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


Summary of financial and other management information
available to Departments (see paragraph 5.42)

The Clerk’s Department

The Clerk of the House holds fortnightly meetings with his three most senior colleagues and the Departmental Finance Officer; the Heads of Office (the 13 most senior members of the Department) meet quarterly and there are two-monthly (or more frequent) meetings of Heads of Office supervising Select Committees. The collegiate nature of the Department is reflected in numerous (usually at least daily) reports and meetings between Principal Clerks, Clerks and other staff. Most staff work in close proximity, often in open plan offices, and informal contacts are important.

Statistics of activity levels and performance against target are collected daily or weekly and are presented on a variety of timescales. Budget holders and the DEO and DFO receive monthly returns of expenditure; significant variations are reported to the Accounting Officer. PES and Estimates bids are prepared in March and September, and approved by the Clerk of the House. Outturn information and forecasts are collated quarterly. The Departmental plan is discussed and updated in senior management meetings. Staff reporting is channelled through the DEO who receives all reports.

The Department of the Serjeant at Arms

The Senior Management Group meets informally weekly, and formally monthly when it reviews management information on the basis of a detailed monthly report. This report covers:

  • expenditure (month, to date, annual estimate and forecast for year, broken into expenditure type)
  • similar information for major projects
  • outstanding commitments
  • staff resources, turnover, overtime, sickness, training
  • use of consultants
  • security costs and staff
  • measures of demand (PWD orders placed, live projects, helpdesk queries, PDVN accounts and training, telephone extensions and changes) and trends
  • performance measures
  • activity indicators (room bookings, etc)

The individual Directorates (Core Serjeant, PWD and PCD) cascade from the SMG meeting to Directorate and sub-unit meetings.

  • Core Serjeant uses the monthly financial information from the DFA and the SAGE system to track invoices and payments
  • The heart ofPWD’s process is the 10 year rolling programme and the material produced from the PHARAOH computer system. This processes all orders, accounts, and project management and planned maintenance data. It also holds the approved list of contractors and the financial and contractual delegations for each member of staff. It produces a wide range of reports, covering project work, orders, contracts and invoices. A quarterly summary of key performance indicators is provided, together with statistics for individual project managers and ordering officers on indicators such as project time/budget, response times and estimating accuracy. Weekly reports give individual and overall productivity statistics for the Directly Employed Labour (DEL) workforce
  • Each project manager reports on progress and forecasts at a monthly meeting and provides monthly programme and contingency reports. There are monthly reports and vote management meetings between the Director of Works and the Principal Finance Officers of the two Houses. The Directorate provides quarterly reports to the House of Lords and to each Department in the Commons showing how much has been spent on works and premises attributable to them
  • PCD measures financial performance by spend against budget, reviewed at monthly meetings. Project performance (issues, timescale, resource conflicts and financial implications) is reviewed weekly. The top ten problems reported by the Help Desk are examined monthly. An information sheet is used as required to brief on particular technical or strategic issues

The Serjeant’s Department makes use of management awaydays (two a year) and Departmental Working groups at junior to middle management level.

The Department of the Library

The Management Team (the Librarian and five Directors) meets monthly, and holds briefing meetings with heads of section and unit about five times a year. Standing working groups deal with matters such as research, POLIS developments, and stock management. The Library uses the monthly management accounts from the DFA. An IT report on project progress, with performance statistics, is produced monthly. Sections and units produce annual reports.

The Department of Finance and Administration

The DFA is in the process of moving from a single management board consisting of the Director and six senior managers, meeting monthly, to a two-tier system. A Departmental Management Board, consisting of the Director and the Heads of the Establishments, Finance and Fees Offices, will provide direction and set priorities for work and use of resources. An Operations Planning and Management Group of middle managers will manage implementation.

The DFA uses the monthly information produced by its own Finance Office which goes to budget holders and to the Director.

A unit is being established in the DFA to collate management information and data on a regular and consistent basis. The aim is to devise performance indicators and measure the achievement of the business plan aim of delivering a high quality, cost–effective customer service.

The Department of the Official Report

The Hansard management board (the Editor and three Deputies) meets once a week, and there is a weekly meeting to plan the coverage of business in House and committee. The Deputy Editor (Personnel, Finance and Administration) holds regular meetings with cost centre budget holders, and other groups cover absence management and performance indicators.

Staff management information shows deployment, task, time and product. Monitoring of quality and performance is covered by monthly reports (including level of significant error and speed of process, including that of copy to printer).

Monthly management accounts from the DFA are supplemented by internally generated information on rising time, columns of debate and written Answers, and overtime, with the aim of improving overtime and PES calculations.

The Refreshment Department

There is a weekly Senior Management meeting (Head of Department and three senior managers); a weekly meeting of all Managers down to Band C (Grade 11), and daily or weekly team briefings. Management information systems cover:

  • annual budget formulated on the basis of income projections (derived from forecast covers and average spends), factoring in gross profit margins, staff costs and other expenditure
  • monthly trading statement, containing monthly and year to date covers, income and gross profits, by trading outlet, with budget variances and previous year comparison. The statement also includes stockholding and actual sales. Line managers report on any abnormal results; trading results and variances are discussed in the weekly senior management meeting and necessary action agreed
  • monthly management accounts include a summary of the trading statement, with details of staff costs and other expenditure, broken down by outlet category. They go to senior management in full, with relevant parts to line management for action
  • daily revenue reports show daily and week-to-date income, covers and spends, and are issued to all line managers
  • weekly revenue reports show weekly and month-to-date income, with previous year’s comparison
  • weekly sales reports are produced for each sales area where electronic point-of-sale systems are installed. These interface with the stock management system and sales ledgers
  • purchase requests are used for all non-stock purchases (such as equipment and training); line managers price, Purchasing Office obtains quotations; budget allocation is made, and senior management approval given, before the order is placed
  • purchase orders are raised by the Purchasing Office for all stock items. Software matches delivery notes, invoices and credit notes to the purchase order
  • stock management: quantities and values are updated by software to reflect the latest prices, and recipe costs are similarly updated. Invoices approved for payment are exported electronically to purchase ledger. At period end, stock count is checked for each trading area to calculate consumption
  • general ledger covers period end reconciliations and reports, including sales ledger, cashbook, write-offs and cashflow
  • the Trading Account is audited by the NAO, which also produces a review of outlet performance. Both are copied to line managers for comment and action
  • ad hoc reports are produced as required (for example, weekly food and beverage trading statement, sales mix analysis, and cash reconciliations)
  • management accounts are received from the DFA, giving expenses by type, and a monthly profile of expenditure
  • staff cost allocation by section is also produced by the DFA (although without allocation of budget figures)
  • overtime, attendance and timekeeping are monitored
  • quality standards, hygiene and health and safety are reviewed
  • year-on-year financial measures are compared, together with benchmarks for the industry generally

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© Parliamentary copyright 1999
Prepared 26 July 1999