Changes in the
18. The Chairman of Committees, Lord Tordoff, retired
at the end of the 2001-02 session. He was succeeded by Lord
Brabazon of Tara, previously Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees.
Lord Grenfell was appointed Principal Deputy in his place.
19. On 12 March 2003, the Leader of the House announced
the retirement of the Clerk of the Parliaments, Sir Michael
Davies, with effect from 14 July. The appointment of a successor
was made following a trawl among the staff of the House, the
House of Commons and the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies.
On 21 May, the Leader announced that a Board held to consider
applications had unanimously recommended the appointment of
Mr Paul Hayter as Clerk of the Parliaments.
20. Last year's Annual Report described how a Working
Group, chaired by the then Chairman of Committees, Lord Tordoff,
recommended a number of administrative changes. These were,
for the most part, endorsed by the House of Lords' Offices Committee5,
and agreed by the House on 10 June 2002. The recommendations
may be summed up as follows:
Committee and its Finance and Staff Sub-Committee should be
abolished, and their functions taken over by a new Committee
called the House Committee;
sub-committees of the Offices Committee should be reconstituted
as free-standing select committees, acting primarily as "user
The House Committee
should be supported by a Management Board of senior officials,
chaired by the Clerk of the Parliaments;
be an Audit Committee.
21. These recommendations were implemented from the new
Parliamentary session in November 2002. The aspirations underlying
That the Administration
should develop a more strategic and corporate approach to
the delivery of services, defining long-term objectives and
the ways to achieve them accompanied by more rigorous
That the House
as a whole, through the House Committee, should "own" this
strategy, both helping to shape it and measuring its achievement;
and the Administration, as represented by the House Committee
and the Management Board, should work closely together;
That there should
be greater transparency towards Members as a whole
more information made available to them, with simpler administrative
structures and lines of responsibility.
By the end of the period covered by this Report, it was clear
that these objectives were beginning to be realised.
22. In place of the 28-strong Offices Committee, the
House Committee has 11 members: the Chairman of Committees,
the Leaders of the three main parties and the Convenor of the
Cross Bench Peers, and six back-bench Members. In the case of
the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, and the Crossbenchers,
their back-bench Members were elected by their party colleagues.
The full membership of the new domestic committees is set out
in Appendix A, and their work in the early months of the 2002-03
session is described below.
23. Since its appointment, the House Committee has met
monthly. So as to increase openness and accountability, the
Committee decided wherever possible to post papers on the House
of Lords' Intranet: agendas are made available a week before
meetings, and minutes and memoranda shortly after meetings have
taken place. The Committee reserved the right to withhold confidential
papers from general disclosure, but this right has, in practice,
been little used.
24. At its first meeting, the Committee agreed the House
of Lords Estimate for 200304. The Estimate was, on this
occasion, presented in a traditional form. However, the Committee's
intention is that the preparation of the Estimate will be fully
integrated into strategic and business planning. To this end,
the Committee agreed the House of Lords Strategic Plan in March.
The Plan (set out in Appendix B) sets the overall aim, the primary
objectives, values and tasks of the Administration. It provides
the framework on which business planning, the setting of expenditure
levels, the prioritising of different objectives, and ultimately
ways to measure their achievement, can be built. The Committee
agreed a Business Plan for 2004-07 in July.
25. The Committee made three reports to the House. The
first6 set out the Committee's
recommendation that details relating to Members' claims for
expenses should be published, with effect from late 2004, to
meet the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(see paragraph 79). This recommendation was agreed by the House
on 14 January7. The two other
reports, on the Strategic Plan and on new arrangements whereby
Members can claim expenses incurred in EU travel on Parliamentary
business, were both made for information and were not debated.
26. The Committee has also expressed support for enhanced
cooperation with the authorities of the House of Commons. This
reflects not only the importance of joint Parliamentary services
but also the many interests which the two Houses share. The
Chairman accordingly wrote to the Speaker suggesting that the
Committee and the House of Commons Commission should meet to
discuss issues of common concern. After a positive response
from the Commission, preparations were made for a joint meeting
the first of its kind at this level which was
held in June 2003.
27. Although the relationship of the other domestic committees
to the House Committee is no longer that of sub-committee and
parent committee, each committee operates "within financial
limits approved by the House Committee". Thus, the Chairman
of the Information Committee appeared before the House Committee
in April 2003 to argue the case for an increase in the number
of PCs available for loan to Members. The House Committee agreed
that some financial provision should be made for this purpose
with effect from the financial year 2003-04.
28. The House of Lords' Management Board was formally
established in October 2002. Its structure is designed to reflect
the wide range of services provided to the House and its Members
and to encourage a sense of corporate identity among the staff.
The Clerk of the Parliaments is Chairman and six other members
represent the following service areas:
29. The Board's main functions are to:
Assist the House
Committee in preparing the Strategic Plan and to formulate
a Business Plan for the implementation of the strategy.
Advise the House
Committee and scrutinise the papers to go before it and the
draft Estimates and longer term financial plans.
Respond to specific
directions from the House Committee.
Manage the House
30. The Board has sought to develop working practices
which allow it to work effectively with, and respond to, the
House Committee and to be open and accountable to the staff
and the offices which it represents.
31. Much of the Board's work since October 2002 has been
devoted to strategic and business planning. The Board has also
agreed a system of risk management and a set of corporate risks.
The Board member responsible for the management of each corporate
risk is obliged to monitor the risk and report to the Board
to an agreed timetable. Other matters considered include revised
sets of financial delegations from the House Committee to the
Clerk of the Parliaments and from the Clerk to heads of offices,
and proposals for an initial assessment of the prospects of
Investors in People accreditation.
32. The Board recognises the importance of effective
human resource and staff development policies, and a senior
management training programme has been set in train to ensure
that staff have the skills required to adapt to the new management
33. The Audit Committee was first appointed by the Finance
and Staff Sub-Committee in July 2002. Its first Report to the
House Committee, for 2002-03, appears at the end of this Review
of the Year (pages 37 to 40).
The Audit Committee: from
left to right, Dame Valerie Strachan, Lord Christopher, Lord
Shutt of Greetland, Lord Alexander of Weedon (Chairman), Lord
Best, Kate Ball (Clerk).
Administration and Works Committee
34. The Administration and Works Committee has responsibility
for administrative services, security and works as well as the
overall provision of accommodation, within the financial limits
set by the House Committee. In 2002-03 it considered a report
on the completion of the restoration of Old Palace Yard, proposals
to develop new facilities for visitors to the Palace, as well
as the ongoing programme of works and maintenance on the Parliamentary
35. The major issue facing the Committee is the provision
of satisfactory accommodation. During 2002-03, Committee Room
5 was acquired from the House of Commons and this has helped
to ease the growing pressure on committee rooms. The Committee
was kept informed of progress in the refurbishment of Fielden
House, which will become available for occupation late in 2004.
In addition, Black Rod's Department has conducted a detailed
accommodation review, which will inform the development of a
long-term accommodation strategy.
36. At the start of the 2002-03 session, the Library
and Computer Sub-Committee was re-established as the Information
Committee, with a range of new responsibilities, such as information
services for Members and the public, broadcasting, and the work
of the Record Office, in addition to its longstanding responsibility
for the Library and information technology. Lord Baker of Dorking
succeeded Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn as Chairman.
37. The Committee is actively involved in advising on
the development of the new House of Lords' Intranet, has made
proposals to the House Committee on visitors' facilities and
the provision of computers to Members, and has recommended that
webcasting of proceedings should be further developed (see paragraph
93). It has established a regular Information Newsletter, with
up-to-date news about information services in the House. The
Newsletter is available on the Intranet and from the Library
and Printed Paper Office.
38. The Refreshment Committee is the main Members' user
group for the services provided by the Refreshment Department
and assists the Clerk of the Parliaments in supervising the
financial performance of the Department. Lord Colwyn remained
39. The Committee has endorsed the outline plans for
the major refurbishment of the main kitchen and back of house
area, and has made consequential arrangements for the provision
of catering services when the main kitchen is closed in the
summer of 2003. It conducted a full survey of Members' views
about the catering services and facilities in the House, which
will assist it in identifying and responding to demands for
Works of Art Committee
40. At the start of the 2002-03 session, the Advisory
Panel on Works of Art was re-established as a Select Committee.
One of its first initiatives was to agree an acquisition policy,
setting out formally the types of works of art which it would
seek to acquire and the criteria by which their suitability
for the permanent collection would be judged. Baroness Hilton
of Eggardon remained as Chairman.
41. Details of the purchases of works of art made on
behalf of the House by the Committee will be included in the
notes to the Resource Accounts for 2002-03. Major purchases
included a pair of watercolours by Hugh Buchanan of the Lying
in State of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in April 2002.
A third watercolour, by Alexander Creswell, was generously donated
to the House by Lord and Lady Jacobs. Another commission was
an oil painting by Julian Barrow of the presentation of Addresses
by both Houses to Her Majesty The Queen to mark Her Golden Jubilee
(see photographs on pages 26 and 27).
42. Shortly after the end of the period covered by this
Report, a portrait by Thomas Murray of William, Earl Cowper,
first Lord Chancellor of Great Britain after the Act of Union
in 1707, was acquired, thanks to the generosity of Lord Gavron,
a member of the Committee. It now hangs in the House of Lords
Report, 2002-03 (HL Paper 19).
Deb. Cols 136-141.