Decisions 17 March 2003

Monday 17 March 2003 at 5pm in Speaker's House


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

The Speaker paid tribute to the former Leader of the House, Mr Robin Cook, for his work as Leader of the House and as a Commissioner.

1.  Staff pay: 2003 and 2004

The Commission agreed the negotiating remit.

2.  Funding the Parliamentary Associations

The Clerk of the Overseas Office was present.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury had proposed that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) UK Branch, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) British Group, the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body and the British-American Parliamentary Group be funded from the House of Commons budgets rather than directly by the Treasury.  The Commission discussed the proposal and agreed to consult the bodies concerned as well as the House of Lords before coming to a view.

3.  Accommodation Review Part 2

The Serjeant at Arms was present.

The Serjeant at Arms outlined the conclusions of the recent review of accommodation on the Parliamentary Estate, which had looked at optimising the use of space and managing demand.  The Commission noted the findings of the review and agreed to a series of pilot projects to improve the use of space in selected offices.

4.  Review of Select Committee resources

The Clerk of Committees was present.

The Commission considered the report of the Internal Review Service and the National Audit Office on select committee staffing, which had arisen from a recommendation by the Modernisation Committee approved by the House.  The review had concluded that more resources would be required to enable select committees to carry out the core tasks proposed by the Liaison Committee and agreed by the House. 

The Commission referred the report to the Finance and Services Committee for an opinion on the costs and relative priority of the proposals in the context of the House's medium-term financial strategy; and to the Liaison Committee for its opinion on the Review Team's proposals.

5.  History of Parliament Trust: report and accounts for year ended 31 March 2002, and review of activities 2002

Sir Patrick Cormack, Chairman of the Trust since November 2001, introduced the report and accounts; the Commission noted them.

6.  Any other business

The Commission noted plans for the House-wide quality of services survey.