Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

£30,000 spent on document redesign

MPs had been told there would be 'no additional costs' from the redesign of the daily paper on parliamentary business

The House of Commons spent more than £30,000 of taxpayers' money redesigning the document listing the day's parliamentary business.

The modernisation was aimed at making the order paper "better suited to electronic publication and distribution" and Commons Speaker John Bercow was involved in discussions on the project.

The new order paper was unveiled earlier this month as the new session began following the Queen's Speech.

A freedom of information (FoI) request by the Press Association revealed the total cost of the project was £30,250.

MPs were told last week that there would be "no additional costs" from the redesign, which officials hope will save money by cutting down on printing.

The project was approved by the Parliamentary Information, Communication and Technology Advisory Board, through "existing authorisation procedures".

The FoI response said: "The redesign project was discussed with the Speaker and Deputy Speakers and communicated to the chairs of the Administration and Procedure Committees, the Leader of the House and the Government and Opposition whips."

In a written parliamentary answer last week John Thurso, the Liberal Democrat MP who represents the House of Commons Commission, said: "No immediate financial savings are expected but in the longer term the redesign will contribute to reducing the amount of hard copy printing, and so to substantial recurring savings. No additional costs will arise.

"The redesign of the order paper and future business was undertaken in-house. The main aim was to make the order paper better suited to electronic publication and distribution. The opportunity was also taken to bring the design up to modern standards for accessibility by the sight disabled."

Mr Thurso said an application allowing MPs to download the order paper to iPads had already been developed and an "enriched electronic version" with internet hyperlinks was planned. He said feedback on the new design had been "generally very positive".

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