Decisions 7 April 2003

Monday 7 April 2003 at 5pm in Speaker's House


The Speaker, in the Chair
Mr Stuart Bell
Sir Patrick Cormack
Mr Eric Forth
Sir Archy Kirkwood
Dr John Reid

The Speaker welcomed Dr Reid, the new Leader of the House, to the Commission.

1.  Review of Select Committee Resources

In the light of advice from the Finance and Services and Liaison Committees, the Commission approved the recommendations of the report from the Internal Review Services and the National Audit Office.  This had been the first formal review of select committee resources since 1979. Commissioners noted that a five-year review had been built into the plans.

The Commission agreed the phasing of expenditure proposed by the Finance and Services Committee; £440K in 2003-04, £1.17M in 2004-05, and £1.58M in 2005-06.

2.  Domestic Committee responses to delegations

The Commission discussed the positive responses of the Domestic Committees to its proposed updated delegations of authority, approved in January.

3.  Agenda for joint meeting with the Lords House Committee

The Commission agreed that, rather than setting a formal agenda for the meeting to be held in the summer, an informal first meeting would be preferable.

4.  Terms of reference for the Audit Committee

In the light of a recent review of its work, Mr Forth on behalf of the Audit Committee proposed two minor amendments to its terms of reference: to emphasise that the Committee worked on behalf of the Commission, which might not be immediately obvious to an outside observer, and to reflect the Committee's recent decision to give the NAO further access to its work, while making it clear that the House reserved the right to appoint its own auditors. The Commission approved the amendments.

5.  Any other business

The Commission agreed that, on the occasion of the visit by the Chairman of Ways and Means to Washington in July 2003, it would be in the public interest that Lady Haselhurst should accompany him, and that her expenses should be met from public funds.