Select Committee on Liaison Second Report


Second Report

Session 1998-99


By the Select Committee appointed to advise the House on the resources required for select committee work and to allocate resources between select committees; to review the select committee work of the House; to consider requests for ad hoc committees and report to the House with recommendations; to ensure effective co-ordination between the two Houses; and to consider the availability of Lords to serve on committees.


Future committee activity

1. The Committee has given further consideration to the future committee work of the House.


2. We were informed of the withdrawal by Lord Ezra of his proposal for a new committee on Overseas Trade to review developments since the last committee on that subject reported in 1985.


3. We considered a proposal put forward by the Earl of Sandwich for the establishment of a Select Committee on International Affairs. This would be a sessional rather than an ad hoc committee. We have doubts about the timeliness of appointing such a committee now, but we noted the strength of support for the proposal from members of the House and we propose to keep the matter under review.


4. In our First Report of this Session we welcomed the involvement of this House in pre-legislative scrutiny, but expressed the hope that it would in future be possible to co-ordinate the appointment of similar committees and to give reasonable notice in each case. We were therefore disappointed to note that the Select Committee on the draft Freedom of Information Bill had been appointed at short notice at the same time as the Joint Committee on the draft Local Government (Organisation and Standards) Bill, creating acute staffing difficulties. We were however encouraged to learn that the Government hope to be able to introduce a degree of co-ordination into the arrangements for pre-legislative scrutiny next Session.


5. We were informed that the Select Committee on the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England is expected to report shortly. In the autumn we hope to be able to recommend the appointment of a successor ad hoc committee, and we shall welcome proposals for suitable subjects.


6. We noted with satisfaction the Clerk of the Parliaments' intention to strengthen the staff of the Committee Office in the autumn, by means of the appointment of two additional Clerks and three additional support staff, with a view to increasing the resources available to serve existing committees and to provide some capacity to serve committees undertaking pre-legislative scrutiny.

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