Visitors to the House of Commons and those watching its proceedings on television have surely noticed the officials in black robes sitting at the Table in front of the Speaker’s Chair. These are the Clerks-at-the-Table, non-partisan officials who provide advice to the Speaker and to Members and who record the decisions of the House. At the head of the Table sits the Clerk of the House, the senior permanent official of the House of Commons.
This Web site will provide insight into the role of the Clerk, the manner in which the Clerk is appointed, the long history of the office, as well the administrative structure of the House of Commons. Charles Robert was appointed Clerk of the House of Commons on July 10, 2017.
Members are supported in their parliamentary functions by services administered by the Clerk of the House who, as the chief executive of the House administration, reports to the Speaker. The Clerk advises the Speaker and all Members on the interpretation of parliamentary rules, precedents and practices. The Clerk is at the service of all Members, regardless of party affiliation, and must act with impartiality and discretion.
The Clerk is responsible for maintaining records of the proceedings of the House and for keeping custody of these records and other documents in the possession of the House. All decisions of the House are authenticated by signature of the Clerk.
At the beginning of a Parliament, the Clerk administers the oath of allegiance to all duly elected Members as required by the Constitution Act, 1867.
The Clerk acts as Secretary to the Board of Internal Economy, the governing body that has responsibility over all financial and administrative matters respecting the House of Commons. The Clerk also administers an oath to Members joining the Board of Internal Economy.
In addition, the Clerk frequently receives delegations of parliamentary officials from other legislatures and participates in interparliamentary activities.