Work of the House of Commons Governance Committee so far
20 November 2014
After the debate on 10 September on the motion to set up the House of Commons Governance Committee, the Chair, Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, invited Members and staff to submit their views on the governance of the House of Commons including the future allocation of the responsibilities currently exercised by the Clerk of the House and Chief Executive.
Once the rest of the Committee members had been appointed, on 16 October, the Committee issued a formal call for written evidence, with five suggested points for people to address in addition to the specific question of how the responsibilities of the Clerk and Chief Executive should be allocated in future.
An email was sent to House of Commons and PICT staff encouraging people to submit written evidence.
In response to these invitations, the Committee has so far received more than 60 written submissions, from Members, peers, House staff and third parties. These are available on the Committee’s publication page, except where the submitter has requested that the Committee does not publish their evidence.
Oral evidence and meetings
So far, the Committee has held seven oral evidences sessions, hearing from a total of 34 witnesses including governance experts such as Lord Browne of Madingley, former Chief Executive of BP, John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service, and Michael Whitehouse, Chief Operating Officer at the National Audit Office; members of the House of Commons Management Board; a wide variety of Members, including former and current members of the House of Commons Commission, the Leader of the House, Rt Hon William Hague MP and the Shadow Leader of the House, Rt Hon Angela Eagle MP.
The Committee also held private meetings with the Speaker, the Deputy Speakers, and the Lord Speaker (by convention, the holders of these posts are not invited to give oral evidence to select committees). It has also held a private meeting with Paul Martin, the Parliamentary Security Director.
Further oral evidence sessions will take place before Christmas and will be announced in due course.
On 12 November, the Committee held an event to enable Members to hear the views of staff on governance. Sixty-six staff from all departments of the House of Commons and PICT, and across a range of grades, took part in small discussion groups with Committee members.
Comments were made on a confidential basis, but a record was taken for the Committee’s own use and will inform the final report.