Review of Management and Services: Report to the House of Commons Commission Annex C


State of implementation of the Ibbs Recommendations



Dissatisfaction with accommodation

  • Problems with the buildings, their use, the allocation of space, and maintenance and cleaning



9 a

Great dissatisfaction with Members’ accommodation at the time of Ibbs. Satisfaction levels now high. Residual concerns remain over Members' staff accommodation.

Repeated delays in: -

  • Minor repair work


12 a


Improved, although concerns remain

  • Substantial improvements to existing buildings


12 b


Implemented and continuing.

  • Major maintenance and improvements

12 c

Implemented and continuing.

  • New projects

12 d

Implemented and continuing.

Criticism of other House services

  • Catering


9 a

Great dissatisfaction with catering services at the time of Ibbs. Now re-organised and satisfaction levels high.

Lack of clarity about decisions on policy and execution of services

  • Committees to define broad lines of policy

9 b



Not improved as foreseen.


Domestic Committees continue to seek executive roles.

  • Officials to interpret policies


Domestic committees continue to address operational issues but less than before Ibbs.

Lack of financial management support for Commission

  • Total costs not brought together and placed under the control of the House of Commons Commission

9 b


9 e

Somewhat better.

SUN Accounts system implemented. Some financial management information available.

Complete but financial information systems require further development to support active budgetary management.

Commission, Services Committee, Board and Departments – lack of clarity in responsibilities and relationships

  • Strong leadership, clear policies and strong management structure required






Commission does not yet provide strategic direction. Board of Management developing stronger corporate role.

  • Commission to play a more prominent role (communicative, decisions published)


No. Commission communicates more but many Members do not understand its role and decisions. Ibbs recommendation for published minutes not implemented.

  • Commission to be responsible for overall management strategy, all issues containing a financial element including budgets, estimates and performance targets



54 a



Not fully. No strategic direction. Considers staffing issues and large spend projects.

  • New Finance and Services Committee to be responsible for detailed consideration of all financial matters including priority for expenditure

Annex G


Appointed July 1991. More active recently but has not fully taken on intended role. Perception of functions and powers not generally clear.

  • Services Committee to be abolished and superseded by new F&S



Annex G


  • Sub Committees replaced by the following Domestic Committees: -



  • Catering


  • Accommodation and Works


  • Administration


  • Information


  • Broadcasting (to be subsumed into the Administration Committee at a later date)

Annex G

Broadcasting Committee responsibilities not yet incorporated within Administration.

  • New Domestic Committees’ main role to make policy recommendations


Committees seek executive authority to varying degrees.

  • Appointment of specialist advisers

Annex G


Little use of specialist advisers.

  • Full financial information provided by the Director of Finance

Annex G


Complete but financial information systems require further development to support active budgetary management.

  • Full minutes to be published

Annex G


Minutes are formal documents of record, not papers for action. Circulation of much fuller informal minutes where these are produced is very restricted.

  • Recommendations of the Domestic Committees considered by F&S, reporting on financial and administrative implications and recommending an order of priority.

Annex G


F&S does not make recommendations on priorities.

  • F&S offers advice to Commission on Departmental budget proposals in advance of final decision being taken and subsequently monitors performance against plans.

Annex G


F&S considers Estimates in advance of Commission’s decision. Performance of targets against plan not monitored.

  • Domestic Committees discussing executive matters would do so only as consumer groups except minor matters delegated by the Speaker or the Commission.


Annex G 3

Committees seek executive authority to varying degrees.

  • F&S Committee membership. Chairman a member of the Commission, other Chairmen of the four Domestic Committees and two Deputy Chief Whips

Annex G


Yes. Larger than recommended but included the seven specified.

  • Domestic Committees should be Chairman plus eight others.


Seven members in the last Parliament increased to nine at the start of this.

  • Nominations should be recommended by the Committee of Selection

Annex G



  • Board of Management to be point at which Estimates, budgets and performance targets and results to be brought together, assessed and presented to F&S


Board of Management has scrutinised Estimates and budgets over last 2 years. Performance target monitoring not yet in place.

  • Clerk of the House to exert required leadership



  • Secretary to Commission and Clerk of F&S to be independent of staff of the Domestic Committees

Annex G



  • Director of Works to be appointed, supported by a few, highly competent administrative staff including finance and contract management.




  • Very small pool of DEL required


Yes and reducing

  • Director of Works to be a member of the Department of Serjeant at Arms



  • Ignorance amongst Members about House administration and methods of achieving change or solving problems in service delivery


Survey indicates no significant change. However, analysis of Questions appears to indicate that other channels are now generally used.

  • Better information should lead to a marked reduction in the number of Questions on domestic matters.


Marked reduction achieved.

  • The new arrangements should be set out unambiguously and then adhered to: -
  • Roles of Commission, F&S, Domestic Committees and Departments to be clearly stated.
  • Procedure for representation of complaints should be greatly simplified









Members’ Handbook provides some information but detailed responsibilities not clearly defined in a single accessible document.

Lack of financial management systems and controls, and arrangements based on these, do not exist.

  • Straightforward comprehensive costing system required

9e, 17



Better. SUN Accounts system in place. RAB being implemented. Ability to produce detailed cost information not yet available.

  • Director of Finance needed with wider role, advising the Clerk, Speaker, Commission etc.


In place.

Heads of Department not required to work towards financial targets

  • Departments to agree with the Commission: -


  • Services to be provided


Published in House of Commons Commission Annual Report but in general terms.

  • Resources available


Budgets agreed. Greater scrutiny being exercised by Board of Management and Commission.

  • Results to be achieved


Not formally. Although published in House of Commons Commission Annual Report no formal scrutiny takes place.

  • Publishing of clear statement of the role, purpose of each department, broad structure, organisational systems, main reporting lines and also possible future developments


Published in House of Commons Commission Annual Report. Statements of role being clarified under RAB.

  • Review variations between predicted activities and results achieved in practice


Not generally although business and financial plans working towards this.

  • Quality of service and financial targets to be developed


Annex H

Some Service Level Agreements and financial targets in place developments but more could be done.

  • Budgeting and manpower planning to be introduced

Annex H

Significant advances – PMC (F), business cases, House-wide Establishments and Financial Policies, RAB, move towards better control of manpower spend.

  • Performance measures

Annex H

Widely but not consistently used throughout Departments. Greater emphasis on measuring activity rather than performance. Measurement techniques need further development.

  • Reporting and accountability

Annex H

Departmental reports now included in Commission Annual Report. Business and financial plans in place but remain internal to the administration. Internal Audit rJ gime in place.

  • Objective setting

Annex H

Considerable recent progress. Commission does not yet set strategic aims and priorities for the House service. Extensive objective setting at office, section, unit and individual level.

  • Financial management information

Annex H

House-wide SUN Accounts system and other departmental systems. Unit cost measurement information not available. Financial information tailored to allow high level decision-making not routinely available.

  • Departmental reports to House of Commons Commission to be published as annexes to Annual Report



  • Lack of cost and budget information


Budgeting has improved but cost information remains rudimentary.

  • Lack of readily useable financial information


Improved but lack of easy user access to SUN Accounts system means full use is not made of project coding. Staffing costs cannot easily be allocated to activities. RAB may help.

  • Lack of professional financial advice. To be rectified by DoFA to be PFO and key adviser to Commission, Clerk and F&S





In the absence of clear information there is no confidence that money spent by the House is appropriate or well spent

  • NAO to conduct regular VFM studies





Better but management accounting information is still inadequate.


NAO has not conducted the VFM studies as Ibbs envisaged. VFM studies carried out by Internal Audit staff assisted by NAO.

  • VFM studies to be subject to review by PAC


VFM studies reported to F&S and Board of Management.

Arrangements for financing and controlling works and accommodation unsatisfactory

  • Commission to take over Works and HMSO Parliamentary Service Votes









  • Board of Management does not exercise an effective corporate management role


Much improved but still could be more strategic and directive.

  • Staff are reluctant to take the initiative if Members’ wishes are unclear or divided


Better, but Members' views remain pre-eminent and relationships between management bodies somewhat blurred. Staff are still reluctant to take initiative.

  • Senior staff welcoming the challenge of delivering a service to Members against a budget



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Prepared 26 July 1999