Letter from Mr Archy Kirkwood MP, Work
and Pensions Committee
Thank you for your letter dated 12 December.
I have now had the opportunity to examine the proposals to change
the content and style of 2002 Departmental Reports outlined in
the letter from the Chief Secretary.
The predecessor Committee regularly examined
the Department (usually the Secretary of State) on the Report
at an oral evidence session. The last such occasion was 2 May
2001 and the Minutes of Evidence were published as HC, 2000-01,
During the course of that session, I commented
(at Qs 2 & 3) on the complexity of the report and associated
accounts. I would, therefore, favour any improvement in the presentation
and content of the report which made the document clearer and
I believe that the proposals by the Chief Secretary will assist
in this regard.
I note that the proposed changes are to be introduced
on an interim basis and therefore hope that the Treasury, via
your Committee, will provide a further opportunity for consultation
once the results have been produced and considered by Committees.
Finally, I can confirm that, although the Committee
did not receive advance copies of the Winter Supplementary Estimates,
the content was discussed informally by officials. In view of
the content of the estimate, the Committee does not intend to
make any use of the information, but the explanatory material
provided in the estimates was considered helpful.
I hope this helps your Committee's deliberations.
15 January 2002