18 March 2015

Question Time: Assembly Commission Monday 16 March 2015


The Commission’s budget for 2015-16 and how they plan to manage the cuts was top of the agenda during today’s question time. Judith Cochrane, answering on behalf of the Commission, said that the total budget for 2015-16 was reduced by 5% (around £2m). 40% of that total relates to costs set by the Independent Financial Review Panel and are outside the remit of the Commission, making it even harder to find efficiencies. “A cut of that scale will undoubtedly have an impact on the services and activities that the Commission delivers. “

A strategic planning initiative for 2015-16 and beyond was carried out and looked at the services the Assembly secretariat deliver and how savings can be prioritised. On 10 March 2015 the Commission agreed a package of measures for the £2m saving – “Those measures include the approximate £220,000 saving from the further reduction of office costs expenditure for Members as stipulated by the Independent Financial Review Panel (IFRP); reductions in payments to political parties under the financial assistance for political parties (FAPP) scheme; savings in staffing costs through reductions in temporary staffing numbers and, hopefully, through participation in the public-sector voluntary exit scheme; and savings through a wholesale reduction in administrative costs. The Commission remains committed to supporting the Assembly and its Members, but the range and quality of services and activities that it delivers will have to change.”

Members of the Commission also answered questions on visits to Parliament Buildings, external lighting of the building on special occasions and the Cycle to Work Scheme.