MONDAY 19 JULY 1999
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
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
AD HOC COMMITTEES
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