The Sergeant At Arms himself /herself is the Housekeeper of Parliament Building responsible for the maintenance of the building ,furniture ,equipment , provision of refreshments and general cleanliness of the institution.
Historically , within the Commonwealth ,the Serjeant -At-Arms (SAA) was ,and still is a Senior Official of Parliament responsible for security , housekeeping and ceremonial duties .He/ she carries the mace which is the symbol of authority of the Speaker or President of the Senate when leading the procession to the Chamber during sitting days.
The Sergeant -At- Arms department comprises of three sections namely housekeeping , canteen and orderlies. The establishment has 2 Serjeant -At -Arms posts ( National Assembly and Senate ), 2 Principal Housekeepers ,Senior Housekeepers ,canteen supervisor ,canteen staff, Machine Operator and orderlies. It is one of the 5 departments reporting to the Principal Director Human Resources and Administration.
To provide Housekeeping services ,an efficient mail delivery service and quality catering service to staff as well as to Members of Parliament and to perform ceremonial duties in accordance with Parliament tradition.
- Pro activeness
As earlier mentioned , the Serjeant- At -Arms ,through the Housekeeping section ,oversees the Stores management function, cleanliness, maintenance of the building and its surroundings . Aligned to this is the arrangement for contracting services for maintenance of building and equipment ( elevators : generator ),catering,laundry,gardening ,cleaning and rentals for Presiding Officers residences and offices . Procurement and distribution of utensils,uniforms,provisions,cleaning detergents,electrical and plumbing materials is another function performed by the department .
The delivery of mail within and outside the building is carried out by Orderlies . They also provide teas and water for Committees,during sittings of Parliament Orderlies perform Chamber duties. A specialized and qualified group of Orderlies is designated as canteen staff .The staff canteen provide lunch to staff at a subsidized fee of USD 1-00 per plate per day. They also provide boiling water for staff teas on request. . On sitting days only ,lunch is provided to Members of Parliament and staff at the members dining at a subsidized fee as well.
Photocopying services are available for Members of Parliament and staff in Office 6 Ground Floor.
CEREMONIAL AND OTHER DUTIES
In addition to the Housekeeping duties referred above , the Serjeant -At-Arms is responsible for carrying the mace when leading the Speaker /President of the Senate’s procession during sitting days, Official Opening of Parliament and State of the Nation Address days.
He /she enforces compliance with the Speaker’s /President of the Senate Instructions on dress code and proper decorum by ejecting defaulting Members of Parliament from the Chamber.
Officers from the Serjeant- At-Arms Department also ensure that visitors to the Speaker / President of the Senate’ Gallery observe approved instructions of silence and decorum when listening to debates. Clapping hands , ululating , booing and interjecting by visitors in the Speaker’s /President of the Senate’s Gallery is not allowed.