Parliamentary watchdog faces £3m compensation claim

Parliamentary watchdog faces £3m compensation claim after blundering officials post salary details of 3,000 staff online

  • The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority had a data breach in 2017
  •  3,000 people affected by original data blunder, compensation of £1000 each
  •  Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb said this ‘cock up’ has cost staff a proper pay rise

Expenses watchdogs at Westminster could face a £3 million compensation bill to MPs’ staff after blundering by posting their names and salary details online.

Sources say the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will be liable for this amount if every staff member puts in a claim.

The row centres on a ‘data breach’ in 2017 when the expenses authority published details of MPs’ employees’ names and salaries by mistake.

The scene in the House of Commons shortly after the announcement by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority that MPs’ basic pay is to increase by 2.7% from April 1


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The Mail on Sunday has learnt that two years on, IPSA has paid seven staff about £1,000 each for the distress caused. But with more than 3,000 people affected by the original data blunder, the final bill could run to £3 million.

The row is particularly embarrassing for IPSA as it is embroiled in a controversy over denying MPs’ staff the same pay rise as the politicians themselves. 

MPs were last week awarded a rise of 2.7 per cent – taking their basic salary from £77,379 to £79,468 – but their budgets for staff pay will increase by only 1.5 per cent. The decision has prompted fury from the MPs’ employees.

IPSA sources suggest MPs could afford to give their staff bigger rises as most don’t spend their full staffing budget.

They also played down fears of an overall £3 million bill for the data breach, suggesting they would fight further compensation bids on the grounds of distress if staff were only now submitting claims.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb said: ‘If IPSA had avoided this cock-up they could have afforded to give staff a proper pay rise.’

 

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