Select Committee on Liaison First Report


FIRST REPORT


The Liaison Committee has agreed to the following Report:

THE WORK OF SELECT COMMITTEES 2001

SUMMARY

This is a time of opportunity for committees. We welcome the Leader of the House's statement that " Good scrutiny makes for good government ". The priority given by him to committees as scrutiny's " most developed vehicle" creates a sense of expectancy.

The Modernisation Committee is due to report shortly; we have agreed to appoint a Sub-Committee to prepare our response. We shall keep up the pressure for reform.

We are continuing the work of our predecessors in publishing annual reports from select committees on their work over the past year, their forward plans, and problems they may have encountered.

We draw attention to some familiar problems, in particular with—

  • slow, and sometimes inadequate , replies from departments
  • failure to publish bills in draft or, if published, to allow sufficient time for scrutiny;

but we are also happy to record some areas where progress has been made by select committees, and where more can be expected —

  •  in joint working with one another, and with the National Audit Office
  • in new means of public consultation
  • in improving the accessibility of public hearings
  • in modernising the appearance of reports.

We make some modest proposals for change—

  • formal departmental target times for replies to Reports
  • changes to Standing Orders as sought by the Joint Committee on Human Rights
  • formal powers to committees meeting concurrently to choose/elect a chairman.

 
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Prepared 7 February 2002