The Secretariat assists Parliament in its functions and in all matters connected with its procedures and practices. The Secretariat also organizes Parliament's business and proceedings, and the work undertaken by its Committees, the Presidential Council for Minority Rights, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization and other Parliamentary associations.
The Clerk of Parliament is the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Secretariat and serves as the principal adviser on parliamentary procedures and practices. The Clerk guides and directs all departments within the Secretariat to provide specialist advice in relation to the House's proceedings and support services.
Parliamentary Clerks Department
The Clerk of Parliament is the most senior official in the Secretariat and he is supported by the Deputy Clerk and Assistant Clerks. The Clerks provide advice to the Speaker, chairpersons of Select Committees and Members of Parliament (MPs) on parliamentary law and procedures. Seated at the table directly below the Speaker's Chair in the Chamber, the Clerks act as advisors to the Speaker and MPs during a sitting.
The Clerks also maintain records of proceedings of the House and its Select Committees and examine Bills, questions for oral/written answer, Motions, petitions and other papers for presentation to ensure conformity with the House's rules prescribed in the Standing Orders.
Official Reports Department
Every word that is said in Parliament is recorded by a team of verbatim reporters and published as the official record of proceedings known as the Official Report of Parliamentary debates or "Hansard" as it is popularly known in Commonwealth Parliaments.
At every sitting of Parliament, the reporters transcribe the debates in full. The draft or first copy of the Official Report is sent via email to Members of Parliament (MPs) for verification. The verified copy of the Official Report of Parliamentary debates is published on the Parliament website within 10 working days from the adjournment of a sitting. The Department also produces the verbatim reports of Parliament's Select Committee meetings.
Language Services Department
Seated in sound-proof rooms facing the Chamber, the Language Service officers listen intently to every word that is being said by Members of Parliament (MPs) and simultaneously interpret the speeches from English to Malay, Mandarin and Tamil, and vice-versa.
Interpretation of Parliamentary debates is provided so that Members and the public attending the debates can listen to an on-going speech, using headsets provided at their seats in any of the four languages that they are familiar with.
The job of a Language Service officer is often challenging, requiring good language, analytical and comprehension skills, as well as an up-to-date knowledge of current issues and news.
The Security Department is responsible for the security of and order in the House. The Head of Department is assisted by the Serjeant-at-Arms.
In addition to assisting in the security and maintenance of order in the House, the Serjeants-at-Arms also undertake the House's ceremonial functions. One ceremonial function is leading the Speaker's procession into the Chamber at the commencement of each sitting. During the procession, the Serjeant-at-arms bears the mace which is the symbol of the Speaker's authority.
In maintaining order the Serjeants-at-arms are empowered to arrest persons who have committed breaches of privileges of the House.
Corporate Services Department
The Corporate Services Department provides administrative, personnel and finance support services to the Parliament Secretariat and Members of Parliament (MPs).
The administrative unit of the Department handles administrative matters, including proper record management, maintenance of the Registry and file mustering/archival, despatch, valuation of gifts, air-ticketing for MPs; and provides support services for parliamentary sittings, committee/delegation meetings and Chamber preparation.
The finance unit provides financial support to the Parliament Secretariat and MPs. It manages the annual budget of the Secretariat and ensures compliance with Government policies and statutory requirements through its internal audit function.
Estates and Facilities Department
The Estate and Facilities Department manages estate maintenance and tenancy contracts at Parliament House. It is responsible for ensuring the operational efficiency of building services that support parliamentary businesses. It undertakes and implements improvement or project works such as the upgrading and modification of existing space. It is the coordinating Department in helping to drive Parliament's Environmental Sustainability, and energy and water conservation measures.
Education and Publicity Department
The Education and Publicity Department's main task is to make parliamentary education interesting, exciting and accessible to students and members of the public. The Department develops and conducts programmes and educational tours for students and the public with the aim of deepening their understanding of parliamentary democracy, and the roles and functions of the Singapore Parliament. The Department also produces publicity and resource materials on Parliament to complement these education programmes.
The Staff and Librarians in the Library/Research Department develop reference materials, provide lending services and disseminate reference information to Members of Parliament (MPs), their Legislative Assistants and Secretariat staff.
From its humble beginnings serving only 32 Members in 1955, the Library Staff are now expected to be IT-savvy to be able to meet the more sophisticated and diversified information needs of current MPs. In this regard, the Library is equipped with up-to-date computer technology and access to vast electronic networks including Reuters, Newslink, Statlink and Lexis-Nexis.
The Parliament Library has accumulated over 20,000 volumes of books, journals, parliamentary publications and papers, legislation and a collection of press clippings to allow for the quick and accurate provision of research services and current news.
Computer Information Systems Department
The Computer Information Systems Department provides advice, undertakes and manages computerization and digitization projects in Parliament House on behalf of the Parliament Secretariat. Its team of IT officers are assigned from the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech). The Department is also responsible for the provision of IT applications and infrastructure services either directly or through service providers.