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Inquiry to look at how the Assembly Commission forecasts its budget for Remuneration Board determinations

08/12/2017

​Assembly Members' expenses and allowances are set by the independent Remuneration Board which makes 'determinations' for salaries, staff, office and administration allowances, and AM travel, accommodation and subsistence claims.

A new inquiry will look at how the Assembly Commission forecasts the budget needed to meet those determinations and how any underspends are then allocated.

The Finance Committee is following up a commitment it made in a report on the Assembly Commission's budget for the next financial year. The report contained concerns that money left over from paying AM expenses and allowances was being used in other areas of the Commission's budget.

The Committee wants to see more transparency in the use of this money and will compare it with similar arrangements in other parliaments.

"We have warned the Assembly Commission that we cannot be immune to the austerity that is affecting other public sector organisations, including our hospitals and schools," said Simon Thomas AM, Chair of the Finance Committee.

"So it is critical the Commission is able to demonstrate value for money in every penny it spends, and that it should not rely on an underspend in AM expenses and allowances as a buffer zone to manage its own finances.

"This short inquiry will look at how the Commission forecasts the budgets for the year ahead, and how that compares with similar models in other UK parliaments and the wider world.

"We will also look at what does and should happen to any money left over, and whether the way the Commission provides information on the use of any underspend is clear and transparent."

Anyone wishing to contribute should visit the Finance Committee's web pages for more information.

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