Wednesday, 21 July 2010

IPSA - Why we should care

The Fact Compiler shared the fury over troughing MPs in the last Parliament.

Stung into action by the near universal opprobrium being heaped upon them, MPs passed a measure in haste creating the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

The new body was set up to oversee the allowances paid to MPs and the salaries of the staff they employed.

As with so many measures enacted in haste by the last Parliament there is now plenty of time to repent at leisure.

And MPs are not happy with the new system.

Of course many will say that MPs had it coming, whilst others are pleased that MPs now finally realise that the legion of new laws which they so joyously enacted are now buggering-up their own lives not just ours.

No matter.

IPSA is now preventing MPs from serving their constituents and this is bad for both democracy and democratic accountability.

As one Westminster insider put it "IPSA makes NR's Members look useful".

In an attempt to explain the new MP's expenses scheme Tom Harris, Co-Chair of the APPRG, has provided the following helpful video on his blog.

For full details of the disaster that is IPSA and why we should all be concerned read more here.

"The Prime Minister will be deeply disappointed"


According to the Number 10 spokeswoman in the Lobby today "The Prime Minister will be deeply disappointed" by the decision of Network Rail's Members to rubber stamp director bonuses.


But what are we to make of this from Network Rail's press release on today's disappointing proceedings:

Network Rail today held its annual general meeting in Manchester attended by 59 of its 100 members... with 77 members voting.

So 41 Members of Network Rail couldn't be bothered to attend the company's Annual Meeting.

Clearly they know the game is up.

Whilst 23 couldn't even be arsed to vote at all!

What a testament to Network Rail's fabulous corporate governance.

So what difference did these 23 abstentions make?

Only 54% (of the 77 who did bother to vote) approved the Directors' Remuneration Report as set out on pages 30 to 49 of the Company’s Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2010

Oh shame on those Members that abstained - you know who you are.

What earthly value are you to man or beast?

The abolition of the rightly named 'Members' cannot come
soon enough!

Come on Phil, put them out of our misery and that right soon.

UPDATE: This from the Gruaniad...

There were 37 votes in favour of the pay report, 31 against and nine active abstentions including the Department for Transport's single vote.

A word on today's ticket machine story.

This from a Mr Malins...

Did I not hear the Passenger Focus man Smith berating the TOCs for their failings on Radio 4 this morning?

Consider then that the response of Bus Barons and DafT to this failing is to install ticket barriers to "recover" the money for the tickets the TOCs did not sell properly in the first place!

With stockade station - HMP Walton-on-Thames the result.

UPDATE: This from Globetrotter...

I wonder whether the latest Passenger Focus survey is investigating the symptoms rather than the cause?

Does the dissatisfaction expressed by ticket machine users really reflect concerns over the problem of using the machines themselves, or is it really a reflection of the complexity of the current fare structures?

Given that a substantial number of booking office staff seem to have problems explaining and selling all the different ticket options, it is not surprising that passengers have problems navigating the system when left to do it themselves.

Particularly now that ATOC has helpfully 'simplified' the process by giving all the different ticket types the same names.

Villiers vignettes...

Oh dear.

Following recent cock-ups with public pronouncements (Eye passim) has the Saviour of the Jammy Dodger lost the confidence of her departmental colleagues?

Although Theresa has responsibility for both Rail and Aviation the announcement today on reforming the framework for regulating airports was unveiled by no less a figure than Petrol-head himself!

Proposals designed to improve Britain's major airports were unveiled by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond today...

After careful consideration, the Government has decided not to give a new remit to Passenger Focus to represent air passengers as had previously been proposed. The Government believes that it is important to have strong passenger representation but that this is not the time to be make additional structural changes which will add to the regulatory burden on industry. It will therefore be exploring options for strengthening existing passenger representation arrangements.

Surely not the sort of nuts and bolts announcement that is usually made by a Secretary of State?

No matter.

Perhaps Theresa can now find time to answer some of those invitations that she is famous for ignoring?