Annual Report and Accounts 2000-01


Overseas Office
(Clerk: David Beamish)

1  Purpose

The Office facilitates contacts between the House of Lords and overseas parliaments and international assemblies; and provides advice and support to Members, including the Lord Chancellor or his representative, when attending conferences overseas.

2  Organisation

The Clerk of the Overseas Office undertakes the duties of the Office in addition to being Clerk of Committees. He is supported by one full-time member of staff, the Visits Co-ordinator.

3  Activities and Financial Performance

Many of the activities of the Office during 1999-2000 are described in the Review of the Year (paragraphs 38 to 44).

The Clerk of the Overseas Office, the Visits Co-ordinator and 5 other volunteer members of staff provided support to the United Kingdom Branch in the running of the annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, held in London and Edinburgh in September 2000.

Lord Russell-Johnston continued as President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the Office continued to provide support for him at Westminster in this role. In addition, the Visits Co-ordinator attended, at the Assembly's invitation, 3 of its 4 part-sessions in Strasbourg.

In August 2000 the Clerk of the Parliaments visited Denmark and Greenland at the invitation of the Secretary-General of the Danish Parliament and the Clerk of the Overseas Office attended the Canadian Clerks' annual Professional Development Seminar in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

The Office received, and prepared programmes for, officials from overseas parliaments on attachment to the House of Commons and dealt with a wide range of enquiries and communications from overseas parliaments, including letters to the Lord Chancellor as Speaker of the House from Speakers of other Parliaments.

Budget provision in 2000-01 was £283,100; actual expenditure was £203,426 (£191,851 in 1999-2000). The underspend was due to lower than expected expenditure on parliamentary delegations.

4  Future Activities

Forthcoming Speakers' Conferences include:

  • the annual Conference of European Union Speakers to be held in Stockholm from 13 to 15 September 2001, and

  • the biennial Conference of Commonwealth Speakers to be held in Botswana in January 2002.

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