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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6O-00418
Asked by: James Dornan, Glasgow Cathcart, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 11 November 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body what consultation was conducted with MSPs ahead of changing the allowances system.

Current status: Answered by Maggie Chapman MSP (on behalf of the SPCB) on 18 November 2021


Answer

I would like to begin by stating up front that we had to replace the travel and expenses system. The contract for that system was coming to an end, and it could not be extended further as it had reached its contract limit. We were required, as with all public bodies, to follow Public Procurement Scotland regulations and replace the system by putting the opportunity out to tender.

Given the system at the time was over 10 years old and travel and expenses systems had moved on significantly it was recognised that any new system would be a significant change for Members and their staff.

Therefore, as part of the survey carried out on the review of the Reimbursement of Members’ Expenses Scheme in March 2019, and with the understanding that the system would need replaced, questions were included in relation to the submitting of claims and invoices, how this could be improved as well as seeking feedback on submitting claims through a new on-line travel and expenses system. 

66.67% - two thirds - of those who completed the survey thought it would be more efficient to submit claims on-line rather than in hard copy. This feedback, as well as other views on what they would like to see in a new system, was built into the specification for a new system. Some of these suggestions included:

  • make it all electronic
  • being able to see invoices online
  • being able to submit online
  • see reports at any time not just once a month
  • an app where picture or receipt could be included and then submitted
  • be able to see progress of invoices/claims

We recognise that Members have experienced some difficulties during the roll out of the new system and the Allowances Office has worked with Members, their staff and our providers to rectify any issues experienced and to provide ongoing support and guidance as and when required.