Decisions 10 February 2003

Monday 10 February 2003 at 5pm in Speaker's House

Present:

The Speaker, in the Chair
Mr Stuart Bell
Mr Robin Cook
Sir Patrick Cormack
Mr Eric Forth
Sir Archy Kirkwood

1.  Select Committee Travel

The Commission discussed the funding of select committee travel with Mr Alan Williams MP, Chairman of the Liaison Committee, and Mr George Cubie, Clerk of the Liaison Committee.

The Commission agreed to a further increase of £40K in the budget for general overseas travel for 2003-04, bringing the total to £1,174K.

The Commission also agreed a one-off increase of £150K for 2003-04 to cover travel bids approved by the Liaison Committee in 2002-03; and that the budget for travel in a representative capacity should be increased to £60K a year for 2003-04 and future years.

2.  Security

The Commission discussed security matters.

3.  Third Quarter Financial Report

The Director of Finance and Administration was present.

Mr Bell reported back from the Finance and Services Committee on its consideration of the Third Quarter Report.

The Director of Finance and Administration reported that the Comptroller and Auditor General had issued an unqualified audit opinion on the House's first set of resource accounts. The Commission expressed its thanks to all those involved in achieving the successful transition from cash to resource accounting.

4.  Commission Annual Report

The House Communications Adviser was present.

The Commission discussed the structure of its forthcoming annual report, with the aim of improving the way in which the House Administration's work and objectives were reported.

5.  Lords House Committee

The Commission discussed the Lord Brabazon of Tara's proposal that it should meet jointly with the newly appointed Lords House Committee.  The Commission agreed that such a meeting would be useful, and asked the Clerk of the House to discuss possible agenda items with the Clerk of the Parliaments in the House of Lords.

6.  Audit Committee Minutes

In order to increase the openness and transparency of the Audit Committee's work, Mr Forth, the Committee chairman, suggested that its minutes be routinely circulated to Commission members.  This proposal was agreed.