Chamber and Committees

6.10The Chamber and Committees Team supports the business of the House and its committees through the provision of the procedural assistance necessary for the orderly conduct of their work, administrative and specialist support, for example in the drafting of reports, and records of their proceedings, including broadcasting. It is headed by the Clerk Assistant, who is Managing Director of Chamber and Committees. The Clerk Assistant is appointed by the Crown, under the sign manual, on the recommendation of the Speaker, and is removable only upon an address of the House of Commons.1

The Clerk Assistant may also act as Corporate Officer of the House, if the office of Clerk of the House is vacant.2

The Clerk Assistant is the Clerk of the Committee of the whole House. The Clerk Assistant and other Principal Clerks in Chamber and Committees also regularly sit at the Table of the House, and from time to time assistance at the Table is also given by other Clerks.

Chamber and Committees consists of three main teams. The Chamber Business Team, which includes the Journal Office, Table Office, Vote Office, Public Bill Office, Private Bill Office and the Ways and Means Office, is responsible for matters relating to parliamentary privilege and procedure, including legislation, motions, questions and petitions, preparation and publication of the House's business papers and the preparation of the records of the House in the daily Votes and Proceedings and the annual volumes of the Journals. The Committee Office comprises the staff of most select committees, and provides support to select committee chairs and members. The Official Report (generally known as `Hansard’) produces an edited verbatim record of debates in the House, Westminster Hall and committees.3 The Broadcasting Unit, which manages the conduct of the televising and webcasting of the proceedings of both Houses and their Committees, is part of the Official Report (see para 6.22 ).

In addition, the Overseas Office has responsibility for the House's relations with overseas parliaments and supports Parliament's delegations to certain inter-parliamentary assemblies.4

Footnotes

  1. The appointment and tenure of two Clerks Assistant is provided for in the House of Commons Offices Act 1856, but see Report to the Speaker on House of Commons (Administration) HC 624 (1974–75) paras 6.4, 6.5 and p 58. First mention of the Clerk Assistant, CJ (1640–42) 12; of the Second Clerk Assistant, ibid (1802–03) 7.
  2. Parliamentary Corporate Bodies Act 1992, s 2(4).
  3. The Editor of the Official Report is also the Shorthand Writer to the House.
  4. For an account of the House's international relations, see Chapter 10.