Its responsibilities include appointing staff of the House, preparing and laying before the House the Estimate for the House of Commons Service, allocating functions to House departments and keeping staff pay and conditions broadly in line with those of the Civil Service. The Commission was established by the House of Commons (Administration) Act 1978.
On advice from the Administration Committee, the Commission last night (Monday 15 July) agreed that APPG staff passes should be withdrawn and that this category of pass should not be used in future. This will take effect from the end of the week.
The Committee on Standards (with input from the Administration Committee) is currently considering the Straw report on APPGs report and the changes that might be required to the regime for registering and administering APPGs and will report in the Autumn.
House of Commons News Release
All Party Parliamentary Groups
The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP said:
“As Speaker I have long felt that the operation of All Party Parliamentary Groups needed to be improved to meet the high expectations of transparency and accountability required in public life. To that end the Lord Speaker and I established a review of APPGs in 2011. Recent events have heightened my concern and underlined the need for urgent and effective action”.
Statement by the House of Commons Commission
At its regular meeting yesterday evening, the House of Commons Commission briefly discussed the implications of recent media stories relating to members of both Houses, lobbying and all-party parliamentary groups. Two actions resulted from that discussion.
The first relates to the rules for APPGs. In 2011 the Speaker and the Lord Speaker asked a working group led by Rt Hon Jack Straw to undertake a review of APPGs. This was completed in 2012 and is available on the Parliament website. http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2012/june/speakers-publish-working-group-report-on-all-party-groups/. The Committee on Standards (with input from the Administration Committee) is currently considering that report and the changes that might be required to the regime for registering and administering APPGs. The Speaker has today written to the chair of the Committee on Standards, Rt Hon Kevin Barron, asking that his Committee prioritises this work with the intention that the Commission can discuss the conclusions before the House rises for the Summer recess.
There are currently 83 parliamentary passes that have been issued specifically to staff of APPGs (around 0.6% of the total number of passes). The Speaker has instructed the Serjeant at Arms to ask Members who have sponsored these parliamentary passes to confirm that they have been properly requested and allocated, as required by the rules governing APPGs. In the interim, no new passes in this category will be issued. The Serjeant at Arms has also been asked, as a matter of urgency, to consider with the Administration Committee whether it is necessary or appropriate for this category of passes to exist at all. The Commission also intends that, more generally, applications for passes for Members' staff should seek more information than at present about the purposes for which a pass is required.
On 18 April 2013, the Speaker laid the House of Commons: Administration Main Supply Estimate 2013-14 (HC 1079) before the House of Commons.
On 13 December the House of Commons considered and approved the House of Commons Commission's nominations for lay members of the new Committee on Standards.
2 November 2012 - The House of Commons Commission recommends to the House that three candidates should be nominated as lay members of the new Standards Committee. They are Sharon Darcy, Peter Jinman OBE and Walter Rader OBE.
29 October 2012 - the Commission agreed to publish the report of the Pre-Feasibility Study Group on Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster ( PDF 1.22 MB).
12 September 2012 - The House has agreed to the Commission's recommendation that Kathryn Hudson should be appointed as the next Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
19 July 2012 - The House of Commons Commission recommends to the House that Kathryn Hudson, currently Deputy Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, should be appointed Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards when the fixed-term, non-renewable appointment of the current Commissioner John Lyon CB ends on 31 December 2012.