It's everything you ever wanted to know about supplementary estimates.
Good morning. Thank you very much for having me here today. I very much look forward to our discussions.
Today I am accompanied, as you mentioned, by the Clerk, Audrey O'Brien, and her executive management team: Stéphane Aubé, chief information officer; Marc Bosc, Deputy Clerk; Kathryn Butler Malette, chief human resources officer; Richard Denis, deputy law clerk and parliamentary counsel; Kevin Vickers, Sergeant-at-Arms; and Mark Watters, our chief financial officer.
Today, I will be presenting the House of Commons supplementary estimates (B) for fiscal year 2012-2013.
These proposed supplementary estimates for the House of Commons total $1,586,000. I'd like to stress at the outset of this discussion that all items included in the House of Commons supplementary estimates (B) were presented to and approved by the Board of Internal Economy.
For reference purposes, you have received a document showing the voted appropriations that are included in the supplementary estimates (B). To facilitate today's discussion, I will provide a brief overview of each item in the order that they have been presented.
Our first item is a budgetary reduction of $7,427,000, which is a result of the multi-year plan to reduce costs as part of the House of Commons' strategic and operating review. On March 12, 2012, the board approved these savings and a reduction strategy that will see spending for the House of Commons decrease by over $30 million, or nearly 7% of the overall budget. These reductions will be phased in and fully implemented by 2014-15.
The reductions for fiscal year 2012-2013 will be achieved through reductions to House Officers' Budgets and operational efficiencies; reductions for committees, parliamentary associations and parliamentary exchanges; and reductions for the House Administration.
I will now take a moment to address each area of reduction in turn.
First, the board approved an overall reduction of $1.8 million to House officers' budgets, which represents $600,000 for fiscal year 2012-13.
Additionally, a number of initiatives will be undertaken to achieve efficiencies through service delivery transformation. An example of this is the reduction of printing of parliamentary publications, which has been facilitated by a steady decrease in requests for paper copies and improved access to online parliamentary information. For fiscal year 2012-13, these savings will amount to $623,000.
Second, the reductions for committees, parliamentary associations, and parliamentary exchanges will total $2.575 million. These reductions are in line with measures taken by members of committees, parliamentary associations, and participants in parliamentary exchanges, and they will continue their ongoing efforts to limit spending and find efficiencies.
Finally, cost savings and reductions of $3,629,000 for the House Administration budget will be achieved through a combination of budget reductions, operational efficiencies achieved via service delivery transformation, attrition, and the elimination of some vacant positions.
It is important to note that care is being taken to minimize the impact on employees of the House Administration. Additionally, the House Administration has in place a Work Force Adjustment Policy to ensure that all employees are treated fairly should they be impacted by changes to its work force.
I will now move on to discuss the $8,632,000 that is required for the carry-forward policy. The carry-forward policy, which was approved by the board in 1995, allows members, House officers, and the House administration to carry forward lapsed funds into the new fiscal year, up to a maximum of 5% of the respective operating budgets from the previous fiscal year. This policy is beneficial, as it provides increased budgetary flexibility, reduces potential pressure to spend at year end, and provides an incentive to underspend.
The funding included in the carry forward is divided as follows: for members and House officers, $5.4 million; for committees, parliamentary associations, and parliamentary exchanges, $466,000; and for the House administration, $2,766,000.
It is important to note that this is not new money being spent, but rather an accounting of some resources not used in last year's budget and being made available for use this year. Therefore, while this item does constitute an expense in the presentation of the estimates, it could also reasonably be looked at as savings from budgets of the previous year. It is also reasonable to predict that some funds budgeted for this year will lapse, in addition to the reductions and cost savings that I previously mentioned.
The final item mentioned in the estimates is $381,000, an amount required to accommodate for special requirements of members.
I am sure we all can agree that it is essential that all members of the House of Commons be afforded the resources required so that they may fulfill their parliamentary functions. We must also ensure that any special requirements of members be adequately considered such that they are not inhibited in their duties.
That said, please be assured that all requests for additional funding to accommodate members are subject to review by the Board of Internal Economy. Ongoing analysis is conducted to ensure that accommodation requests are being managed in the most fiscally responsible way possible.
This concludes my overview of the House of Commons supplementary estimates (B) for the fiscal year 2012-13.
I and those accompanying me will be happy to answer any questions you may have.