Decisions 12 May 2003

Monday 12 May 2003 at 5pm in Speaker's House


The Speaker, in the Chair
Mr Stuart Bell
Sir Patrick Cormack
Mr Eric Forth
Dr John Reid

Apologies: Sir Archy Kirkwood

1.  Administration Estimate: 2002-03 outturn

The Director of Finance and Administration was present.

The Commission noted the Director of Finance and Administration's report on the Administration Estimate for 2002-03.

2.  Freedom of Information

The Director of Finance and Administration and the Freedom of Information Officer were present.

The Commission discussed in further detail the arrangements for publication of information about Members' expenses and allowances from late 2004.

3.  Exhibitions

The Commission agreed that, so far as the House of Commons was concerned, and subject to the agreement of the three controlling authorities (the Speaker, the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Great Chamberlain), exhibitions to be held in Westminster Hall should be permitted where:

  • they had a strong Parliamentary connection
  • they would contribute to increased public understanding of the work of the House and increase its accessibility
  • they were affordable and did not clash with other planned events
  • adequate arrangements for advertising and supporting material as well as contract and insurance would be made

The Commission agreed to raise these criteria with the Lords House Committee.

4.  Impact of the revised sitting hours

The Commission considered a report from the Board of Management on the impact of changes in the House's sitting hours on staff up to Easter, and agreed to revisit the issue in the autumn with a further assessment up to the Summer Adjournment.

5.  Webcasting

The Director of Parliamentary Broadcasting was present.

The Commission approved proposals from the Board of Management:

  • that be established as a permanent webcasting service
  • that all public committee meetings be broadcast (initially in audio only)
  • that a searchable archive of the previous fortnight's transmissions be introduced
  • that webcasting be available on the (internal) Parliamentary Data and Video Network once its upgrade is complete.

6.  Any other business

The Commission agreed to consult the Information Committee on the form of statistics published on Members' contributions to debate and questions asked in the House.