Select Committee on Treasury Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter from the Chairman to Chairmen of Departmental Select Committees


  In October 2000, the Treasury informed our predecessors of its intention to review Departmental Reports with users and producers, to see how they might be improved. It intended that the review should be completed by May 2001. In the event, the Review did not begin in earnest much before then, and was completed in October 2001. Based on the conclusions of this Review, the Chief Secretary proposed quite substantial changes in the context and style of the 2002 Departmental Reports. I enclose a copy of his letter to me outlining the proposals, and the rationale for change.

  The timescale of the Review unfortunately precluded my direct input from Select Committees themselves, one of the core users of Departmental Reports, although a number of Clerks supplied factual material about work done by their former Committees. We therefore took evidence on the proposals from Treasury officials, and a copy of the transcript is enclosed with this letter. In the New Year, we shall be taking evidence from the Chief Secretary. If you or your committee has any thoughts on what is proposed, I should be delighted to receive them.

  I should also be interested in your experience this year with Estimates and, in particular, the recent Supplementary Estimates, as this is the first year that Departments rather than the Treasury have been responsible for their submissions to Parliament. In particular:

    —  did you receive advance copies in draft of the Supplementary Estimates;

    —  how helpful was my explanatory material in the Supplementary Estimates; and

    —  what use has your Committee made, or does it propose to make, of the Winter Supplementaries and Vote on Account?

  I look forward to hearing from you.

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