House of Commons Governance Select Committee – Thursday 6 November 2014

On Thursday 6 November 2014 the House of Commons Governance Committee heard evidence from Myfanwy Barrett, David Natzler and Andrew Walker who are members of the Management Board.

Valerie said:

“David Natzler is the Director General of the Chamber and Committee Services. I asked him to clarify his opening remarks about resisting any divisions and to confirm that it is the Members who decide what the Management Board implements, which he did.”

“I focused on the relationship between the Board and the Commission. There has clearly been an issue that has arisen and we have been tasked by the House to look at the governance structure. I asked if the Management Board spoke to the Commission about this lack of clarity. I was told that on the whole they receive very clear outcomes. I asked for clarification on the organisation and how the House of Commons Commission and Management Board operates. I was told that the Commission is in charge and that they have final accountability.”

The House of Commons Commission

The Commission, chaired by Mr Speaker, is responsible for the administration and services of the House of Commons, including the maintenance of the Palace of Westminster and the rest of the Parliamentary Estate.

The Commission receives advice from the following four committees:

Finance & Services Committee

This Committee considers the expenditure and administration of the services of the House of Commons. It has responsibility for detailed scrutiny of the House’s budgets. The Committee also has responsibilities to prepare the Administration Estimate and Members Estimate for submission to the House of Commons Commission and the Members Estimate Committee respectively, to monitor the financial performance of the House Administration and to report to the House of Commons Commission, the Members Estimate Committee or the Speaker on the financial and administrative implications of recommendations made to them by other Committees of the House.

Administration Committee

This Committee looks at the services provided by the House of Commons for both Members of Parliament and the public. This Committee incorporates the work of five former domestic committees: Accommodation & Works, Administration, Broadcasting, Catering and Information. The Committee therefore looks at areas such as: catering services; the education service; the gift shops; IT services; the broadcasting of Parliament; rules of access; and the management of the buildings and facilities which make up the parliamentary Estate.
As an advisory committee, the Committee makes recommendations about how these services can be improved to the House of Commons Commission, chaired by the Speaker, which oversees the management of the House.

Administration Estimate Audit Committee

This Committee supports the Clerk of the House and Chief Executive by advising him in relation to his responsibilities as Accounting Officer. The Committee have general oversight of the work of Internal Audit, with particular emphasis on promoting economy, efficiency and effectiveness, on value-for-money studies, and on risk assessment and control assurance.
The Committee receive and consider reports from Internal Audit and other sources and report annually as part of the House of Commons Commission’s Annual Report.

Members Estimate Audit Committee

The Committee was established to support the Accounting Officer in discharging his responsibilities under the Members Estimate, particularly in maintaining an effective system of internal control.
The Committee receives and considers reports from Internal Audit and other sources and produces a report to be published with the Members Estimate Annual Report and Resource Accounts.