Lords expenses open to abuse and error due to flaws - internal report

Mail Online | 10/8/2018 | James Tapsfield, Political Editor, For Mailonline
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House of Lords expenses have been left open to abuse and error due to flaws in systems, an internal report has revealed.

Members of the Upper House are paid just over £300 tax-free for every sitting day they attend.

Report - MailOnline - Freedom - Information - Rules

But a report obtained by MailOnline under freedom of information rules warned there was 'no practical way' of knowing whether the official attendance record was accurate.

It said House clerks were being left with the 'challenging' task of visually identifying which of the 800 peers were in the chamber.

Result - Inaccuracies - Record - System - Allowances

As a result there were ‘unquantifiable’ inaccuracies in the record, which ‘underpins’ the system of allowances in the Lords.

Peers are also able to 'self-certify' that they have attended sittings once a year, even if there is no evidence that they did.

Lords - Authorities - Evidence - Inaccuracies - Record

The Lords authorities insisted there was no evidence of 'significant or regular' inaccuracies in the record, and members still needed to sign to say they had been present at Parliament.

But the damning findings will raise fresh questions about the processes in the upper chamber.

Claims - Peers - Spending - Minutes - Site

There have been repeated claims that peers are ‘clocking in’ by spending just a few minutes on site in order to receive their allowances.

Former Tory Lord Hanningfield was suspended in 2014 after a standards probe found he had claimed more than £3,000 despite doing little or no parliamentary work.

Peers - Authorities - Incidents - Record - Occasions

Peers had alerted the authorities to incidents where the record was wrong on 28 occasions over a six-month period.

The report said 18 of those were ‘false negatives’ - where members attended but were not on the register.

Remainder - Positives - Peers - Authorities - Parliament

The remainder were ‘false positives’, where peers had notified the authorities that they were wrongly listed as being at Parliament.

However, the auditors warned that these figures only represented the errors flagged up by peers - and the true level of the problems was ‘unquantifiable’.

Process - Attendance

‘The process of registering attendance within...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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