B. CASES WHERE EFFECTIVE SCRUTINY HAS NOT BEEN POSSIBLE |
Letter from the Rt Hon Clare Short MP, Secretary of
State, Department for International Development, to Lord Tordoff,
Chairman of the Committee
I am writing to apologise for the late submission of the
draft EM on a Microfinance Resolution to Parliament and to advise
you of my intention to support the text at the Development Council
Due to administrative error for which I apologise, the English
language version of the draft Resolution, which was received in
my Department in draft on 11 November, was not submitted to Parliament
earlier. A more vigilant examination of the Council agenda could
have alerted my officials of the need for scrutiny at an earlier
stage. We all regret that this has happened and are tightening
our procedures to ensure that this does not happen again.
The Resolution is a statement by the Council proposing the
development of consistent EU policies on microfinancing projects.
The Resolution is routine and does not involve financial commitments.
Discussion of the issue raised by the Council will continue after
the adoption of the Resolution, with a view to agreeing guidelines
for adoption at the Development Council in May 1998.
This Resolution is a helpful statement by the Council on
an issue which can play a significant part in the fight against
poverty and completely in line with government policy. Please
accept my reassurances that my Department takes the requirements
of Parliamentary Scrutiny very seriously and will continue to
work closely with Cabinet Office to seek to ensure that future
documents are submitted promptly.
27 November 1997
Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee,
to the Rt Hon Clare Short MP, Secretary of State, Department of
Thank you for your letter of 27 November and the enclosed
Explanatory Memorandum informing me that on 28 November you intended
to support the text of a Council Resolution on microfinancing
I am grateful for your apology for the late submission of
the Explanatory Memorandum and, like you, hope that the tightening
of procedures" will preclude any repetition which prevent
Parliament from carrying out its duty of scrutiny. I note that
guidelines are to be prepared for adoption by the Development
Council in May 1998. We look forward to receiving information
on the proposed guidelines so that the scrutiny procedures can
be operated normally in a timely manner.
There is one other aspect of the present position to which
I would draw your attention. Your letter indicated that, the next
day, you intended to support a particular text. Your Explanatory
Memorandum, however, was headed Official text not available".
It seems unsatisfactory that only 24 hours before the Council
meeting no official text was available. Presumably you were aware
of an unofficial text" which was expected to be very close
to the text likely to be adopted. In these circumstances, I suggest
that the most helpful course might have been for you to have submitted
an unofficial text with an explanation of the unavailability of
an official text.
3 December 1997