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.
Review of the committee activity of the House
1. The present committee work of the House is based
largely on the recommendations of the Select Committee on the
Committee Work of the House, chaired by Earl Jellicoe, which reported
in 1992 (HL Paper 35-I, Session 1991-92). In the light of changes
since then, and recent proposals for new committee activity, we
have begun a review of the present arrangements.
2. We have considered the resources needed for any
increase in committee activity. We understand that financial provision
has been sought in the public expenditure review covering the
next three financial years to permit a substantial increase in
committee staff. Nevertheless the need for extra accommodation
for new committees - rooms for meetings and offices for staff
- is a significant constraint.
3. We have reached the following conclusions:
(1) The Jellicoe Report recommended that ad
hoc committees should become a regular part of the committee
structure. We reaffirm that recommendation.
(2) We have noted the Government's proposal to
establish, before the Human Rights Act 1998 comes into force in
October this year, a Joint Committee on Human Rights. This will
be an additional sessional committee.
(3) We recommend the appointment of a Constitutional
Committee along the lines recommended by the Royal Commission
on Reform of the House of Lords (Cm 4534, paragraph 5.22).
4. We propose to continue our review at our next
meeting, when we hope to reach conclusions on other proposals
placed before us. We shall welcome suggestions for subjects for
ad hoc committees.