Departments of the House of Commons

The staff of the House of Commons work across a number of departments and offices, which are listed below

Chamber Business Directorate

The directorate supports proceedings in the Chamber, Westminster Hall and general committees. It comprises the following offices:

Public Bill Office

The office administers all business relating to public legislation and provides advice to the Chair, Members and others on public legislation. It also provides Clerks for general committees including public bill committees.

Private Bill Office

The office administers the House's procedures applying to private legislation and provides advice on those procedures to Members, parliamentary agents and others.

Journal Office

The office manages the procedural knowledge of the House and knowledge of the law and privileges of the House, as well as secretariat for the Standards, Privileges and Petitions Committees and the Speaker's Committees on IPSA and the Electoral Commission.

Table Office

The office assists Members in tabling Parliamentary Questions (PQs) and Early Day Motions (EDMs). The Office also co-ordinates clerk support in the Chamber and Westminster Hall, and produces the House's Order Paper and associated business papers for each day's sitting. It provides the secretariat for the Backbench Business Committee.

Vote Office

The office supplies parliamentary and government documents (including EU documents) to Members and others. Within the Vote Office, the Procedural Publishing Unit provides pre-publication, printing and publishing services for procedural and other offices.

Ways and Means Office

The office provides support for the Chairman of Ways and Means and other Deputy Speakers in their duties in the House, and for the Panel of Chairs.

Committee Directorate

The directorate provides secretariat, advice, research and administrative services for each of the House’s departmental select committees and most other select committees. The Scrutiny Unit provides specialist support to all committees, assists public bill committees and staffs some ad hoc committees. The Web and Publications Unit provides specialist support and advice in respect of committee websites, online publication of committee evidence and reports and electronic provision of information to committee members. The Committee Directorate also provides the secretariats of the House’s governance bodies, including the House of Commons Commission.

Official Report Directorate

The directorate is responsible for providing reports of the proceedings of the House, Westminster Hall and Committees, and processing and printing written ministerial statements, petitions and ministerial corrections. The Broadcasting Unit oversees production and distribution of the audio video (AV) record, the broadcasting and webcasting of both Houses, operates the annunciator service and provides an audio-visual archive service.

Serjeant at Arms Directorate

The directorate has operational responsibility for access in the House of Commons as well as a range of ceremonial functions. The responsibilities of the Serjeant at Arms apply to maintaining order in the House of Commons Chamber, public galleries, committee rooms and the Commons' areas of the Parliamentary Estate. In doing this it works closely with the Office of the Parliamentary Security Director. It manages the work of the Admission Order Office and the Doorkeepers. 

Overseas Office

The office manages the House’s official relations with overseas Parliaments, including responsibility (via the Parliamentary Assemblies Section) for the UK delegations to the Council of Europe, NATO and OSCE Parliamentary Assemblies, responsibility for the National Parliament Office in Brussels, and running a range of inward visitor, professional exchange and capacity-building programmes with other Parliaments.

Departmental Services Office

The office provides budgetary and financial management support to the Department. It also carries out office management and communications functions.

The two offices which are brigaded with DCCS for budgetary purposes are:

Office of Speaker's Counsel

The Office of Speaker's Counsel provides legal advice to the Speaker and departments of the House; scrutinises domestic secondary legislation and private Bills in support of relevant committees; and scrutinises EU legislation in support of the European Scrutiny Committee

Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards which advises both the Committee on Standards and individual Members on standards matters. She monitors the operation of the Code of Conduct and the Guide to the Rules that apply to Members.  In addition, she is responsible for the maintenance of the four Registers, of which the most important is the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. She considers and, if needed, investigates allegations against Members who may have breached the Code or related Rules.

Accommodation and Logistics Services Directorate

The directorate is responsible for a wide range of office and reception services including the management of contracts for cleaning, mail and stationery provision. The logistics service is shared with the House of Lords.

Catering Services

Catering Services is responsible for catering facilities throughout the House of Commons, including cafeterias, fine dining, banqueting and bars.

Parliamentary Estates Directorate

The directorate manages the estate, delivering sufficient accommodation and services to meet the needs of all who work within, or visit, the Parliamentary Estate and optimising its use as a healthy, safe, sustainable and effective working environment. The Directorate also maintains the fabric and heritage of Parliament’s buildings, objects and documents for the benefit of future generations.

Financial Accounting

The team provides support and guidance on technical accounting and tax issues and produces the annual statutory accounts.

Financial Services

The team is responsible for paying invoices, completing tax returns, income collection and managing the House’s cash flow.

Pensions and Payroll

The team ensures the staff pension scheme administrators have the information they need to make pension payments, pays all House staff their salary, processes Tax and National Insurance deductions for payment to HMRC and support the MPs' pension fund.

Management Accounting

The team co-ordinates the annual budget process, the monthly financial forecasting exercise and reports to the Management Board and Finance Committee. It also reviews and provides advice on Business Cases.

Systems Accounting

The team maintains and supports the development of the Finance IT systems as well as providing training and guidance.   

Continuous Improvement

The team is embedding continuous improvement across Parliament, building a network of practitioners and training them to carry out process reviews to improve the efficiency and quality of our services. 

The Department of Human Resources and Change is responsible for the policy framework for good employment practice and people management. We provide HR advisory and resourcing services and offer a range of options to support learning and the development of managers and staff. In addition we offer specialist services to support change, manage information and records and assure employee safety and wellbeing.

Our three Business Partners work closely with their particular departments and offices, ensuring that services from DHRC meet business needs and provide a strategic link between departments of the House and DHRC.

HR Advisory Service

The service provides expert advice and support to managers in all departments of the House of Commons, to enable line managers to take on their full people management responsibilities.

Members' HR Advice Service

The service provides advice to MPs on employment issues and HR implications in line with best practice.

HR Operations

HR Operations provides recruitment services (Recruitment Team) and manages pay administration and workforce information (CIA).

HR Policy

HR Policy leads in the development of pay, reward and HR policies, practices and procedures, ensuring it supports business delivery and the unified service, and ensures alignment of both HR strategy and other HR policies. The team also has lead responsibility for co-ordinating engagement and consultation with staff and the Trade Union Side.

Learning and Development

The team sources, plans, provides and administers appropriate learning interventions for all House Service staff to ensure they have the skills, knowledge and behaviours to carry out their current role competently and to prepare, where appropriate, for future roles. The team also has responsibility for the provision of learning and development for Members’ staff.

Diversity and Inclusion

The team leads and coordinates work supporting equality, diversity and inclusion across the House to ensure that everyone on the Parliamentary Estate is treated with dignity and respect. It manages the contract for the House of Commons Nursery, provides information and advice on accessibility, and manages outreach schemes.

Organisation Development and Change

The team provides a range of services aimed at helping the House Service to manage change successfully. The team co-ordinates the reporting of information to the boards of both Houses about all Parliamentary programmes and projects planned and currently underway. For projects that form part of the House’s People Strategy the team provides day-to-day support with project management.

Information Rights and Information Security

The Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service is responsible for the House Service’s compliance with the information acts (Freedom of Information, Data Protection and Environmental Information Regulations) by ensuring requests are responded to in line with legislation and the publication scheme, that governs the information routinely published, is in place and up to date.

Shared Support Services

The team is responsible for supporting the Director General and the two Directors in DHRC. In addition they provide PA support to the Director of Finance. The team deals with a wide range of additional services including: office and secretariat services, business and finance planning, business continuity and performance and risk monitoring. The team provides paralegal advice and support to Members about insurance as well as managing some corporate contracts, such as for the Travel Office.

Director General

The Director General holds House-wide, corporate responsibilities including as Senior Information Records Officer, responsibilities for information security and Freedom of Information as well as overseeing HR services to the SCS.

Health and Wellbeing

The service provides an advisory service to Members and staff of both Houses of Parliament. A multidisciplinary team of consultant occupational physicians and clinical and occupational health nurse advisers advise on medical or healthcare concerns which may be causing difficulty or distress at work. Welfare officers provide counselling and wider support services to staff of both Houses. The team is responsible for the Westminster Gym.

Parliamentary Safety

The team provides a corporate professional lead on safety for both Houses. It is responsible assists the Lords, Commons and PICT by advising the Parliamentary Safety Assurance Committee (PSAC) on the strategic direction and approach for safety within Parliament, developing policy and guidance as well as evaluating Parliament’s overall safety performance as part of the internal assurance process. The safety advisors act as the House Authority’s competent persons under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

The Department of Information Services provides information, research and visitor services for Members of Parliament and the public.

Public Information Group

The Public Information Group is made up of three teams working to increase understanding of Parliament and its processes, including: running a busy public enquiry service, producing and maintaining online content, working with digital communities and partners, leading on a number of social media channels and producing informal and formal learning content and projects for a variety of audiences.

Outreach and Engagement Group

The Outreach and Engagement Group works with people and communities across the United Kingdom to increase public understanding of, and engagement with the UK Parliament. We do this by demonstrating how Parliament affects people’s day to day lives, exploring how Parliament works as a vehicle for change and equipping people to campaign effectively, engaging with people who Parliament has not yet reached and adding value to the business of Parliament by diversifying the range of people who engage and participate.

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides impartial information and research services for Members of Parliament and their staff in support of their parliamentary duties. One of the main products of the Library is the research briefings which are published to the parliamentary website. These briefing papers offer an independent summary and analysis of subjects of interest, particularly legislation proceeding through Parliament. The Library also includes the collection of documents, known as deposited papers, which MPs and ministers place in the Library in reply to parliamentary questions.

Curator’s Office

The Curator's Office is responsible for the Parliamentary Art Collection and for all aspects of its care, management and development. The Curator’s Office helps to promote understanding of the Collection and provides advice to both the House of Lords and the House of Commons Works of Art Committees.

Education Service

Parliament’s Education Service aims to inform, engage and empower young people to understand, and get involved in, Parliament, politics and democracy. The service runs a year-round programme of school visits to Parliament for students aged 5-18, a national teacher-training and outreach programme, and develops classroom resources to support the teaching and learning of political literacy.

Media Relations Group

The Media Relations Group serves as the central point of contact for journalists’ enquiries on procedural and corporate issues. The service provides media support to House Departments and domestic Committees, and works to increases understanding of the work of the House of Commons through proactive engagement with print, broadcast and digital media.

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) is the UK Parliament's in-house source of scientific advice. POST uses the latest research evidence to analyse public policy issues and publishes its findings in POSTnotes; provides both formal and informal advice to select committees; runs horizon scanning exercises to identify trends in policy, science and technology; and organises events to build connections between parliamentarians and leading experts.

Visitor Services

The Visitor Services team help visitors to access and understand the work of the UK Parliament and the history and heritage of the Palace of Westminster by providing help, guidance, information and an excellent level of customer experience to those visiting the Houses of Parliament.

The House of Commons Retail Service provides a wide range of high quality merchandise that reflects the House of Commons and Houses of Parliament. Our Jubilee shop, located in Westminster Hall, is for visitors to Parliament. We also have a shop located outside Parliament on Bridge Street, which is popular with visitors to Westminster, and  an online shop where a selection of our items are available. 

Related information

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