1 Introduction |
1. On 1 September 2014 the Speaker made a statement
to the House announcing that he had 'paused' the process to appoint
a Clerk of the House and Chief Executive to succeed Sir Robert
Rogers. On 10 September 2014 the House agreed to the motion to
appoint a committee to 'consider the governance of the House of
Commons, including the future allocation of the responsibilities
currently exercised by the Clerk of the House and Chief Executive.'
The motion included the appointment of the Chair of the committee;
the remaining members were added on 16 October 2014.
2. We discuss what lessons might be learnt from the
'paused' recruitment exercise later in this report (paragraph
63), but note at this point that the fact that the House service
has been operating under temporary arrangements at the most senior
levels has placed a premium on us reaching speedy and agreed conclusions.
The resolution of 10 September 2014 required that we report by
12 January 2015. To ensure that the House has as much time as
possible before dissolution at the end of March 2015 to consider
our Report and make decisions on it, we set ourselves an even
tighter timetable of publishing before the Christmas adjournment.
We are glad that we have met this deadline. In this Report we
have set out a package of proposals for reform of the principal
governance structures of the House and the most senior official
positions which we believe will significantly increase the House's
capacity to respond effectively and efficiently to the challenges
of the future. We have not attempted to drill down into the structures
below the Management Board level, but we have described an implementation
procedure which should follow through on our high level changes.
Approach to the inquiry
3. On 17 October 2014 the Chair published the following
statement about how we intended to approach our task:
We intend as far as possible to be transparent
and open in our proceedings. We will take evidence in public and
publish the transcripts on this website. We will publish submissions
made to us in writing except where they have been submitted in
confidence. We understand that some individuals and groups will
prefer to talk to us in private.
We are inviting anyone with an interest in this
matter to send us their views
If you want your submission
to be in confidence, please tell us.
We have to answer the specific question of how
the responsibilities of the Clerk and Chief Executive should be
allocated in future, but we are also interested in
-The role of the House of Commons Commission
and its relations with other committees of Members of Parliament
and the House's Management Board;
-How to combine effective decision-making with
-How to ensure that governance in the House of
Commons matches best practice in the rest of the public sector
-How to develop the skills the House needs from
its most senior staff
-What preparations the House needs to make now
to be ready for the challenges of the future, particularly restoration
and renewal of the Palace of Westminster
This is a demanding agenda to tackle in the time
available to us. It is likely that at some point we will have
to narrow our field of inquiry to focus on what seem to us to
be the key issues, but we want to do so on the basis of the best
possible understanding of the broader context within which those
4. In the course of our inquiry we have received
91 submissions, including 36 from staff of the House and 22 from
Members. We have held 13 evidence sessions hearing from 59 individuals,
of whom 16 were staff of the House and PICT and 21 were Members.
We had meetings with the Speaker, the three Deputy Speakers, the
Lord Speaker, and Paul Martin, Parliamentary Security Director.
We spent a very interesting afternoon listening to, and discussing,
the views of more than 60 members of House and PICT staff (in
eight groups). We are very grateful to all those who have assisted
us. We are particularly grateful to the Speaker, the Deputy Speakers
and the Lord Speaker for agreeing that we could attribute to them
a number of the statements they made and opinions they expressed
in our private meetings with them.
5. We have also received detailed submissions from
each of the devolved legislatures and seven Parliaments in Europe
and the Commonwealth. We would like to express our thanks and
appreciation to the Speakers, Presiding Officers, Secretaries
General and Clerks who have taken time out of their very busy
schedules to assist us.
6. A full list of witnesses and of the submissions
we have published
is at end of this report. All that material is available on our
www.parliament.uk/governance-committee.We are also very
grateful for the wise advice and counsel of our Specialist Adviser,
Nicholas Kroll, and to Committee staff, who worked to a tight
1 HC Deb, 10 September 2014, col 1014 Back
HC Deb, 16 October 2014, col 554
House of Commons Governance Committee, 'Chair's introductory statement,'
accessed 15 December 2014 Back
We offered House of Commons and PICT staff the opportunity to
have their evidence published without their names if they wished.
We also received some written evidence which we did not publish
at all, at the request of the people who submitted it. Back