Decisions 20 January 2003

Monday 20 January 2003 at 5pm in Speaker's House


The Speaker, in the Chair
Mr Stuart Bell
Sir Patrick Cormack
Mr Eric Forth
Mr Archy Kirkwood

1.  Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life: Regulating Standards of Conduct in the House of Commons

The Commission discussed the Report with Sir George Young MP, Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges, and Sir Philip Mawer, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

The Commission agreed its response to the Committee's Report [published on 11 February as HC 422].

2.  Retailing and Merchandising

The Director of Catering Services and the Director of Finance and Administration were present.

Mr Bell reported that the Finance and Services Committee agreed with the Board of Management's strategy to rationalise and make best use of existing resources and sales outlets before developing new activities.  The Commission agreed with this approach.  It further agreed that the sales kiosk in Westminster Hall should be closed; that the role of the Parliamentary Bookshop should be expanded to emphasise education and information for the public; and that that proceeds from merchandise based on works of art should be paid into the Speaker's Art Fund.

3.  Childcare

The Director of Finance and Administration was present.

The Commission agreed that costed options for childcare for Members, their staff and House staff should be prepared by the Board of Management in consultation with the Administration Committee, and that the matter should then be considered by the Finance and Services Committee.

4.  Publication of minutes on the Internet

The Commission agreed that its minutes should be published on the Internet, and approved the draft minutes for October to December 2002.

5.  Information Committee Report: Digital Technology: working for Parliament and the Public

The Commission agreed with the Finance and Services Committee that the higher priority recommendations of the Information Committee should be implemented and the costs and impacts of other recommendations reviewed.  Progress would be reported to the Finance and Services Committee.

The Commission also agreed that the five principles for ICT use set out in the Report should be taken into account in future strategic planning.

6.  Delegations to Domestic Committees

The Committee approved an updated list of delegations of authority to the Accommodation and Works, Administration, Broadcasting, Catering and Information Committees, and agreed to consult the Committees. 

7.  Select Committee Travel

The Commission considered a request for the Liaison Committee for an increase in its budgets for general overseas travel by select committees and for travel in a representative capacity.  The Commission agreed to increase the budget for overseas travel by select committees from £1,024K in 2002-03 to £1,134K for 2003-04, but decided to defer a decision on the rest of the Liaison Committee's request pending a meeting with its Chairman.