Bulletin 25 January 2011

House of Commons Commission bulletin, 25 January 2011

Interns/Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements.  The Commission has agreed to support a cross-party scheme to give those from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to work in Parliament.  Each year, ten interns, recruited using the Social Mobility Foundation, will be paid for eight months, working mainly with a Member but for about two months with the House Service.  Funding will be by external donors, but the Commission has agreed to contribute £25,000 (with the possibility of a further £15,000) towards first-year costs.

Savings programme.  The Finance and Services Committee is to advise the Commission by 21 March on how to approach the task of making House services both more effective and more economical (the next stage of the savings programme).  It will also advise on income generation.  (Contacts: Dorian Gerhold, 3270; Elizabeth Honer, 6104)

Proactive publication.  Following the consultation with Members, the plan to publish proactively additional information about Members, staff and House administration (some of which is already being disclosed piecemeal in response to FOI requests) will go ahead, in slightly amended form.  Information on use of rooms will be restricted to functions sponsored by Members involving external organisations.

Publication of allowances information.  Further information on 2009/10 allowances, plus scans of 2008/09 IEP, will be published on Wednesday 2 March.  (This relates only to those who were Members in the last Parliament.)  (Contact: Allowances Publication Team, 0739)

House’s Equality Scheme.  Progress in the first year was noted.  So were the priorities for 2011, including improved signage and information; specific tours for disabled people; a process for equality screening and impact assessment; a mechanism for addressing harassment; and prioritising the needs of disabled Members and staff.  (Contacts: Patricia Macauley-Fraser,  4961; Anne Foster, 1412)

Observations on matters in the bulletin or other aspects of the House’s administration should be sent to gerholddj@parliament.uk for the attention of the Commission.

Commission membership: Mr Speaker (Chair), Hilary Benn, Sir Paul Beresford, Frank Doran, John Thurso, Sir George Young (Leader of the House).