Annual Report and Accounts 2000-01


Committee Office
(Clerk of Committees: David Beamish)

1  Purpose

The Office provides select committees with procedural and legal advice and the administrative support necessary to fulfil the committees' orders of reference.

2  Organisation

The European Union Committee, the Science and Technology Committee, the Constitution Committee, the Economic Affairs Committee (all sessional, i.e. permanent committees) and any ad hoc Select Committee are supported by a unified Committee Office. The Office has 35 permanent staff (13 Clerks, a Legal Adviser and Legal Assistant to the European Union Committee, a Legal Adviser to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, a Specialist Assistant to the Science and Technology Committee, and 18 secretarial, executive and clerical staff). Each sub-committee and committee is served by a clerk and a committee assistant or personal secretary. Committees regularly appoint specialist advisers for particular inquiries.

The Office also joins with the Clerk's Department of the House of Commons in supporting the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

3  Activities and Financial Performance

A summary of the new select committees appointed in 2000-01, together with an account of the work of the European Union Committee and the Science and Technology Committee, is given in the Review of the Year (paragraphs 18 to 25).

There was a continued expansion of staff numbers to meet the increased demands of committee activity, with six new posts, including two new clerkships, filled during the year. The Legal Adviser to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Professor David Feldman, previously Barber Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Birmingham, joined the staff in September 2000. With a Commons' Chairman, the majority of administrative support for the Committee has been provided by the House of Commons, and the role of Lords' Clerk has been filled by the Clerk of the Science and Technology Committee.

Additional accommodation was made available in 7 Old Palace Yard on a temporary basis. In view of the expansion of committee activity and consequent staff increases, it was decided that the whole Office would move to Millbank House.

Budget provision for the Committee Office in 2000-01 was £1,645,300; actual expenditure was £1,628,418 (£1,495,988 in 1999-2000). The increase in expenditure was largely due to the staff increases mentioned above.

4  Future Activities

  • The Office will ensure that it can continue to give good service to the increased number of committees, notwithstanding its move out of the Palace of Westminster to Millbank House.

  • The Office will also pursue increased use of information technology in the production and publication of reports and evidence.

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