If ever we needed to understand how important it is for Organisation’s to have clearly defined Expenses Policies, today’s news on Sir Tomas Legg’s Report into MP’s Expenses is proof positive.
With most MP’s being likened to Monty Python’s Mr Creosote, most casual observers will feel it entirely justified that Sir Tomas has come knocking for some payback.
That however is to entirely miss the point of this shameful episode in British Politics (no different I might add than similar recent episodes in other countries, Ireland to name just one).
To understand what has gone wrong with the system you only need to look at what will be happening today when MP’s (including the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition) receive letters from Sir Tomas.
“Whitehall sources have indicated “the majority” of MPs will have to justify their claims or pay money back”
Could someone explain why they did not have to justify their expenses in the first place?
The BBC is reporting that Sir Thomas has set retrospective limits for some items.
This is manifestly unfair and I suspect can and will be challenged in the courts (most likely by an MP who is not planning to run in 2010!).
When working with clients who are implementing our Expense Management Solution expense@work we always recommend that a Clear and Comprehensive Expense Policy is documented and communicated as part of the process. Additionally we incorporate these policies into the system so that employees are unable to claim for prohibited items and are also unable to claim above predefined limits for allowable expenditure.
When a system fails and we start to perceive our otherwise good (for the most part!) representatives as greedy self interested thieves, its time to change the system, not the people.