Bulletin 4 April 2011

House of Commons Commission bulletin, 4 April 2011

International Relations Directorate.  The planned IRD will not now be established, following the decisions of the British Group of the IPU and CPA UK not to participate.  The Commission will seek the benefits of greater coherence, value for money, effectiveness and transparency in the House’s international activities by other means, and proposals are being invited.  (Contact: Mark Hutton, x3314)

Next stage of the Savings Programme.  Seven main areas of work have been agreed (including income generation), but all aspects of spending will be questioned as part of the budget planning process.  The aim will be to make services more effective, not just to reduce cost.  Time will be sought for a debate in Westminster Hall (probably in the autumn) once initial proposals in the seven areas have been drawn up.  See the terms of reference (PDF PDF 162 KB) for the seven areas.  (Contact: Elizabeth Honer, x6104)

Resettlement Grant.  Resettlement Grant will not be paid to any former Member convicted of an offence of dishonesty relating to Members’ allowances.

Assistance for Members in respect of the Equality Act 2010.  It has been suggested that the Equality Act 2010 classifies Members as service providers, with a duty not to discriminate and to make reasonable adjustments in the provision of the service.  There could be a risk that the way a Member treats his or her constituents in giving advice becomes an issue before the courts.  Members are not covered by insurance in such cases, and it is important that the issue of the scope of a Member’s duty is dealt with consistently.  Therefore, if proceedings are threatened, help will be available to Members from the House’s Legal Services Office.  (Contact: Michael Carpenter, x3776; Helen Emes, x3772)

Pay of senior Commons officials.  The Commission has agreed a pay freeze for senior Commons officials for two further years (2011/12 and 2012/13), in line with Civil Service pay.

UK Youth Parliament.  Limited additional assistance is being made available to the UK Youth Parliament from existing resources for 2011/12 to help resolve its current financial problems.  The financial help is £21,000 from the Commons share of the existing education budget towards travel costs for the 2011 sitting in the Chamber.  (Contact: Tom O’Leary, x3480)

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).