Staffing

Overview

As an MP you will be recruiting staff to build your team.

For many, this could be the first recruitment exercise you have undertaken.

You have lots of support and useful tools to make this as straightforward as possible.

You can access all information and guidance on payroll processes and staffing by visiting Payroll & personnel.

Guidance

As well as providing funding to pay your staff, we are committed to supporting MPs to be great employers.

We help you provide a range of benefits for your staff, support their health and wellbeing, and train and develop them.

There is a lot to consider about staffing – from how many people you will employ, to their working locations, contract types, salary and other factors.

IPSA provide a range of tools to support you and keep things as simple as possible.

Full detailed step-by-step guidance is available on our website, and your Payroll Officer will happily support you through the processes.

For more information, visit Payroll & personnel.

MPs are employers. This comes with responsibilities beyond recruiting a staff team.

Members’ HR Service at Parliament can support you with your duties as an employer.

They can be contacted by email at membershr@parliament.uk or by calling 020 7219 2080.

Before recruiting staff, you should carefully read the Members of Parliament best practice guide – recruitment and selection.

The Guide provides advice on:

  • identifying role requirements and how they support the function of your office

  • putting adverts together

  • exploring various advertising channels

  • making job offers

  • completing security and vetting checks

We provide you with a Staffing budget calculated to allow you to employ five full-time staff.

This will vary across different offices depending on the salary MPs pay their team members.

Different constituencies have varying demands that may necessitate larger teams or enable you to perform your role with a smaller team.

The Scheme and our guidance explain all the costs that can be funded from the Staffing budget.

In general, staffing costs include:

  • staff salaries (including pension and tax contributions)

  • reward and recognition payments

  • overtime

  • training

  • health and wellbeing

  • payments for “bought-in” services (including, for example, consultancy costs)

There are some costs we will fund separately to help you run your office smoothly, such as extended absence and reasonable adjustments for staff who require them.

Our website includes some useful tools.

The tools and reference materials available to you include:

There is a lot of information to digest when becoming an employer, particularly if this is new terrain.

But we are here to support you, both during your induction and throughout your tenure.

Your Payroll Officer is available to help, and we provide guidance across a range of topics on our website.

For more information, visit Payroll & personnel.

To watch our recorded webinars or book a staffing induction session, visit Training & development.

You must follow these steps when you add a new staff member to your payroll.

  1. Check if you have enough money in your budget by visiting Summary of 2024-25 budgets.

  2. Decide if you want to recruit someone on a permanent, fixed-term or casual basis.

  3. Select a job description for the role you wish to recruit, and check the salary range.

  4. Advertise the vacancy and conduct appropriate assessments to ensure you have the best candidate for the role. (The Members’ HR Advice Service in the House of Commons can provide advice at this stage – their number is 020 7219 2080).

  5. Complete the security vetting forms and return them to the Pass Office. Anyone working for you should be security cleared in advance. This is for your protection and the protection of others. Until a Member (as sponsor) has been informed that security clearance has been granted for their staff member, no firm offer of employment should be made, nor must they allow that person to work on the Estate or access the Parliamentary Network.

  6. Once security clearance in accordance with House requirements is confirmed, create and print out a Contract and Key Terms for the successful candidate ensuring the job title is the same as the one in the job description. It is important to note that standard terms within contracts for MPs’ employees cannot be amended or deleted.

  7. As the employer, ensure the candidate has the right to work in the UK using the Employer's right-to-work checklist.

  8. IPSA Payroll requires the following documentation:

    • Employment contract (signed by the MP and new starter).

    • Key terms (signed by the MP and new starter) (not available for casual workers).

    • Job description (signed by the MP and new starter).

    • Ask your new starter to complete and sign a New Starter Form and provide a P45 or HMRC Starter Checklist as appropriate.

  9. Send this documentation by email to IPSA Payroll (payroll@theipsa.org.uk):

For new staff on permanent and fixed-term contracts, we need to receive this documentation by the 15th of the month to ensure the employee is paid at the end of the month.

For new staff who are on casual contracts, we must receive the new starter documentation by the 7th of the month.

This is to allow enough time to submit timesheets for that first month.

Timesheets must be submitted by the 15th of the month.

Casual hours are paid a month in arrears (for example, hours worked in January are paid in February).

What is a proxy?

MPs can delegate some IPSA-related responsibilities to one or two trusted staff members, known as Proxies.

We know from experience that Proxy arrangements work well, and we strongly recommend nominating a Proxy.

Frequently an MP's Proxy is the Office Manager, but who performs this role is for the MP to decide.

You will be placing a lot of trust in the Proxy to act on your behalf, and you need to consider whether the person you nominate has the right skills for the role.

You must not disclose your personal IPSA online system credentials to anyone, including your Proxy.

We will support and train your Proxy. They can attend our induction modules and your Account Manager will work to build a relationship with them.

Proxy options

You have options depending on the responsibilities you wish to delegate, and the level of permissions you provide.

Responsibilities – you can nominate one staff member as your proxy who can complete the following on your behalf:

  • business costs tasks

  • payroll matters (for example, they can submit claims for other team members and overtime forms)

Or you can have one proxy for business costs and another for payroll.

Permissions – you have the option to provide “full” permissions or “limited” permissions.

Full permission allows a Proxy to send claims and payroll forms submitted by other staff members to IPSA without your approval.

Limited permission allows Proxies to prepare and create claims or payroll forms, but they will require your review and approval.

For more information, including step-by-step instructions on setting up a Proxy, visit Proxy permissions.

Contact IPSA

To get additional support, contact us.