Employment of Members' staff by the House - House of Commons Commission Contents

10  Conclusion

104. Our recommendations for implementing the House's proposal, as requested by the House, are as follows:

  • The limit on the staffing of Members' offices from public funds should continue to be a financial one rather than a limit on the number of staff paid for.
  • The employing body should be a new statutory body with Members represented on it.
  • The House should have responsibility and the last word in cases of dismissal of staff, and the respective roles of House and Member in this area should be carefully defined.
  • The House should have only a minimal role in recruitment, and should not require "fair and open recruitment", but should insist on certain standard recruitment procedures as a condition of funding.
  • Provision would need to he made to enable the House to meet its obligations under employment law, especially as regards equal treatment.
  • As much flexibility as possible should be retained in the way Members' staff are organised, and Members should continue to be able to take on unpaid interns.
  • There should be no deterioration in the terms and conditions of existing staff, and they should have the option of redundancy rather than reassignment if the Member they work for leaves the House.

105. We believe our proposed scheme would be the best way of achieving what the House decided it wanted in April and would be workable, although the problem of what to do with the staff of Members who have left the House remains unresolved. However, we do not commend our scheme to the House, for the following reasons:

  • it would have heavy costs;
  • it would secure no clear benefits;
  • it would place Members' staff in an ambiguous employment relationship; and
  • it would significantly reduce the flexibility Members currently have to manage their staff.

106. Our preference would be for the House (or if appropriate the IPSA) instead to give greater support to Members as employers, in the ways described above.[87]

107. We have noted the criticisms from some Members' staff that there was no consultation before the House took its decision in April.[88] If the proposal that the House should become the employer of Members' staff is to proceed, it will be essential that there is extensive consultation both with Members and with their staff on a specific detailed proposal before it is put to the House.

87   Para 101. Back

88   eg MS 3, 10, 47, 72. Back

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