During a campaign period, you may continue to use IPSA-funded resources (including parliamentary staff, your office, supplies and equipment funded by IPSA) in the normal way for your parliamentary functions. However, you are not allowed to use IPSA funds for political campaigning purposes.
Any use of IPSA funds for either party or candidate campaign purposes contravenes the IPSA rules and may also be regarded as a donation by the Electoral Commission. IPSA is not a permissible donor for candidates, and so using any IPSA-funded resources for your election campaign may be a criminal offence.
This means that if you use your office for campaigning activities, you may only claim from IPSA the proportion of the rent and utilities which relate to your parliamentary work. If IPSA pays the rent to your landlord directly, you will need to repay a relevant proportion of rental costs if you use your office for any campaigning activity. For example, if in a month you use your constituency office for campaigning 25% of the time, you must repay a quarter of the rent for that month. You can do this by sending us a bank transfer, along with a completed Repayment Form.
Office supplies and equipment already funded by IPSA for parliamentary work may not be used for party political or electoral activities. If you have not yet claimed for supplies or equipment, you should only claim the amount which relates to your parliamentary functions. You should not use your payment card or any of the direct payment options (i.e. Banner, Commercial or XMA) to purchase any item which is to be used wholly or partly for campaigning purposes.
If any of your staff wish to undertake any campaigning activities (such as canvassing, writing party political speeches, stuffing envelopes, etc.) they must either:
take unpaid leave;
take annual leave;
take time off in lieu; or
do it outside of their normal working hours (for example, evenings and weekends).
If staff are taking unpaid leave, you must tell us in advance (and by the 15th of the month) by completing the Unpaid Leave Form. This will ensure that the proper adjustments can be made to their pay. Please note you only need to contact us if your staff members choose to take unpaid leave: we don’t need to know about staff taking annual leave, time off in lieu or who are campaigning outside their normal working hours.
Given the high levels of external interest in campaign activities, we would strongly encourage you to keep your own records of these arrangements.
If you realise after the fact that your staff members did undertake campaigning activities while on paid IPSA time, you must either:
Where you are unable to tell us before the 15th of the month about a staff member’s plan to take unpaid leave, or you are telling us after the campaigning activity has taken place, we will deduct the appropriate amount from the individual’s pay for the following month.