House of Commons Information Office

House Of Commons Information Office

House of Commons Information Office

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The House of Commons Information Office (HCIO) is a section within the House of Commons Department of Information Services. The chief role of the office is to provide the public with information on the work, history and membership of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.


The Office was set up in 1978 following a recommendation by the Services Committee in their report Services for the Public (July 1977). The Committee recommended there was "a need for the House to ensure that the public is well informed about its work" and that a "small information office be created within the library...dealing with enquiries from the public."

The office was thus established on 1 June 1978 and was originally known as The Public Information Office. It quickly evolved into a much bigger section in order to cope with the volume of calls it received. By 1982 the Office was responding to more than 50,000 enquiries annually and this figure rose to 69,000 in 1985 and was up to 95,000 in 1990. It was also one of the first sections to pioneer the use of computers and electronic publication in the House of Commons with the use of Viewdata.

Role of the office

The HCIO's original aims have changed little in its 30 year history and is still charged with "Promoting public knowledge and understanding of the work and role of Parliament." The current HCIO office is a quick reference service for the public dealing with all aspects of the work, history and...
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