Decisions 15 December 2008

Monday 15 December 2008 at 5pm in Speaker's House

Present:

The Speaker, in the Chair
Sir Stuart Bell
Nick Harvey
Leader of the House
Mr David Maclean
Mrs Theresa May

1. REVIEW AND PROJECTION OF PARLIAMENTARY SECURITY 2008-13 (Commission)

The Commission took note of the paper.

2. DRAFT GREEN BOOK AND AUDIT PROPOSALS (MEC)

The Committee agreed the draft Green Book with several changes.

The MEAC's proposals on audit were agreed. It was agreed that decisions on what was an acceptable claim under the rules would be dealt with in the first instance by officials, and in cases of disagreement could be taken by the Member concerned to the Finance and Services Committee and ultimately appealed to the MEC. The Finance and Services Committee would also approve practice notes. Serious cases of breaches of the rules or problems in implementing the rules could be referred by officials directly to the MEC. The Committee recognised that amendments to Standing Orders would be required to implement these decisions.

The Standards and Privileges Committee's recommendations in its Nineteenth Report of 2007-08 on use of stationery and the Communications Allowance were agreed to, apart from changing the definition of political or campaigning activity.

It was agreed that the MEC should see the revised Green Book with its decisions incorporated and a revised draft Report before confirming its approval, and that the draft report with the revised Green Book and the MEAC report appended should be published in January shortly before any planned debate.

3. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION PUBLICATION (MEC)

It was noted that the process of redacting receipts was continuing.

4. ADMINISTRATION ESTIMATE: THREE-YEAR CORPORATE AND FINANCIAL PLANS (Commission)

The Commission, on a recommendation from the Finance and Services Committee, agreed to the Management Board's option 2 minus the funding for e-petitions, and to the laying of an Estimate reflecting this decision.

5. TEBBIT REVIEW IMPLEMENTATION (Commission)

The Commission took note of the paper.

6. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

On a recommendation from the Finance and Services Committee, the Commission rejected the Liaison Committee's proposal to extend the application of the scheme for travel to EU institutions using the UK travel budget.

On a recommendation from the Finance and Services Committee, the Commission agreed that the Department of Resources was authorised to pay for cover where personal insurance would be invalidated by a visit by a Member or a member of staff to a war zone on parliamentary business.

7. NEXT MEETING

The next meeting of the Commission/MEC will take place at 5pm on Monday 26 January in Speaker's House.