asked the Chairman of Committees:Whether he believes that the current smoking policy in the Library and Refreshment Department accords with the House of Lords' Staff Handbook. [HL97]
Yes. Smoking policy for staff outside the Refreshment Department, approved by the Whitley Committee, is set out in Appendix G of the Staff Handbook. The basic principle behind the policy is that staff are entitled to work in a smoke-free atmosphere if they want to, and that staff who smoke should have the facilities to enable them to do so. Refreshment Department staff are covered by rules set out in paragraph 166 of the Handbook. Staff smoking policy is distinct from the rules on smoking applicable to Members.
asked the Chairman of Committees:Whether the Library and Computers Sub-Committee has undertaken a study into the feasibility of making the Salisbury Room a smoking room, with the remainder of the Library becoming a no-smoking area; and, if not, whether it will do so. [HL96]
An informal working group on the House's smoking policy, chaired by Lord McIntosh of Haringey, surveyed the views of all Members on where smoking should be permitted, and reported in May 1999. There was no mandate to change the current arrangements in the Library, under which smoking is permitted in the Brougham and Derby Rooms but prohibited elsewhere. In June 1999 the Library and Computers Sub-Committee agreed that the ultimate aim should be that "the Library should he an entirely smoke-free area as soon as possible". The Sub-Committee rejected a proposal to make the Salisbury room a smoking room, as it was supported by neither the present occupants of the room nor smokers. The Sub-Committee recommended that a conveniently placed "club" room for smokers should be identified, in which smoking would be permitted. It has not yet been possible to identify such a room.The question of smoking will next be considered by the Library and Computers Sub-Committee on 13 February 2001.
asked the Chairman of Committees:What steps the House authorities are taking to reduce the risk of passive smoking within the House of Lords. [HL98]
Smoking policy for Members is a matter for the Offices Committee and its sub-committees, and I intend to invite the Offices Committee and its sub-comittees to reconsider the matter. The smoking policy for staff of the House outside the Refreshment Department already provides that staff are entitled to work in a smoke-free environment if they wish to. Refreshment Department staff are only permitted to smoke during their authorised breaks and in the designated smoking room. The Health and Safety Commission has proposed the issue of an approved code of practice on passive smoking at work and staff smoking policy will be reviewed in the light of any such code.
asked the Chairman of Committees:Whether the Administration and Works Sub-Committee has had any recent discussions with the authorities of the House of Commons about the recent changes made by that House with regard to smoking policy. [HL99]
No. Any recent changes to House of Commons smoking policy will be taken into account by the Offices Committee and its sub-committees when they next consider smoking policy.
asked the Chairman of Committees:Whether he will seek to obtain from the House of Commons authorities and place in the Library of the House any information about the recent changes made by that House with regard to smoking policy. [HL100]
I have written to the Chairman of the House of Commons Administration Committee requesting information about any recent changes made by the House of Commons to their smoking policy, and will place a copy of my letter, together with the response, in the Library of the House.