Decisions 18 October 2010

Monday 18 October 2010 at 4.30pm in Speaker’s House

Present:

The Speaker, in the Chair
Sir Stuart Bell
Rt Hon Hilary Benn
Sir Paul Beresford
John Thurso
Sir George Young (Leader of the House)

1.  DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

Commissioners declared their interests: see Appendix.

2.  SAVINGS PROGRAMME

The Commission agreed that:

  • its target for savings (in line with the wider public sector) was at least 17% by 2014/15;
  •  its preferred approach was a redesign of services and organisation to achieve savings, but that there should also be some reductions in budgets and services within existing structures;
  • the options explored should include competitive tendering, combining some services with the Lords and generating income;
  • the Commission and Management Board should meet in November for a detailed evaluation of possible savings.

3.  AUDIT OF 2009/10 MEMBERS ESTIMATE (MEC)

The Committee agreed that the collection of documents for the purposes of the audit would cease at the end of Monday 25 October.

The Committee agreed that the House would seek to recover payments from Members where supporting evidence had not been provided and either there was direct evidence that an incorrect payment had been made or there was no alternative evidence to support the existence and accuracy of the underlying transaction; and that where there was evidence of the general nature of the transaction, no repayment would be sought unless there was direct evidence of over-payment exceeding a de minimis level.  More detailed criteria for specific categories of transaction were agreed as set out in the paper considered by the Committee.  These decisions would not apply to claims made by Members under investigation by the police.

4.  INTERNS

The Commission agreed to consider further the proposed cross-party pilot scheme for a number of openly-advertised internships with Members, and that the Finance and Services Committee should consider the possible costs of any such internship scheme.

5.  CPA CENTENARY CONFERENCE

The Commission:

  • asked the CPA UK Branch to set out for the Finance and Services Committee ways in which the budget for the conference could be reduced by 10% and 25%, and the Finance and Services Committee to consider the matter and make recommendations to the Commission; and
  • noted the proposed membership of the steering committee for the conference, and asked it to make regular reports to the Commission, starting with one for the Commission’s November meeting.

6.  AUDIT COMMITTEES (Commission/MEC)

The Commission and Committee appointed Hilary Benn, Sir Alan Haselhurst and John Thurso to the Audit Committees, in place of Clive Betts, Nick Harvey and Rosie Winterton.

7.  COMMUNICATION BY THE COMMISSION/MEC (Commission/MEC)

The Commission and Committee agreed to consider at the next meeting new ways of explaining their decisions to Members and others.

8.  MEMORIAL TO IAN GOW

The Commission agreed that there should be a memorial to the late Ian Gow in the Chamber.

9.  DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS

The Commission/MEC agreed to meet on Mondays 22 November, 13 December, 17 January, 14 February, 21 March, 11 April, 23 May, 20 June and 18 July, all at 4.30pm.

The next meeting of the Commission/MEC will take place on Monday 22 November 2010 at 4.30pm in Speaker’s House.

Appendix: Declaration of interests

Mr Speaker 

Sir Paul Beresford 

Also: Chair of the All-Party Groups on Dentistry and on Skin

Sir Stuart Bell 

Also: Chairman of the Labour First Past the Post Group

Rt Hon Hilary Benn 

Also: Payment for a further talk at the National School of Government

John Thurso

Also: Treasurer of the All-Party Group on Wine and Spirits

Rt Hon Sir George Young