Consolidated list of provisions of the Resolutions of the House relating to expenditure charged to the Estimate for House of Commons: Members as at 20 May 2019 Contents

Annex 3

Rules for the use of stationery and postage-paid envelopes provided by the House of Commons, and for the use of the Crowned Portcullis

1.A cash-limited provision of House stationery and postage-paid envelopes is provided by the House for Members. The present annual limit is £9,000 per year per Member. This provision is in addition to any stationery and postage costs which Members may have reimbursed under IPSA’s Expenses Scheme.

Principles

2.The rules cannot be expected to cover every eventuality; Members should therefore always behave with probity and integrity when using House-provided stationery and postage. Members should regard themselves as personally responsible and accountable for the use of House-provided stationery and postage. They must not exploit the system for personal financial advantage, nor (by breaching the rules in paragraph 3 below) to confer an undue advantage on a political organisation.

Rules

3.House-provided stationery and pre-paid envelopes are provided only for the performance of a Member’s parliamentary functions. In particular, this excludes using stationery or postage:

i)in connection with work for or at the behest of a political party (including fund-raising for a political party, advocating membership of a political party or supporting the return of any person to public office);

ii)for business purposes;

iii)for newsletters (including annual reports or general updates to constituents on a range of issues);

iv)for birthday or other greetings cards;

v)in a way that can be construed as campaign expenditure within the scope of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

4.In addition:

5.Modest use of stationery (but not pre-paid envelopes) for personal correspondence is permitted.

6.When a Member is replying to correspondence, party-political references are allowed in House-provided stationery or in correspondence sent in pre-paid envelopes, subject to the restrictions in paragraph 3 above.

7.Party political logos or emblems may be used on House-provided stationery (but not pre-paid envelopes).

8.Examples of the proper use of stationery and pre-paid envelopes include:

Use of the crowned portcullis

9.The principal emblem of the House is the crowned portcullis. It is a royal badge and its use by the House has been formally authorised by licence granted by Her Majesty the Queen. It should not be used where its authentication of a connection with the House is inappropriate, or where there is a risk that its use might wrongly be regarded or represented as having the authority of the House. It may be used by Members on their stationery provided by the House or used for their parliamentary functions; by registered All Party Groups (APGs) on their official stationery, reports and websites (provided that it is appropriate to demonstrate a connection with the House in this way and that there is no risk that its use might suggest that the Group or its communications have the authority of the House);7 and by organisations that have a direct association with the House and have obtained permission to use it. It may not be used by unregistered APGs, by ex-Members during the Dissolution of Parliament, or in an inappropriate form. Websites of APGs and other organisations using the crowned portcullis must carry a disclaimer to make it clear that the House of Commons does not take responsibility for the content of that website.

Publication

10.The costs incurred by each Member on House-provided stationery and postage are published annually by the House.

Administration

11.The present annual budget limit is £9,000 per year per Member and when a Member has been provided with 80% of their annual budget the Member will then receive monthly statements of their account; once the annual maximum of £9,000 is reached no further House of Commons stationery or pre-paid envelopes will be issued during that financial year.

12.Members requiring additional House of Commons stationery once the annual maximum is reached may purchase it. However, pre-paid envelopes cannot be purchased.

Breaches of the rules

13.Any allegations of breaches of the rules may be investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

Contacts

14.House-provided stationery and postage is administered by In-House Services Please contact the Members’ Accommodation Manager (x3080) with any queries.

15.For guidance on specific uses of the Crowned Portcullis, please contact the Chamber and Committees Team on (x6208).

16.These rules supersede all previous rules and guidance.


6 Following the disbanding of the Government Car & Dispatch Agency (GCDA), mail sent from the Parliamentary Estate addressed to Government Departments within the M25, which had previously been delivered through the GCDA using the internal dispatch service (IDS) should continue to be sent as internal mail in non-pre-paid envelopes marked “IDS”. Mail marked ‘IDS’ will be handled by the internal logistics provider in the same way as 1st class franked mail.

7 Reports of APGs should not be presented in such a way that they appear to be those of select committees




Published: 10 June 2019