Bulletin 29 October 2012

House of Commons Commission bulletin, 29 October 2012

Restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. The Commission agreed to publish the report of the Pre-Feasibility Study Group. The report (PDF PDF 1.22 MB) is available on the parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/offices/commons/house-of-commons-commission/.

The Commission also issued the following statement:

At its meeting on Monday 29 October, the House of Commons Commission considered an internal Study Group report on the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. The Commission was united in taking very seriously its responsibilities for this iconic and much-loved Grade 1 listed building in a UNESCO world heritage site. It also expressed strong support for continuing to protect the health and safety of visitors, Members and staff. It is therefore of the unanimous view that doing nothing is not an option. Equally, the Commission is acutely conscious of the current public spending environment and is committed to ensuring that any consideration of how the Palace could be restored is based upon securing maximum value for taxpayers’ money. 

The report is a useful first analysis of the issues. However, the Commission has ruled out the option of constructing a brand new building away from Westminster and no further analysis will be undertaken on this option. In addition, the Commission was not persuaded that the case for a decant had been made, and wished to ensure that all options were rigorously tested by independent analysis, detailed costings and robust technical information, to ensure no suggestion of internal bias. Fulfilling their obligations as custodians of the Palace of Westminster requires informed, considered decision-making by both Houses of Parliament. A great deal of work remains to be done before Parliament is in a position even to consider the merits and demerits in principle of particular options.

(Contact: John Borley – x6551)

Committee on Standards. The Commission agreed to nominate three people to be lay members of the new Committee on Standards. The nomination will be available in the Vote Office and on the Parliament website from 2 November. (Contact: Liam Laurence Smyth – x3315)

Audit Committees. The Commission and the Members Estimate Committee agreed to appoint Barbara Scott, an external member of the Management Board, as a member of the audit committees from January 2013. (Contact: Ben Williams – x3579)

Debate on the House’s finances. The Commission noted that following its decision in June, a debate on the financial plans for the House of Commons Administration and the Savings Programme would take place in the Chamber on 8 November. A report from the Finance and Services Committee provides background. (Contact: Myfanwy Barrett – x0833)

Observations on matters in the bulletin or other aspects of the House’s administration should be sent to [email protected] for the attention of the Commission.

Commission membership: Mr Speaker (Chair), Sir Paul Beresford, Frank Doran, Angela Eagle, Andrew Lansley (Leader of the House) and John Thurso.