In July the Commission agreed to fast track several areas of the Tebbit Review as detailed in my answer on 24 July 2007 (HC Deb 925W). Following the debate in Westminster Hall on 18 October and comments from the Finance and Services, Administration and Audit Committees, the Commission approved the following changes on 22 October.
A new Management Board replaced the existing Board of Management with immediate effect. The Management Board consists of the Clerk, as Chief Executive and Chairman, four director generals with functional responsibilities, and up to two external advisers. The six House Departments other than PICT will be merged into four new Departments broadly aligned with the Director Generals’ responsibilities. These will be:
Department of Chamber and Committee Services—incorporating Clerk’s Department, Hansard and core elements of the Serjeant’s Department;
Department of Information Services—incorporating the Library and allied information services;
Department of Resources—incorporating Finance and Administration;
Department of Facilities—incorporating Estates and Works, Accommodation Services and Refreshment Department.
These new Departments will come into effect on 1 January 2008. A recruitment exercise to fill the new post of Director General of Facilities will be put in place. Pending an appointment, the Commission has agreed that the Director of Catering Services will lead the work to create the new Department of Facilities.
PICT will be formally vested as joint Department of the two Houses early in 2008. Pending a review in 2009 of the working of the Parliament (Joint Departments) Act 2007, the Director of PICT will attend the Management Board as one of its external members.
The aim is to create a fully unified House Service that will provide Members and others with the highest standards of service. The changes are consistent with the approach recommended in the Tebbit report, but also address a number of issues on which the report did not reach a firm conclusion. The intention is that the changes will be cost neutral and there are no planned redundancies. I understand that consultation has begun with both staff and trade unions on how best to create the new Departments.