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House of Commons Management

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons Commission – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 5th March 2015.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield 9:30 am, 5th March 2015

What recent representations he has received from catering, maintenance and other staff of the House on the management of the House.

Photo of John Thurso John Thurso Chair, Finance and Services Committee

The Commissioner has received no recent formal representations from staff in those areas on the management of the House. The staff have, however, had a number of opportunities to express their views to the management, including in the recent staff survey.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield

The right hon. Gentleman will know of my long campaign for the House to be not just an average or good employer but the very best exemplar of an employer. It is no secret that I want us to adopt the John Lewis model for the staff in this place, who work so hard for us. When are we going to engage those members of staff and stop employing them on short-term contracts or using agency staff on a long-term basis? Let us have secure employment and a decent way of living.

Photo of John Thurso John Thurso Chair, Finance and Services Committee

I have enjoyed throughout this Parliament the exchanges I have had with the hon. Gentleman on this matter, and the direction of travel he indicates is one that we are very much seeking to take. The recent leadership and management survey shows that on all leadership and management criteria we have improved our score over that of the civil service generally, and on nine out of 10 such criteria we have improved our score on last year’s. There have been some uncertainties, for example, on the security services, and we have done the right thing in bringing those in hand. That has reduced uncertainty and is very much in line with what he wishes. I am sure that in the next Parliament the Commission will continue in that direction.

Photo of Alan Haselhurst Alan Haselhurst Chair, Administration Committee

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one of the best ways in which Members of this House could show their appreciation for their staff and ensure the security of their employment is by using our facilities much more heavily than they do?

Photo of John Thurso John Thurso Chair, Finance and Services Committee

I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend and salute all he has done with his Committee to make that a realistic possibility.