Direct suppliers

Overview

Learn the rules on claiming the costs of running MPs’ constituency offices and surgeries, as well as activities including providing stationery to support parliamentary duties.

Scheme rules

MPs are entitled to exercise reasonable discretion over claims for items that meet the purposes of the office costs budget, provided that the claims adhere to the fundamental principles and general conditions of the Scheme. [6.4]

They must also observe the conditions set out in Office costs you can claim.

A start-up supplement will be added to the office costs budget of newly elected MPs. It is designed to help new MPs meet the costs of setting up their constituency offices. [6.11]

The start-up supplement is available to new MPs for the duration of the financial year in which they were elected.

If a new MP is elected in the three months before the end of the relevant financial year, IPSA may exercise discretion in rolling forward all or part of the start-up supplement into the office costs budget for the following financial year. [6.12]

MPs can claim for the costs of more than one office provided that they stay within budget.

If you can demonstrate exceptional circumstances, you may be eligible for contingency funding to allow for the operation of more than one office. [6.3]

MPs and their staff may claim for the costs of a home office – if that is where they routinely work from.

IPSA will only pay claims for costs that are additional to those which are part of the normal cost of living in the home.

Staff members cannot claim for costs relating to a home office during the same period in which they are in receipt of the homeworking allowance. [6.6]

To be funded by IPSA, a constituency office must be located in the constituency, unless it is a home office.

A home office can be claimed for even if it is more than 20 miles from the constituency boundary. [6.7]

Rent cannot be claimed for a home office. The location will also be treated as the MP’s home rather than an office for the consideration of any travel claims. [6.8]

This is covered by Requesting additional budget.

For more information on using IPSA Online, visit Applying for contingency funding.

Removal costs for moving to new office premises may be claimed from the contingency budget. No pre-approval is required.

Other costs associated with moving, including any legal costs, must be claimed from the office costs budget. [6.9]

MPs may claim under office costs for "routine security measures", which are those not falling within the recommended or further measures funded from the security assistance budget [6.10]

For more information, visit Security measures & assistance.

When submitting claims for telephone calls, MPs should only claim for that proportion of the costs which has been incurred for parliamentary purposes. [6.34]

MPs may claim for pooled staffing services from either the office costs or staffing budget. [6.35]

Visit Staffing costs and Staffing costs you can claim for more information.

IPSA will not pay claims for any of the following:

  • alcoholic drinks

  • stationery provided by the House of Commons

  • newsletters

  • funding of any material, other than websites, that contains a party-political logo or emblem, or

  • personal accountancy or tax advice [6.5]

For journeys made by rail, reimbursement will be limited to the rate of an "anytime standard open" ticket for the journey prevalent at the time of the claim. [9.15]

MPs travelling on sleeper train services are additionally entitled to claim for a sleeper supplement for a single occupancy berth. [9.16]

For more information on making a claim using IPSA Online, visit Getting reimbursed for travel.

Guidance

IPSA sets up accounts for you with a number of direct suppliers using the MPs’ parliamentary email account.

You can order from the suppliers and we will pay directly. These costs will be published every two months and will come from your annual budget.

The suppliers are:

  • Commercial: office supplies, office furniture and electronics

  • Trainline: UK train travel

  • XMA: printer cartridges

You can access the accounts using the links above and can reset the passwords online if necessary. You can also purchase goods and services from other suppliers using either the Payment Card or by claiming the costs back as a reimbursement claim.

MPs are able to purchase stationery (from public funds) via two mechanisms:

  • IPSA Office Costs Budget – all general stationery items that allow MPs to fulfil their parliamentary and constituency duties.

  • House stationery budget – there is a separate, bespoke catalogue that allows MPs to purchase items specific to Parliament. These include envelopes and paper embossed with the portcullis emblem and business cards with MPs’ details. Costs are limited to an annual budget of £11,000 and must conform to House rules. (Note: The cost of overprinting an MP’s name and details onto House-funded stationery is not covered and would need to be paid for through the IPSA office costs budget.)

Visit the House of Commons guidance to find out more about the rules on stationery.

Members can also visit the Parliament intranet page to find the full bespoke catalogue.

If you have queries about House of Commons stationery, please contact the Members’ Accommodation Manager.

The Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses allows MPs to claim payments for pooled services.

A “pooled service” provides research, briefing and drafting services to a group of MPs.

Unlike other bought-in services, IPSA allows for direct payments to be made to pooled services where an agreement is in place. This means pooled services can be paid by IPSA either through claims made by MPs for the reimbursement of services or directly as part of a subscription arrangement with IPSA.

We have outlined how to ensure research, briefing and drafting services meet the Scheme’s requirements for funding and avoid content that is party political in nature or otherwise contrary to the Scheme rules.

The guidance also sets out requirements on pooled services relating to administration and reporting to IPSA, and the process for setting up new pooled services.

Read IPSA's guidance on pooled research briefing and drafting services.

All pooled services registered for direct payments need to sign this written agreement between IPSA and pooled staffing services.

This template spreadsheet can be used by pooled service staff to report financial information to IPSA.

Those looking to set up a new pooled service should contact info@theipsa.org.uk in the first instance and will have to complete a direct payments pooled services request.

Contact IPSA

To get additional support, contact us.