Decisions 8 March 2010

Monday 8 March 2010 at 4.30pm in Speaker's House

Present: 

The Speaker, in the Chair
Sir Stuart Bell
Leader of the House
Nick Harvey
Mr David Maclean
Sir George Young

1. ACA REVIEW (MEC)

The Committee confirmed that conclusions reached by Sir Thomas Legg, adjusted where appropriate by Sir Paul Kennedy upon appeal, would not be reconsidered.

The Committee agreed to publish a report with the further appeal decisions appended on Tuesday 16 March.

2. COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION 2011 CONFERENCE

The Commission approved the proposed budget of £1,943,708 for the CPA's 2011 conference; endorsed the intention of the CPA UK Branch to seek to reduce the length of the conference; urged it to consider ways of reducing the cost of the conference; and noted the proposals on governance and handling of risk.

3. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (MEC)

The Committee approved the disclosure in response to a Freedom of Information request of a list of dates when Members changed their second home designations. It agreed that, despite the existing policy on disposal of records relating to Member's allowances, no such records should be destroyed for the time being, and the Committee should consider the matter in May. It approved a timetable for the publication of the remaining allowances information held by the House in June 2010 and late November/early December 2010. It agreed to publish a document submitted to the Members Estimate Audit Committee relating to the future of the Members Estimate.

4. DEMARCATION OF FUNCTIONS BETWEEN IPSA AND THE HOUSE (Commission/MEC)

The Commission:

  • confirmed that it would not provide personnel advice to Members' staff, but agreed that how such advice should be provided would be considered further;
  • agreed that the House would continue to administer the Portcullis Pension Plan on its current basis, but that this would be reviewed when IPSA took over responsibility for Members' pensions;
  • agreed to seek confirmation from IPSA that its expenses scheme will reimburse appropriate travel and subsistence costs for Members' staff attending training provided through the House's contract for such training;
  • agreed that the House's existing insurance policy for Members should be continued for a transitional period; and
  • agreed that a detailed schedule of categories of information to be shared should be drawn up before the matter of sharing information with IPSA was taken further.

The Committee:

  • agreed that the total amount of each allowance which Members can claim under the House's allowances scheme in 2010/11 would be limited to that proportion of the financial year which falls within the House's remit, but that where unavoidable legal and contractual obligations existed (including for a period beyond the election), these would exceptionally be met, and that utility bills, even if covering an advance period, would be paid so long as the bill was dated before the election; and
  • agreed that all claims under the House's allowances scheme for expenses incurred in financial year 2010/11 must be submitted by 30 September 2010.

The Commission and Committee agreed that the Speaker should communicate these decisions to the Chairman of IPSA.

5. METROPOLITAN POLICE CONTRACT

The Commission took note of the paper.

6. ACTION PLAN AND TARGETS FOR REDUCING CO2 EMISSIONS

The Commission endorsed the environmental targets.

7. CORPORATE BUSINESS PLAN

The Commission approved the Corporate Business Plan.

8. GUIDANCE FOR DELEGATION ACTIVITIES

The Commission approved the revised guidance for delegations, agreed that it should come into effect at the start of the next Parliament, and agreed that it should be reviewed annually by the Finance and Services Committee.

9. HOUSE'S INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY

The Commission:

  • agreed that an International Relations Directorate should be established;
  • agreed that, subject to securing the agreement of the House of Lords, the aim should be to have the framework of an IRD in place early in the next Parliament;
  • agreed to establish a small working group of officials responsible for implementation, consulting those affected and reporting to the Commission and House Committee.

10. NEXT MEETING

The next meeting of the Commission/MEC will take place on Monday 29 March 2010 at 4.30pm in Speaker's House.