Departments and Offices of the House of Commons

The staff of the House of Commons work across a number of departments and offices, which are listed below

Department of Chamber and Committee Services

The Chamber Business Directorate comprises the following offices:

The Public Bill Office administers all business relating to public legislation. It provides Clerks for general committees including public bill committees.

The Private Bill Office administers the House’s procedures applying to private legislation and provides advice on those procedures to Members, parliamentary agents and others.

The Delegated Legislation Office provides support for the European Scrutiny Committee and the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.

The Journal Office produces the authoritative record of proceedings in the House, and provides a variety of procedural advice and services to the House, as well as the secretariat for certain committees.

The Table Office is the place where Members table Parliamentary Questions (PQs) and Early Day Motions (EDMs). The Office also produces the House’s Order Paper and associated business papers for each day’s sitting. It provides the secretariat for the Backbench Business Committee.

The Vote Office supplies parliamentary and government documents
(including EU documents) to Members and others.

The Ways and Means Office provides support for the Chairman of Ways and Means and the two Deputies in their duties in the House, and for the Panel of Chairs.

The Committee Directorate provides secretariat, advice, research and administrative services for each of the House’s Departmental Select Committees and most other Select Committees.

The Scrutiny Unit provides specialist support to all Committees, assists Public Bill Committees and staffs some ad hoc committees.

The Committee Directorate also provides the secretariats of the House’s governance bodies, including the House of Commons Commission.

The Serjeant at Arms Directorate has operational responsibility for access and security in the House of Commons as well as a range of ceremonial functions. In doing this it works closely with the Office of the Parliamentary Security Director (see below). It manages the work of the Admission Order Office, the Doorkeepers, the Pass Office and the Members’ Staff Verification Office.

The Official Report Directorate is responsible for providing reports of the proceedings of the House, Westminster Hall and Committees, processing and printing written answers to questions, written ministerial statements, petitions and ministerial corrections; and operating the annunciator service.

The Broadcasting Unit oversees the broadcasting and webcasting of both Houses and provides an audio-visual archive service.

The Overseas Office has responsibility for the House’s official relations with overseas parliaments and parliamentary assemblies while the Departmental Services Office provides budgetary and financial management support to the Department. It also carries out office management and communications functions.

The Department also provides “pay-and-rations” support for two offices which report directly to the Clerk of the House:

The Office of Speaker’s Counsel provides legal advice to the Speaker and departments of the House; scrutinises domestic secondary legislation and private Bills in support of relevant committees; and scrutinises EU legislation in support of the European Scrutiny Committee.

The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards advises both the Committee on Standards and Privileges and individual Members on standards matters. She monitors the operation of the Code of Conduct and the Guide to the Rules that apply to Members. In addition, she is responsible for the maintenance of the four Registers, of which the most important is the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. She considers and, if needed, investigates allegations against Members who may have breached the Code or related Rules.

The department also runs the parliamentary bookshop (external site).
 

Finance

The Financial Management Directorate is responsible for financial planning, forecasting and processing; accounting and treasury functions and payroll.

The Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Service oversees the House’s procurement and contract management activities.

The Savings Programme team is responsible for leading the House  Service’s work to achieve the budget reductions by 2014/15.

The Pensions Unit oversees arrangements for pensions for Members, Members’ staff and House staff.
 

Department of HR and Change

From 1 April 2012 the department will not be arranged in traditional directorates, but through a number of team-led services. Three business partners working closely with departments will facilitate these services for departments. The business partner function will provide a stronger strategic link between departments of the House and DHRC services.

The HR Services Team delivers a range of services to managers and staff across the House. It covers day-to-day HR operations (including recruitment), employee relations, pay and policy matters. It also encompasses the Safety, Health and Wellbeing Service, which provides an integrated advisory service to Members and staff of both Houses of Parliament. They are a multidisciplinary team of consultant occupational physicians, occupational health nurses and clinical nurse advisers, and advise on medical or healthcare concerns which may be causing difficulty or distress at work.

The Capability Team oversees learning and development for House staff and also coordinates work on the HAIS Renewal programme. It also manages certain Member services not transferred to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and runs the Personnel Advisory Service for Members. The Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service is responsible for coordinating the House Service’s responses to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act and leads the publication scheme that governs the information routinely published by the House Service. It is also responsible for managing data security, and enhancing data security awareness and compliance. In addition, IRIS advises Members on their data protection responsibilities.

The Change Team acts as a champion for change management, provides expertise in organisational development and runs a portfolio management function to bring together major projects and programmes across the House.

The Diversity Team leads and coordinates work supporting equality, diversity and inclusion across the House to ensure that everyone on the Parliamentary Estate is treated with dignity and respect. It manages the contract for the nursery and also provides information and support for people with disabilities.
 

Department of Information Services

The Public Information and Outreach (PIO) office is made up of the House of Commons Information Office and Parliamentary Outreach. The team aims to promote public understanding of, and engagement with, the work of both Houses of Parliament, with its enquiry service, publications, digital outreach, campaigns and regional outreach work.

The Commons Library provides research and analysis services for Members and their staff and provides a wide range of electronic and hard copy information sources, for use in relation to parliamentary duties. It operate the Member's Library and Derby Gate Library (for Members' staff), where you can use PCs, consult reference sources and place enquiries with Library staff.

The Curator's Office is responsible for conserving, developing and displaying the works of art collections of both Houses. This includes acquiring new works, commissioning new ones (mainly portraits), mounting exhibitions from time to time and maintaining the works of art pages on the Parliament website.

Parliament's Education Service works with schools and Members of both Houses of Parliament to support young people in developing their understanding of Parliament and democracy.

The objectives of the Media and Communication Service are:

  • to increase reach by promoting better understanding of, and engagement with, the work of the House and its committees in print, broadcast and online media;
  • to provide a professional media service for journalists and serves as a central point of contact for media enquiries;
  • to provide media and communications advice and support to all House Departments and committees.
  • to work with officials across both Houses to improve public information and access.

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology is the UK Parliament's in-house source of independent, balanced and accessible analysis of public policy issues related to science and technology. POST's aim is to inform parliamentary debate by publishing POSTnotes, supporting Select Committees with informal advice and research and organising discussions to stimulate debate.

Staff in Visitor Services provide help and guidance to those visiting the House of Commons.

The Web and Intranet Service manages current and ongoing developments on the website and intranet. They work to ensure that the Parliament website and intranet:

• makes information accessible to its users
• shows Parliament is relevant, and
• enables people to connect and engage with Parliament  

Department of Facilities

The Accommodation and Logistics Services Directorate is responsible for a wide range of office and allied services including the management of contracts for cleaning, mail and stationery and photocopier provision. The logistics service is shared with the House of Lords.

Catering Services is responsible for catering facilities throughout the House of Commons, including cafeterias, fine dining, banqueting and bars.

The Parliamentary Estates Directorate manages the corporate real estate, delivering sufficient accommodation and services to meet the needs of all who work within, or visit, the Parliamentary Estate and optimising its use as a healthy, safe, sustainable and effective working environment. The Directorate also maintains the fabric and heritage of Parliament’s buildings, objects and documents for the benefit of future generations. 
 

Related information

About Parliament

Learn how Parliament works, explore its history and find out more about its role.

Commons Information Office

The House of Commons Information Office answers questions about the business, history and membership of the House.

Telephone: 020 7219 4272
Email: hcinfo@parliament.uk
Text phone: Dial 18001 followed by 020 7219 4272
 
Telephone enquiry service is open between 10am-12 midday and 2pm-4pm (Monday to Friday).