Appendix B: Savings Programme |
1. The work to deliver the remaining
savings is being carried out in separate strands, each focusing
on a different area of the business. The strands sit within three
broad themes: harnessing technology, making better use of the
estate and changing and simplifying the way we work (see figure
1 below). The remainder of this appendix explains the changes
proposed, all of which underpin the financial plan presented in
Appendix A. Members, their staff and staff of the House were consulted
on outline plans for these strands in autumn 2011.
2. The estimated annual savings
and target net annual income from these plans amount to £20
million from 2014/15. As noted in the financial plan, this leaves
a gap of £2.2 million if the target Estimate for 2014/15
of £210 million is to be achieved. This will be closed by
driving out financial benefits from programmes and projects, by
containing upward cost pressures and by reviewing further our
Figure 1: Savings strand
STRAND 1: PRINT TO WEB
Estimated annual saving: £2
3. The Print to Web (P2W) strand
of the Savings Programme aims to redesign services relating to
business papers and official publications so that they not only
cost less but are also more effective. These changes capitalise
on existing trends in the ways in which Members and others are
choosing to access information on parliamentary proceedings, allowing,
for instance, wider and more effective use of mobile devices.
The interests of those who require printed copy will continue
to be catered for by taking an incremental approach to change
and by balancing the delivery method with demand.
4. Between February and April 2012,
Members were consulted on specific changes to the arrangements
for publishing the House's business papers (each of the proposals,
which together comprise the print to web package, is set out in
table 1 below). Every Member of the House was invited by an email
from the Chairman of the Finance and Services Committee to comment
on specific proposals and, a month or so later, subscribers to
the Hansard Bound Volume Service and the Weekly Edition of Hansard
were invited to comment on the changes proposed to those services
by letter. The proposals were also presented to the Liaison Committee,
the Administration Committee and the Chairman of the Procedure
Table 1: The package of print to
|1||Ending the hard back Hansard bound volume service, including provision to Members, for all but reference and archival purposes
Expected savings assume ending with the last volume of the 2010-12 session
|£715,000 in 2012/13, rising to £970,000 a year by 2013/14
||Library volumes will be available to Members for reference. Individual Members will have option to purchase personal copies at a discount of 20% from the public cover price.
|2||No longer binding Hansard daily parts into a soft back Hansard weekly volume
Expected saving reflects halting the service at the end of 2010-12 session
|£158,000 on 2012/13, rising to £189,000 a year by 2013/14
||Specially designed box files to make storage and retrieval of daily parts easier to be available to Members from the Vote Office
|3 ||Publishing Select Committee oral evidence electronically
||£470,000 a year
||Better delivery, functionality, presentation and indexing of digital alternatives prior to 2014/15; provision of print on request service
|4 ||Reorganising and reducing the frequency with which some sections of the Order Paper relating to Future Business are printed
||£112,000 a year
||Updating on line at least as often as now. Better delivery, functionality, presentation and indexing of digital alternatives prior to 2014/15
|5 ||Not printing written answers to Parliamentary Questions in daily Hansard
||£300,000 a year
||On line and other digital versions published overnight or faster prior to change
|6 ||Reducing expenditure on purchasing Government publications
||On going from 2011/12
||Additional reductions of £51,000 in 2012/13, rising to £126,000 a year by 2013/14
||Improved access to on line and other digital versions complemented by on request printing
5. The Finance and Services Committee
considered carefully the points raised by those few Members who
told the Committee that they would regret the provision of Hansard
Bound Volumes being ended. The Committee was sensitive to the
views of those who value these volumes as a testament to their
time in Parliament or as a physical demonstration of the dignity
of Parliament. It is because the force of these arguments is recognised
that Members who wish to continue to receive Bound Volumes will
be able to do so, and at a discount from the public price. But,
in recommending the changes in table 1 above, the Committee weighed
these concerns against other factors.
6. The Finance and Services Committee
therefore recommended to the Commission that changes to printing,
publishing and purchasing arrangements be made as set out in table
1 provided that:
- Where relevant enhancements to the
digital version of a publication are in place prior to changes
in printing arrangements being made;
- confidence remains high that the
estimated savings will be realised by the change;
- where printed versions of publications
are weekly, the aim should be that each is published in print
on the same day of the week; and
- the print to web strand of the Savings
Programme continues to address the concerns of those Members who
do not favour a particular change where to do so is consistent
with the overall aim of redesigning printing and publication services
so that they not only cost less but are also more effective.
7. The Commission agreed the package
of changes in June 2012.
STRAND 2: ICT STRATEGY
Estimated annual saving: £3
8. Parliament's new strategy for
information and communications technology (ICT) will enable Members
and staff to access information and communications at speed, at
any time of day, from any location and on the move. Devices that
facilitate these new more mobile ways of working are entering
the market all the time, and the ICT strategy responds to people
wanting the flexibility to be able to use a wider range of devices.
The strategy also seeks to exploit the rapid advances in 'cloud
computing' whilst meeting Parliament's security requirements.
Cloud computing can be described as the ability to access services
and products via the internet, reducing the need for infrastructure
on site. The ICT strategy aims to use these developments to improve
flexibility and choice whilst transforming PICT and reducing costs.
Work in this area applies to the House of Commons and House of
Lords, as ICT services are provided by PICT as a joint department.
9. A saving of £800,000 a year
has already been achieved by reducing the requirement for contractor
and specialist support, decommissioning legacy systems and some
restructuring within PICT. This contributes to an overall savings
target of £3 million (House of Commons share). Pending a
decision on the business case for cloud computing in January 2013,
a further £2.4 million of savings is projected to be achieved
10. The implications for users of
implementing Parliament's ICT strategy are explained in table
Table 2: Implications of ICT strategy
|Better customer service
|1||PICT Local, Commons Members Centre and x2001 service will still be provided.
|2||Members of the two Houses and their staff, as well as an increased proportion of Administration staff, will be able to choose the mix of equipment that suits their way of working including using their own devices instead of taking PICT provided devices.
|3||Users will be able to print on demand but overall there will be less printing and a rationalised portfolio of printers.
|4||Users will be able to access PICT's services online via a PICT service portal, which will offer users fast access to information about the services they have / can have from PICT in a single consolidated personalised view. The online PICT service portal will provide users with a single gateway to all PICT services, and allow them to interact with PICT's advisers through live feed or chat, and search a knowledge base through a user-friendly site.
|Improved access to services
|5||Email will be provided by a cloud-based supplier, if the business case is approved by the two Houses in January 2013. If approved, 100% of email services will be cloud-hosted.
|6||Wireless internet will be available everywhere across the Parliamentary Estate.
|7||By April 2014 Members, their staff and House staff will be able to connect to the information and services they need from anywhere at any time and from any device.
|8||The shift towards cloud hosting will be greater than 80/20 in favour of the cloud, meaning fewer than 20% of Parliament's ICT services will be hosted on the premises.
|9||Office productivity tools (applications for viewing, creating and modifying general documents, such as spreadsheets, presentations, letters etc) will be cloud-hosted along with the associated file storage.
|10||Users will be able to launch their applications from any device via an online application portal.
|11||PICT will have the capability to integrate and consolidate data and applications using a common proven architecture, improving the availability, reliability and accuracy of data and reducing the length and cost of projects involving ICT that use those data and applications.
|12||There will be no customisation of non-bespoke applications.
|13||Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) may have replaced analogue reducing communication costs and increasing the flexibility of devices users can use to make calls and send messages.
|14||PICT will have increased ICT security and will operate a new set of ICT security standards and policies.
|15||PICT staff will have an increased understanding of Parliament and of its users.
|16||From 2014/15 PICT will deliver £3 million of savings from its annual resource budget (House of Commons share).
|17||A significant proportion of those savings will come from reducing the number of posts in PICT, some of which have already been made by voluntary exit schemes.
STRAND 3: INCOME GENERATION
Target net annual income: £3
11. For many years the House has
carried out revenue raising activities notably through catering,
retail and visitor services. These have been expanding in recent
years, for example through Saturday opening for visitors.
12. At its meeting in July 2012,
the House of Commons Commission considered the Administration
Committee's Report on Visitor Access and Facilities (HC
13 2012-13). The Commission agreed that there should be a clearer
separation between Parliament as a working body and Parliament
as a visitor attraction and agreed that the financial plans should
be based on developing a number of activities for the House to
operate more commercially as a visitor attraction. The issue of
income generation was aired in the debate on the floor of the
House on 15 March 2012 (HC Deb, cc400-430) on the question of
charging for Clock [Elizabeth] Tower tours. The Administration
Committee's report was debated in Westminster Hall on 4 September
13. Three guiding principles have
underpinned the development of the plans:
- Parliament is a working institution
and income generation must not impede Members of Parliament in
carrying out their duties;
- Citizens have a right to engage
with Members and with parliamentary business without charge;
- The Houses of Parliament are one
of Britain's leading visitor attractions and have the potential
to raise revenue to reduce costs that would otherwise fall on
14. The plans are as follows, for
which the target net annual income is £3 million from 2014/15:
a) To open for commercial tours
during all recesses, on non-sitting Fridays and on Bank Holidays
and Sundays between April and October;
b) To open for an extra hour on
each commercial day of opening;
c) To increase the range and frequency
of specialist tours;
d) To introduce a tiered visitor
admission offer including a short tour of Westminster Hall, an
audio-guided tour and a premium tour with a guide;
e) To relocate the St Stephen's
Shop to the Westminster Hall area;
f) To relocate the bookshop to a
new retail unit at 49/50 Parliament Street;
g) To introduce an online retail
h) To develop the range of guidebooks
etc offered for sale;
i) To develop filming possibilities
in the Elizabeth Tower;
j) To offer afternoon teas to those
k) To offer the Atrium in Portcullis
House, the dining rooms in the Palace of Westminster, the Pugin
Room, the Jubilee Room and the Terrace Pavilion for commercial
hire on an experimental basis for two years on a limited number
of occasions when they are not expected to be used by Members.
In addition, the Commission agreed to
establish or work with an existing small scale charitable body
to raise funds to support the advancement of public information
and access to the history of UK parliamentary democracy and its
15. The proposals have been subject
to further financial analysis by officials to assess whether each
one would generate a net income for the House. Any proposition
that fails at the least to break even will not be implemented.
These assessments indicate that opening on Sundays and Bank Holidays
will not be implemented initially, until and unless more cost-effective
ways of operating can be found.
16. Preliminary assessments of the
security, works, heritage and equality implications have been
carried out. On security, works and heritage issues, the existing
arrangements in place already cater for large numbers of visitors
to the Estate. The main impact of these proposals is the need
to cover the additional costs associated with the provision of
additional services which generate income. In relation to safety
and security this means the costs of additional personnel. In
relation to works and heritage it means taking into account additional
wear and tear on the fabric of the buildings and also the impact
on the timing of work given the flow of visitors. In relation
to equality, the expansion of the visitor offer to date has already
been accompanied by improvements in the diversity of services
available. These proposals provide further opportunities to provide
a wider range of offerings to visitors catering for diverse audiences.
Opportunities include availability of information in different
formats, improved signage and a wider range of times and dates
on which visiting is possible. Equality analysis will be carried
out for each project as part of planning and implementation. This
will include both the impact on visitors and those working in
STRAND 4: ESTATE
Annual saving (already factored into
2012/13 Estimate): £1.9 million
17. The aim of the Estate strand
is mainly to reduce the overall footprint of the space occupied
by the House of Commons while still allowing refurbishments to
take place. The strand
has already delivered its main contribution, which was to relinquish
the leases of 4 Millbank and 2 The Abbey Garden, achieving a
full-year annual saving of £1.9 million from 2013/14. Other
areas where savings are being investigated include:
- Savings from more efficient use
of energy and storage space;
- Exploring whether savings can be
made if 7 Millbank reception/security arrangements can be rationalised
(subject to security requirements);
- Exploring longer term savings arising
from more efficient use of space in line with the agreed accommodation
policy, or from buildings being partially closed out of hours.
STRAND 5: MARKET TESTING
Estimated annual saving: £2.5
18. The aim of the market testing
strand is to identify improvements to services while making savings
in areas where outside comparators are available. Four areas were
identified for examination: print services, cleaning, catering
(which had already been recommended in the Administration Committee's
catering inquiry); and
reception services (attendants and office keepers).
19. A detailed plan for making business
improvements internally has been developed for each of these four
areas, market research has been conducted and the risks and benefits
of market testing have been examined. The Commission will be asked
to decide in December 2012 whether or not to proceed to a full
market test in any of the four areas. The alternatives to a market
test are to do nothing (not an attractive proposition in any area),
or to implement cost and service improvements to the in-house
service that satisfy the requirements of the House. The test to
be applied in making this decision is: can this service be improved
to such an extent that, according to our market research, it would
be broadly comparable with what the market could offer in terms
of price, whilst maintaining or improving the quality?
20. The strong dependencies of the
House's print services with other initiatives (notably the print
to web strand, and the requirement to review and retender the
printing contract in 2016) mean that a market test could not sensibly
be conducted in the immediate future. The Management Board will
therefore be recommending that print services should not be market
tested but that in-house improvements should be made which more
closely align the capacity of the service with the demand. Proposed
changes would include bringing the closing time forward in line
with House sitting hours, centralising the operation to a single
location and expanding the services to include scanning/digitisation
primarily during recess periods when machines and staff are less
busy. If agreed by the Commission, the changes would be implemented
as an efficiency programme, on the understanding that print services
will be reconsidered in the round in 2015.
21. The majority of cleaning is
already contracted out. The contract is due to be re-let in summer
2013. This offers an important opportunity to sharpen the output
focus and delivery standard of this work and achieve savings through
appropriate commercial mechanisms. The emphasis will be on payment
for results. An external facilities management specialist, with
strong support from our own conservation architects, has advised
that we retain an in-house team specialised in cleaning rooms
and offices in the heritage areas of the Palace. The Cleaning
Business Improvement Plan recommends therefore that we reduce
the numbers of our own staff by not renewing existing fixed term
employment contracts, and train those remaining for this specialist
purpose. All cleaning in the outbuildings, including Members'
offices in those buildings, would be undertaken by cleaners working
under contract, as would clearly delineated areas of the Palace,
including the lavatories.
22. The internal business improvement
plan for catering offers significant savings and service improvements.
The plan involves the transition to a smaller core team that is
supported by a pool of highly trained casual staff who can be
called upon to meet the fluctuating demands that are inherent
in any catering operation, but particularly at the House of Commons.
These changes can be delivered over the next year, to meet the
target date for the savings programme.
23. Wide-ranging market research
has been conducted. The various companies that were approached
noted the broad range of catering services that are supplied at
the House; the severe fluctuations in customer demand over the
course of the year, and within any given week; and the reputational
risk of being so closely in the political eye.
24. One option that has been considered
is offering some or all of the Portcullis House Atrium services
to a commercial operator. This idea has been put forward by a
number of Members. Industry has not expressed enthusiasm largely
given the demand variability. Industry contacts also expressed
some surprise that we would consider outsourcing only our most
25. Taking all these factors into
account, the Management Board will be recommending that catering
services remain in-house on the strict condition that the in-house
improvement plan is fully implemented.
Office Keepers and Attendants
26. The internal improvement plan
in this area is largely concerned with eliminating structural
and process inefficiencies. It does offer some service improvements,
not least in emphasising the role of Office Keepers as managers
responsible for ensuring cleaning and maintenance standards in
their respective areas. It also provides a more flexible, skilled
and visible workforce, but in some places Members will notice
a reduction in Attendant presence.
27. The arguments for and against
a market test in this function are much the same as for catering.
The Management Board will therefore be recommending that the in-house
improvement plan is accepted with no market test.
STRAND 6: OPERATIONS
Estimated annual saving: £9
28. The aim of the Operations strand
is to challenge departments to review budgets and processes to
achieve simpler, more economical and more rewarding ways of working.
Departments have identified ways of delivering a further 10% from
those parts of their budgets not within the scope of one of the
other savings strands (referred to as the "10% challenge"
in this section), amounting to an estimated annual saving of £9
29. The savings fall into three
main categories, as summarised below. The specific items of most
relevance to Members are listed in table 3. Type of saving:
- The largest number derive from items
which can deliver savings without any noticeable effect on service
delivery or staffing and are able to be reflected in budgets immediately.
For example, departments have taken a critical look at their cash
allocation against their expenditure trends and have identified
areas of underspend where budgets can be shaved without undue
risk to delivery of services. Departments have looked also at
opportunities to reduce budgets for items such as staff travel
and subsistence, training and consultancy and office supplies,
and by more effective procurement across a whole range of goods
and services. They have looked also at squeezing more from existing
income sources such as rent receipts for the shops in Bridge Street.
- Further savings come from areas
where some, mainly back-office, changes will need to be put into
place to generate the savings. These are currently being pursued
with the relevant staff. Examples would be reductions in posts
arising from changes to working practices that are already in
train, process reviews designed to streamline services, or posts
that can be saved as a result of minor office reorganisations.
These items require consultation with the teams affected and/or
the House's Trade Union Side (TUS) but do not generally affect
services to Member.
30. A very small number of the Operations
proposals, amounting to some £1 million out of £9 million,
come from areas which may be of interest to or potentially have
some effect on Members. They are listed below and will be implemented
subject to the views of Members, including through relevant Committees:
Table 3: Operations proposalsitems
on which Members' views are sought
||Estimated annual saving by 2014/15 (£000)
||Changes to front desk staffing in Members' Centre, Portcullis House
The aim is to provide one reception service on the ground floor of the Portcullis House Atrium by consolidating the Attendants reception and the Members' Centre reception, and so reducing the total staffing required. This is contingent on changes in the reconfiguration of the ground floor area in Portcullis House, endorsed by the Administration Committee.
||10% cut in works of art maintenance and conservation budget
The aim will be to ensure that no essential work is postponed, but some less urgent work may need to be deferred. The proposal will be discussed with the Works of Art Committees in both Houses.
||Improving coordination within Library research sections and POST
There is scope for better co-ordination on science and technology issues between POST and the Library which would mitigate any reduction in services to Members. The saving represents around 1.4% of the combined Library research and POST budget and would mean some savings in staff and/or non-staff costs.
||Recent switch to new provider for online news aggregation service
The change from Factiva to the Lexis Nexis online news service and the ending of the Enterprise Agreement for provision of the FT online were both endorsed by the Administration Committee before the changes were implemented. In both cases, the savings delivered were as a consequence of broader decisions, rather than savings being the key driver: Lexis Nexis won the contract for the provision of online news as a result of a competitive retendering process but they do not distribute the Times who have an exclusive contract with Factiva. The decision to end the FT agreement was caused by the FT raising their subscription price to a level that was unaffordable within the Library's budget.
|5||Chamber and Committee Services
||Improved management of the budget for select committee specialist advisers, alongside other means of specialist support for select committees, to reduce expenditure incurred on their fees and expenses by 10%.
|6||Chamber and Committee Services
||Committee officeweb-based evidence
Introduction of a system whereby witnesses submit written evidence to select committees on a standard template through a web-based portal, with a consequential reduction in the requirement for sub-editing evidence for publication, saving the equivalent of up to 6 posts (to be achieved through natural wastage). This change also creates an opportunity to increase job satisfaction and interest for staff handling written and oral evidence.
|7||Chamber and Committee Services
||Ending of hard copy printing of evidence submitted to select committees (over and above the target reduction in such printing to 20% of current levels already envisaged as part of the Print to Web savings strand) and ending of proofing and formatting as virtual volumes. Such evidence will remain available and accessible online.
||10% reduction in maintenance overtime costs
This may involve more maintenance being done in working hourscarrying out maintenance work during silent hours is expensive because staff time is paid at overtime rates. Noisy and disruptive work will always need to be done at weekends and when the House is not sitting but if more non-disruptive routine tasks were carried out during the working day, it is estimated that an annual saving of £21,000 could be made to the overtime budget. There would be some effect on the timing of work but this would not be allowed seriously to disrupt the service to Members and others on the parliamentary Estate. This item is dependent on a current review of the Parliamentary Estates Directorate.
||5% reduction in the budget for discretionary maintenance and 10% in the budget for furnishing items.
The discretionary maintenance budget covers minor requests for improvements or enhancements to facilities across the parliamentary Estate. It covers items such as redecorating of small areas but not essential maintenance such as the replacement of light bulbs or urgent repairs. The discretionary furnishing budget covers maintenance of furniture and furnishings and requests for additional small furniture items such as shelving and notice boards.
A 5% reduction in the maintenance budget and a 10% reduction in furnishings may mean that the very lowest priority requests have to be met in other ways or have to await the availability of funds. But this would not be allowed seriously to disrupt the service to Members and others on the parliamentary Estate and would make an annual saving of £60,000. This item is dependent on a current review of the Parliamentary Estates Directorate.
|10||Human Resources and Change
||Encouraging online travel office bookings
The Parliamentary Travel Office is run by Hillgate Travel, who provide both Houses with a face-to-face booking service and an online booking portal. Two-thirds of the cost of the service is for staff, and this element should fall as more bookings are made online through the portal. It will thus be cost-effective to encourage greater use of the portal for single point-to-point journeys, such as London-Edinburgh/Glasgow/Belfast (Easy Jet was added to the portal this autumn). There are no plans to withdraw the face-to-face service.
STRAND 7: STAFF AND CULTURE
31. The savings programme will result
in a leaner organisation, with some different and more flexible
ways of working. Some reductions in staff numbers have already
been made, through two voluntary exit schemes, one in 2011 and
the second in 2012. A total of 107 staff have left through those
schemes. The Management Board has also decided that the numbers
and costs of the Senior Commons Structure should be reduced by
up to 15% by 2014/15. This means further reducing SCS numbers
in the House of Commons and PICT from 88 posts (as at 1 April
2010) to 75. So far SCS numbers have reduced by a net of eight,
with the remaining reduction being on track as fixed term posts
come to an end.
32. The implications and opportunities
for House of Commons staff will be considerable, with new ways
of working, new organisational structures, fewer staff and new
skills all being possibilities. The aim is to ensure that the
House of Commons Service remains an attractive career choice for
capable and motivated people from all backgrounds, and that we
continue to develop skills and opportunities for the longer term.
This all requires careful change management and HR leadership
which is being taken forward through a further strand of work
entitled staff and culture. The Trade Union Side have been kept
informed of developments and are being consulted as plans develop.
Equality impact assessments are being conducted on savings proposals
and action plans will be developed as required.
House of Lords
33. The House of Lords has its own
financial strategy agreed by its House Committee in 2010, with
the following target: "We will aim not to increase our resource
costs in real terms throughout the period of the plan, despite
the increased size of the House, and will reduce them where possible
by reviewing what we do and how we do it." There is no House
of Lords Savings Programme but the House of Commons Savings Programme
is bicameral to a significant extent, with every strand involving
shared services to some degree. House of Commons officials are
working closely with officials from the House of Lords.
7 See Commission decisions, 25 June 2012: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/offices/commons/house-of-commons-commission/minutes/decisions-2012/hcc-250612/ Back
Catering and Retail Services in the House of Commons, HC560