SECOND REPORT OF SESSION 2009-10 FROM
THE HOUSE COMMITTEE |
RULES GOVERNING THE USE OF FACILITIES
1. Following the report of the Leader's Group
on the Code of Conduct ("the Eames Group"), the House
adopted a new Code to have effect from 1 April 2010.
The Code will be supplemented by a Guide to the Rules, which will
explain the principles and duties contained in the main document.
The report of the Eames Group included a draft Guide, but the
House agreed that it should be remitted to the Committee for Privileges
for further consideration. The Committee subsequently asked the
Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests, chaired by Baroness Manningham-Buller,
to carry out the detailed review.
2. Under paragraph 10(c) of the new Code of
Conduct, a breach of the rules governing the use of facilities
constitutes a breach of the Code itself. With this in mind, Baroness
Manningham-Buller invited the Administration and Works, Information
and Refreshment Committees to confirm or establish those rules.
She explained that the Sub-Committee thought it "important
that there should be clarity for members and the new Commissioner
for Standards (who will be responsible for investigating allegations
of breaches of the Code) on the nature and scope of the rules".
3. The three domestic committees accordingly
deliberated on the rules and made a series of proposals to the
House Committee. We believe that the proposed rules, set out below,
provide the necessary transparency and certainty without imposing
excessive bureaucracy on Members or staff of the House. We further
believe that the rules provide sufficient latitude to enable Members
to continue working on their outside interests, which remains
essential in a House that relies on Members to give up their time
without receiving a salary and thrives on their expertise across
a range of fields.
4. In addition to the rules put forward by the
three domestic committees, we propose three further rules: one
clarifying the appropriateness of raising money by hosting meals
in House of Lords outlets; one on the allocation of security passes;
and one restating the existing restrictions on Members' entitlement
to Parliamentary papers. Finally, Members will recall that the
House has already agreed new rules on holding functions in the
House of Lords. These,
in our view, do not need revisiting.
5. The House is invited to approve the proposed
rules set out below.
Rules governing the use of facilities in the House
The following rules apply to Members' use of facilities
in the House of Lords. They take full account of the importance
of Members being able to continue pursuing their outside interestsparticularly
in an unsalaried House which thrives on their varied expertisenotwithstanding
the fact that the House sits during business hours and evenings.
The rules should all be read in the context of paragraph 8(b)
of the Code of Conduct, which specifies that "Members of
the House should act always on their personal honour".
Any Member who follows the advice of the Director
of Facilities (rules 1-6), Black Rod (rules 7-9), the Director
of Information Services and Librarian (rule 10), the Reading Clerk
(rules 11-12) or the Clerk of the Printed Paper Office (rule 13)
is deemed to have complied with the rules.
1. Refreshment outlets in the House of Lords
are primarily intended for Members carrying out their Parliamentary
duties or entertaining personal guests. However, it is acceptable
for Members to host meals for purposes relating to their outside
interests, including their commercial interests. Members may raise
money for charity by hosting meals in the House of Lords' refreshment
outlets, but not for any other cause.
2. Office accommodation in the Palace of Westminster
and other House of Lords outbuildings is provided to Members to
assist them in their Parliamentary duties, and should primarily
be used for that purpose. However, it is accepted that Members
may need to use office accommodation for incidental purposes relating
to their outside interests, including their commercial interests.
Committee and meeting rooms
3. Committee and meeting rooms on the Parliamentary
Estate are available to Members primarily for purposes relating
to their Parliamentary duties. However, it is accepted that Members
may need to use committee and meeting rooms for incidental purposes
relating to their outside interests, including their commercial
interests. However, with the exception of book launches for books
written by Members or primarily about them, such rooms may not
be used to promote Members' outside interests. Neither
may they be used for annual general meetings (except by All-Party
4. House of Lords headed paper and envelopes
may be used for all correspondence relating to the work of the
House, including the work of all-party groups, and for personal
correspondence in modest quantities but not for circulars, general
correspondence (except that of an essentially Parliamentary nature)
or business letters.
- Postage-paid envelopes and postcards may be used
for Members' correspondence on Parliamentary business but not:
|a.||for correspondence of a business, commercial or personal nature;
|b.||for the correspondence of a parliamentary group which includes persons other than parliamentarians;
|c.||in connection with party political fund-raising or campaigning;
|d.||for issuing circulars of any description (i.e. an unsolicited letter sent in identical or near identical form to a number of addresses);
|e.||for internal mail (mail within the Parliamentary Estate); or
|f.||for overseas mail (including Europe and the Republic of Ireland).
6. Members may use the Travel Office to book travel for any
7. A Member may apply for a security pass for their spouse
or civil partner; for up to three passes for their secretaries
and research assistants; for passes for their carers; and, with
Black Rod's approval, for a pass for a driver employed specifically
to drive them. Passes may only be granted under the second category
to people who genuinely and personally provide Parliamentary secretarial
or research assistance to the sponsoring Member.
8. Tickets for Central Tours Office tours may not be auctioned
or sold by Members. Members may raise money for charity by offering
private tours of the Palace, but not for any other cause. Members
must accompany their guests at all times.
9. Members may not hold press conferences in committee rooms
on the Committee Corridor, but they may do so in Committee Room
G and other meeting rooms with Black Rod's permission.
10. The House of Lords Library is available to all Members
of the House. Library facilities and services are intended to
assist Members in carrying out their Parliamentary duties. However,
it is acceptable for a Member to use readily available Library
facilities to pursue enquiries relating to outside interests,
including commercial interests, so long as those facilities are
not required by another Member for use for Parliamentary purposes.
For the avoidance of doubt, research services may only be used
for Parliamentary purposes.
11. ICT hardware and services provided by PICT are intended
to assist Members in carrying out their Parliamentary duties and
should primarily be used for that purpose. However, it is accepted
that Members may need to use ICT hardware and services for incidental
purposes relating to their personal or outside interests, including
their commercial interests, save that:
|a.||Members may not store a significant amount of data (as advised by PICT), whether as emails or any other form of data, relating to their outside interests on a Parliamentary server; and
|b.||whilst Members may, where necessary, make use of landline telephones on the Parliamentary Estate and PDAs for reasons relating to their outside interests, including their commercial interests, they should have due regard to economy and, in particular, should avoid making lengthy private calls overseas.
House of Lords logo
12. Save for the provision set out in the guidance on the
use of House of Lords headed paper and envelopes, the House of
Lords logo should be used by Members for purposes relating to
the discharge of their Parliamentary duties only, and for no other
purpose. Members should take care in ensuring that the House of
Lords logo is not used in such a way that might bring discredit
upon the House.
13. Members are entitled to obtain free of charge from the
Printed Paper Office such current Parliamentary papers and other
publications as they clearly require to discharge their current
Parliamentary duties. Detailed rules on entitlement to and ordering
of papers are set out in the Companion to the Standing Orders
and the Handbook on facilities and services for Members.
HL Deb., 30 November 2009, cols. 590-648. Back
3rd Report, 2008-09, HL Paper 144. Approved by the House on 20
October 2009 (HL Deb., col. 567). Back