1.On 31 January 2018 the House of Commons approved a resolution to commence work on restoration and renewal (R&R) of the Palace of Westminster. The resolution required ‘immediate steps’ to be taken to establish a shadow Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority, and that their ‘statutory successors’ be established by legislation in due course. A resolution in identical terms was approved by the House of Lords on 6 February 2018.
2.The Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority will be responsible for developing a costed business case and proposal for restoration and renewal. Any programme of works, however, cannot be initiated without the approval of both Houses of Parliament.
3.The draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill proposes a governance structure for a full programme of Parliamentary refurbishment and improvement works. The Bill makes provision for three independent, statutory bodies to be established for the purposes of:
4.The Foreword to the Bill, jointly written by the Leaders of the Commons and the Lords, states that the statutory bodies will have the “capacity and capability to make strategic decisions on the restoration and renewal programme” and it outlines the basic purpose of each of the bodies:
The Sponsor Body will have overall responsibility for the Restoration and Renewal Programme and will also be empowered to form a Delivery Authority as a company limited by guarantee. The Delivery Authority will formulate proposals in relation to the restoration works, and ensure their operational delivery. This two-tier approach, as used in the successful London Olympics project, is the best structure to deliver a value for money programme, which commands the confidence of taxpayers and Parliamentarians.
The Bill also establishes a Parliamentary Works Estimates Commission. The Estimates Commission will lay the Sponsor Body’s estimates before Parliament, and will play a role in reviewing the Sponsor Body’s expenditure.
5.We take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all those who submitted evidence or appeared before us, often necessarily at short notice. We are also most grateful to the Cabinet Office Bill team, the officials of the Restoration and Renewal Programme and those in charge of the Northern Estate Programme and security for their thorough and prompt responses to our various queries. This comparatively straightforward Bill raises a number of highly complex issues, and we could not have understood the ramifications without their help.
1 For an assessment of the condition of the fabric of the Palace of Westminster and a full description of the process by which it was decided that a full decant of the Palace should take place to enable the repairs, see Report of the Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster, Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster, First Report of 2016–17, HL Paper 41, HC 659.
2 HC Deb, 31 January 2018, Column (See Annexe 1)
3 Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill, October 2018, Cm
Published: 21 March 2019