Decisions

Thursday 27 March 2008

Members present:

Sir Stuart Bell, in the Chair
Mr Clive Betts
Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
Mr Frank Doran
Sir Alan Haselhurst
Mr Robert Key
Mr Tommy McAvoy

The Chairman of Ways and Means was welcomed to his first meeting of the Committee, following the recommendations of the Tebbit review.

1. TERMLY WORKS REPORT

The Committee were briefed by Mel Barlex, Parliamentary Director of Estates. He answered questions about the mechanical and electrical systems project, the Visitor Reception building (Cromwell Green entrance) and the cast iron roofs project. The Committee took note of the paper.

2. SECURITY-RELATED EXPENDITURE

The Committee were briefed by the Parliamentary Security Co-ordinator and took note of the paper on security-related expenditure.

3. REFRESHMENT DEPARTMENT BUDGET

Sue Harrison and Janet Rissen presented a paper and answered questions. A letter from the Chairman of the Administration Committee was noted.

The Committee agreed:

  1. there should be a review of the underlying assumptions and decisions agreed in the 2003 financial review of the Refreshment Department in order to set strategic targets for specific parts of the catering and retail operations
  2. the pricing changes recommended in the paper should be implemented
  3. that room hire charges for banqueting events should be increased for new bookings with immediate effect
  4. that concerns raised by the Administration Committee should be addressed by:
    • establishing a regime of regular and comprehensive selling price benchmarking against agreed and appropriate external comparators, with regular reports provided to either Finance and Services or the Administration Committee, or both;
    • with the House of Lords authorities, to explore opportunities for greater sharing of access to facilities, and to bring proposals back to the Administration Committee
    • continuous review of staff deployment, seeking to improve efficiency by encouraging flexible working and/or changed ways of working
    • continuing to seek to improve purchasing efficiency and to continue the development of menus that take advantage of more economic ingredients without compromising our commitment to purchasing high quality, seasonal, local produce wherever possible.

4. GRANTS TO INTERNATIONAL PARLIAMENTARY GROUPS

The Committee approved the financial memoranda agreed with the four international parliamentary groups in relation to the payment of grants-in-aid from the 2008-09 financial year.

5. DISPLAY CASES IN PORTCULLIS HOUSE

The Committee considered the proposal for expenditure on display cases to exhibit items from the works of art collection and decided to consider it further at a future meeting.

[Adjourned till Thursday 8 May 2008 at 9.50 am.