Letter from Mr Michael Mates MP, Northern
Ireland Affairs Committee
Thank you for your letter and enclosure of 12
December 2001 concerning the review of Departmental Reports.
The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has not
in this Parliament made any use of the supplementary estimates;
indeed, the Winter Supplementaries included no additional provision
for the Northern Ireland Office. You may however wish to know,
in the context of developments in the reporting procedure, that
the Northern Ireland Office has informed the Committee of a reduction
in the Requests for Resources from five to two in 2002-2003, to
bring the estimate into line with those for other GB Departments.
In the past the Committee, like other select
committees, has drawn upon the Annual Report as a useful source
of information in its scruitiny of the Northern Ireland Office's
work; the staff have been charged with drawing to our notice any
matters in the Supplementary Estimates which are worthy of attention.
Whether the Committee will wish to change this pattern in future
will depend, of course, on the style and content of the revised
Report when we see it. I anticipate, however, that the Committee
will also wish to be kept informed of developments in respect
of the new autumn submission, and may well conduct formal proceedings
if it then seems appropriate to clarify matters or to seek refinements
of the process in 2003.
15 January 2002