An investigation may be conducted if the Compliance Officer has reason to believe that a claim under the MPs' Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses may have been wrongfully paid to an MP.
An investigation may be opened on the Compliance Officer's Own initiative; at the request of IPSA; at the request of the MP concerned or in response to a complaint by an individual.
The Compliance Officer can conduct investigations relating to expenses paid from 7th May 2010, which is when the new Expenses Scheme came into effect. Complaints relating to dates prior to 7th May 2010 should be referred to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. It should however be noted that the Compliance Officer will not initiate an assessment or conduct an investigation if more than 12 months have elapsed since the claim was published by IPSA, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
The Parliamentary Standards Act 2009 (as amended by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010) and the Procedures for Investigations by the Compliance Officer for IPSA set out the process the Compliance Officer should take when conducting an investigation and make provisions for powers to secure repayments and impose penalties.
On 11th October 2011, IPSA launched a public consultation on the Procedures for Investigations by the Compliance Officer for ISPA. The consultation gave members of the public, MPs, IPSA and the Compliance Officer the opportunity to offer their views on the procedures to be followed during the assessment of complaints and investigations. Following the conclusion of the consultation on 25th November 2011, the IPSA Board endorsed the implementation of the Second Edition of the Procedures for Investigations by the Compliance Officer. These came into effect on 1st February 2012.
Details of completed Investigations are published and can be found here.