Administration Committee Q and A

What are the main functions of the Committee?

The Committee's main area of interest is the provision and regulation of services for Members. It also considers services for visitors to the House of Commons; services for those interested in the House of Commons, such as the parliamentary website; and outreach activities to increase awareness of the work of the House, such as educational visits and publications.

What powers does the Committee have?

It is an advisory committee, empowered to make recommendations to the House of Commons Commission, the supervisory body of the House of Commons Administration, and the Speaker, who, among his other functions, is responsible for the Commons part of the Palace of Westminster and its precincts.

Any recommendation that requires additional expenditure from the overall budget of the House of Commons Administration must also be considered by the Finance and Services Committee. Executive responsibility has been devolved to the Administration Committee in two areas: temporary changes to the rules on access and facilities; and the siting of works of art, commemorative plaques and stones within the precincts of the House of Commons.

Does the Committee take evidence from witnesses?

It does not. The Committee is an advisory body so it does not work in the same way as a departmental Select Committee.

The Chief Executive, each Director-General of the departments of the House of Commons - Chamber and Committee Services, Facilities, Information Services and Resources - and the Director of PICT (Parliamentary Information and Communications Technology), a joint department of the House of Commons and House of Lords, all appear regularly before the Committee to give updates on the work of their departments.

Can a member of the public attend meetings?

No. All meetings are held in private. Minutes are available within two weeks of the meeting being held.

Common sources of confusion

The Public Administration Committee is a separate committee, considering matters relating to the civil service and the ombudsman. Members' pay and allowances fall within the remit of the Members Estimate Committee  and the Advisory Panel on Members' Allowances.