As the consultation on our recommendations for MPs’ remuneration continues over the summer, IPSA members will discuss elements of the package here on the IPSA blog.
Something that came through very clearly from all the public research we undertook as part of our pay and pensions review is that members of the public have very little information about what it is their MPs’ actually do – particularly at Westminster.
We also found that the more people knew about the work their MP did, the more they thought they did a good job (and, incidentally, the more they should be paid!).
Importantly, this wasn’t simply a case of the politically interested being fans of their MPs. The citizens’ juries showed a causal relationship: when participants were given more information about the role of MPs, their attitudes changed.
We believe this signal something important: that there is an information gap between the public and MPs about what MPs do day to day.
We have recommended that one way to begin bridging this gap is for MPs to produce an annual report on what they have achieved with the salary they received and the expenses they claimed.
This form of reporting is not only important for bridging the information gap with the public – it also brings MPs into line with many other professions, where reporting and accountability are an important and everyday part of doing the job.
Since launching our consultation, we have asked the public how interested they are in finding out more about what their MP does, and if an annual report would help.
The answer to both has been a resounding ‘YES!’
As well as confirming our earlier research on the knowledge gap, polling by YouGov found that 65 per cent of respondents wanted more information about what their MP does, and 74 per cent would be interested in receiving an annual report.
Clearly, the public is willing to do their bit to cross the information gap, and we believe annual reporting would be a good step from the MP side.
Do you want to know more about what your MP does? Would you be interested in an annual report? What sort of thing would you like to know?