House of Commons Refreshment Department Trading Account 1998-99 Commission Responsibilities

Statement of Responsibilities of the House of Commons Commission,
Accounting Officer and Additional Accounting Officer of the
House of Commons Refreshment Department


    1.  Under section 3(1) of the House of Commons (Administration) Act 1978 the House of Commons Commission are required to prepare and lay before the House of Commons an estimate of expenses of the House Departments for each financial year. The Leader of the House's statement of 4 December 1979 announced the Commission's decision to use its power under section 4(3) and Schedule 1 of the Act to create a new Refreshment Department as a House Department, operating a separate trading account. The accounts are prepared in a form determined by the Commission, on an accruals basis, and must give a true and fair view of the Refreshment Department Trading Account's affairs at the period end and of its income and expenditure and cash flows for the financial period. Under section 3(2) of the 1978 Act the House of Commons Commission has appointed the Clerk of the House of Commons as the Accounting Officer for the House of Commons. The Director of Catering Services has been appointed by the Commission as an Additional Accounting Officer for the Refreshment Department.

    2.  In preparing these accounts, the Accounting Officer and Additional Accounting Officer were required to:

    (a)observe relevant accounting and disclosure requirements and apply suitable accounting policies on a consistent basis;
    (b)make judgements and estimates on a reasonable basis;
    (c)state whether applicable accounting standards have been followed, and disclose and explain any material departures in the financial statements;
    (d)prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis, unless it is inappropriate to presume that operations will continue.

    3.  The Accounting Officer has overall responsibility for the whole House of Commons administration, including permanent staff of the Refreshment Department borne on the House Administration Vote. Within that overall responsibility, the Additional Accounting Officer, as the permanent head of the Refreshment Department, is responsible for the day to day administration of the Department and for preparation of its Trading Account. The relevant responsibilities, including the responsibility for the propriety and regularity of finances for which the Additional Accounting Officer is answerable and for the keeping of proper records, are set out in the Annex to the letter of appointment signed by the Chairman of the House of Commons Commission dated 6 March 1992.

Responsibilites of the Catering Committee

    The Catering Committee (established under Standing Order No 125 1991-92) fulfils an advisory role on behalf of Members and considers policy questions concerning the Department's services to Members and others in the House.

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Prepared 27 July 1999