Review of Management and Services: Report to the House of Commons Commission
Review of Management and Services: Report to the House of Commons Commission Part 9



9.1    Ibbs recommended that the Commission should take over

  • the then HMSO Parliamentary Services Vote (1990–91 Estimate: £21 million)
  • three minor Votes covering grants in aid for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the Inter–Parliamentary Union (IPU), the British–American Parliamentary Group (BAPG) and the History of Parliament Trust (1990–91 Estimate: £1.8 million)
  • a Vote to compensate HMSO for losses on the provision of Reports of Parliamentary Debates at less than full cost (which at the time was in the process of being phased out) (1990–91 Estimate: £1.2 million)
  • publicity services then being provided by the Central Office of Information (1990–91 Estimate: £0.02 million)
  • These recommendations were accepted, with the exception of the grants–in–aid for the CPA, IPU and BAPG.

9.2    The significant area of change was in the House’s assumption of responsibility for printing and publishing expenditure. One incidental but important benefit of this was the very much stronger position it gave the Speaker and the Commission in protecting the House’s interests when HMSO was privatised.

9.3    Management of the House’s printing and publishing is in the hands of the cross–Departmental Printing and Publishing Management Group (PPMG), which consists of senior officials including the Director of Finance and Administration and the Deliverer of the Vote. It is chaired by the Clerk of Legislation.

9.4    The PPMG appears to us to have operated very effectively. It has proceeded on a corporate, House–wide basis (perhaps surprisingly, Ibbs had envisaged Departments undertaking separate negotiations with suppliers). It has maintained close supervision of TSO’s performance, holding 6–monthly review meetings with TSO representatives. It has taken a rigorous approach to the tendering process with the end of the TSO contract in prospect, developing a project plan and contract strategy, and using project teams and outside expertise in support of this. Printing costs have been tightly controlled: total expenditure has fallen from £16.4 million in 1992–93 to £13.6 million in 1998–99, assisted by more pre–publishing work being carried out in–House.

9.5    We have no recommendations to make on printing and publishing. As with other areas of “common” expenditure, we expect that improved systems of accounting will link expenditure in this field, as in others, more closely to individual areas of activity.

9.6    We see no reason to disturb the current grant–in–aid arrangements for the CPA, IPU and BAPG.

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Prepared 26 July 1999