The Speaker’s Conference on the employment conditions of Members’ staff has today published its Final Report.

The report sets out the challenges faced by Members’ staff in their day-to-day working lives, and offers a range of practical solutions.

It notes that the issues and challenges identified would not adequately be addressed simply by a change in employer, and that the nature of the work of an MP – including the close working arrangements and personal loyalty between Members and their staff – means that Members should continue to be the employers of their staff.

A wide-ranging and comprehensive package of measures are set out to support Members in their role as employers and deliver meaningful and lasting change in the working lives of Members’ staff.

Speaker's comment

The Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, commenting on the publication of the report, said:

“Members’ staff play a uniquely valuable role in supporting their Member of Parliament, both in serving their constituents and in delivering Parliamentary democracy in the UK.

“This report sets out a comprehensive package of practical measures which offers substantial, meaningful, and deliverable change for Members’ staff. The recommendations will put in place a framework for the provision of access to health and wellbeing services, professional HR support and respect for Members’ staff as valued members of the Parliamentary community - all of which are long overdue.

“I urge everyone to study and consider the report closely to allow for a considered and well-informed debate on its findings in the Autumn.

The recommendations are grouped within three themes:

Community, Culture and Behaviour

Parliament's collective failure to champion the important work undertaken by Members' staff, both in Westminster and in constituencies across the UK, is both demoralising for Members’ staff and has a debilitating impact on their practical ability to do their job.

The report makes a series of recommendations to the House Administration, Members themselves and to IPSA to address this, including, for example, that staff have access to health and well-being services on the same basis as House staff.

HR Support for Members and their Staff

While the majority of Members are good employers, best practice is not consistently applied across Members’ offices. The report supports the fundamental principle that Members' staff should have access to guidance provided by HR qualified professionals.

The Speaker’s Conference recommends that the Members’ Services Team be expanded to increase its support to Members, but more significantly to employ qualified HR professionals to provide support and guidance to Members’ staff. The Members’ Services Team should be re-named the Members’ and Members’ Staff Services Team. It is also recommended that a new resolution service is created, to provide a mechanism for staff to resolve workplace disputes with their employer.

IPSA Regulation and Reform

IPSA plays a significant role in and around the employment of Members’ staff - providing the template contracts, salary banding and the overall staffing budgets. IPSA's scheme and how it is administered has direct consequences for the day to day working lives of Members and their staff.

IPSA is therefore asked to address anomalies in the employment arrangements for Members’ staff - specifically to replicate the benefits of continuity of service arrangements so that staff can access a range of benefits.  It is also recommended that IPSA make changes to the way in which Members’ staff salaries are reported – recognising their value as professionals, rather than describing them as a cost or expense.

Further information

Inquiry: Parliament copyright