Select Committee on Public Administration Fourth Report


FOURTH REPORT


The Public Administration Select Committee has agreed to the following Report:—

MINISTERIAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS:

THE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE COMMITTEE'S

SECOND REPORT OF SESSION 2000-01

1. The Committee and its predecessors have for several years monitored the performance of government departments in answering Parliamentary Questions. We regard openness and accuracy in answering Questions as a crucial element in ministerial accountability. The Committee has published a series of Reports on the issue, the latest of which appeared in January 2001. We publish today, without comment at this stage, the Government's Response to that Report. However, as part of our annual monitoring, we are currently seeking explanations from Government departments on the nature of their response . We believe that this information will enable us to arrive at a more up to date and comprehensive assessment of whether or not the performance of Government departments is improving. When this information is available, we will publish a further Report on this issue. We note with approval the Speaker's recent statement on departments' answering of Questions, and his suggestion that Members should contact the Committee about cases in which Answers were unsatisfactory. We will be taking this evidence into account in our Report, which will appear in the early part of next year.


 
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Prepared 20 December 2001