Select Committee on House of Commons Commission Twenty-sixth Annual Report

Supporting the House and its committees


34. Managing the introduction of the changes agreed by the House in 2002-03 - in particular revisions to sitting hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, so that the House sits earlier in the day and, usually, concludes its business earlier than before - has continued to be a major challenge for House staff. A September sitting was introduced for the first time in 2003, as were new procedures for the carryover of Government bills from one session to the next. Planning for major maintenance and construction projects, some of which can only be undertaken during lengthy adjournments, has been particularly affected by the introduction of September sittings. The publication of a second 12-month calendar of sitting days, for the 2003-04 session, was welcomed by House staff, but its provisional nature was underlined by changes to the length of the Easter recess and there remains uncertainty until late in the year about the dates of prorogation and the State Opening of Parliament.

A second calendar of sitting days was published for the 2003/04 session.

35. The Clerk's Department, the Library and the Department of the Official Report are mainly engaged with supporting the business of the House and its committees. The Clerk's Department principally comprises offices which each focus on different aspects of the work of the House. These include the:

  •   Journal Office, which produces the daily and permanent record of the proceedings of the House, receives papers and public petitions, and advises on parliamentary privilege and procedural developments;

  •   Table Office, which receives and edits questions and early day motions, and advises Members on their content, prepares the daily Order Paper and advises the Clerks at the Table during sittings;

  •   Legislation Service, which supports the work of the House and its committees in considering public and private bills, statutory instruments, EU documents, and regulatory reform proposals;

  •   Committee Office, which provides the secretariat of each select committee;

  •   Overseas Office, which provides the secretariat of the delegations of the House to international assemblies and also provides expert advice and support to other Parliaments and assemblies and their staff (see paragraphs 158-60); and

  •   Vote Office, which supplies the House and Members with documents.

    An enquiry point was opened in the e-Library in Portcullis House in February 2003.

    36. The Library provides an information and research service to the House and its committees both in support of this core task, and in relation to the support of individual Members and their staff in their multifarious roles. Since the work of the Library in relation to these two core tasks cannot easily be differentiated, the main Library services are all covered in this section. The Library combines a reference and lending library in the main building and outposts in the Derby Gate building and Portcullis House, with an extensive research service. The Library also includes the Information Office and Parliamentary Education Unit, which are covered later in this report (see paragraphs 124-27 and 151-54).

    37. The Department of the Official Report produces edited verbatim reports of the proceedings of the House (including sittings in Westminster Hall) and its standing committees. It also processes and prints written answers to parliamentary questions, and written ministerial statements. Select committee proceedings are provided not by the department but by a private firm, WB Gurney and Sons LLP, under contract to both Houses of Parliament.

    Sittings of the House


    38. The chart below gives information about the number of sitting days, and the average duration of sitting days, in each of the last five years.[8]

    Further information about the business of the House and its committees can be found in the annual Sessional Return, the most recent of which covers the 2002-03 session.[9]

    In 2003/04 over 25,000 pages of reports on debates were published in daily parts, more than ever before.

    Reporting proceedings of the House

    39. The edited verbatim reports of proceedings in the House and Westminster Hall — the Official Report, or Hansard — are printed overnight and published on paper and on the internet the day after the debates to which they relate. In 2003/04 over 25,000 pages of reports on debates in the House and Westminster Hall were published in daily parts.

    40. The Department of the Official Report aims to make not more than one significant error per 13 columns of the final version of text of proceedings in the House. The chart shows how the department has performed against this target in recent years and gives an indication of recent activity levels.

    41. The introduction of digital audio for recording proceedings was phased in slowly over the year to reduce the risk caused by unexpected integration difficulties. Towards the end of the year, it was used in standing committees and Westminster Hall. Full implementation is planned for summer 2004.

    The number of questions and Early Day Motions continued to rise in 2003/04. Despite this the Table Office accurately processed around 99.95%.

    Questions, answers and motions

    42. Notices of questions and motions are received and processed by the Table Office and printed under the supervision of the Editorial Supervisor of the Vote. Answers to questions are published in the Official Report and questions and Early Day Motions (EDMs) are indexed by staff of the Library. New technology is transforming aspects of each of these processes, notably the Vote Bundle project which is concerned with printing the daily papers of the House (see paragraphs 93-4) and the Parliamentary Information Management Services (PIMS) project, which will replace the POLIS search engine at the end of 2004 (see paragraphs 83-4).

    43. The number of questions continued to rise in 2003/04, as did the number of EDMs. Despite these increases, the Table Office performed well against its measures for accurately processing questions and EDMs. Errors in both categories have remained very low, at around 0.05 per cent of questions and motions.

    44. The Editorial Supervisor's office has moved again, from cramped quarters at one end of the parliamentary estate to a refitted suite in 7 Millbank. The new questions system, part of the Vote Bundle project, has been live since September 2003 and is producing a high quality set of papers, all processes apart from the actual printing being done in-house (see paragraph 93). Work is now advanced on the next phases of the project, which should see all the papers in the Vote Bundle being produced in-house, possibly as soon as 2005.

    45. The new tabling arrangements for oral questions introduced in January 2003 have worked well and have, as envisaged, made tabling more convenient for Members. Since January 2003, Members have also been able to table oral or written questions electronically, from computers linked to the Parliamentary Network. The number of Members registered to use the e-tabling facility has increased steadily (standing at 196 in March 2004). The proportion of questions tabled electronically has similarly increased, representing 16.8 per cent of questions tabled in March 2004.

    46. Five further sessions of cross-cutting questions took place in Westminster Hall during the financial year. On each occasion ministers from several departments (and their shadow equivalents) attended. To date relatively few Members have taken part in these sessions.

    47. The introduction of an optical character recognition/scanning system for written answers has enabled the Official Report to achieve its production target — an average of 75 per cent of answers received processed overnight. The number of answers published is still dependent on the overall workload of the print contractor. The production of recess editions of the Official Report, containing written answers, is now well established.

    48. The Library's targets for adding skeleton records for answered questions to the POLIS database were met on all but one occasion during the year. The increased target for subject indexing of written answers was met for much of the year, though it continued to be vulnerable to the increase in the number of written answers printed at certain times.

    49. The Library calculates that there were 1,486 "I will write" letters promised by Ministers in written answers in 2003/04. The Library also received 173 letters in response to written questions tabled towards the end of the 2002-03 session for which no answer was printed in Hansard. Discussions have begun with Government departments about the best way to make the texts of "will write" letters available more widely.

    50. The PIMS project, which will replace the POLIS search engine in 2004, is described in more detail in paragraphs 83-4. As part of the PIMS project, new systems are being developed to replace current methods of entering EDMs and to carry out the shuffle of oral questions. The former builds on the database developed for the Vote Bundle printing project; the latter on the software developed in 2002/03 for electronic tabling. It is hoped that the new EDM applications in PIMS will make the process of adding names, in particular, less time-consuming for Table Office staff.

    51. Good progress continues to be made in the electronic transfer of data. Hansard now receives the text of EDMs electronically direct from the Editorial Supervisor's office. Discussions between House officials and civil servants responsible for the Government's Knowledge Network have resulted in the transfer of questions electronically to the Knowledge Network each night. Arrangements are now being made to test the delivery of written ministerial statements by electronic means, with a pilot to test the secure electronic delivery of written answers to follow.

    The introduction of revised sitting hours and the continuing volume and complexity of Government legislation meant a heavy workload for the Public and Private Bill Office in 2003/04.



    52. The period under review was the first full year since the introduction of the revised sitting hours. This, together with the continuing volume and complexity of Government legislation and the fact that the vast majority of Government bills was programmed, meant that the Public and Private Bill Office had a heavy workload for most of the year. Numbers of meetings and numbers of amendments tabled have actually declined somewhat in comparison with 2002/03; however, since standing committees on bills now tend to start in the morning at least an hour earlier than before and sit in the afternoon until 5 or 5.30 pm, the normal working day of the Office has been extended. In recognition of this, a new post of Bill Support Officer has been created within the Office at Senior Executive Officer level.

    53. The average number of amendments, new clauses and new schedules tabled per sitting day during 2003/04 was 54.9, slightly fewer than in the previous year but still 35 per cent more than in 2001/02.

    54. The number of private bills presented continues to decline, with only four such bills introduced in November 2003: two in the Commons and two in the Lords. Two opposed bill committees met during the year. In recognition of the fact that the clerk in charge of private bills now spends eighty per cent of her time on public bill work, the Private Bill Office has been relocated to the third floor above the Chamber and, in effect, merged with the Public Bill Office.

    55. Partly for reasons of the reduced availability of storage as a result of the relocation of the Private Bill Office and also in pursuance of the House's objective of the preservation of historical records, it was decided to digitise the Private and Local Acts - some 775 volumes in all - by scanning them and storing the data on CD. By the end of March 2004 the project was nearing completion, on time and well within budget.

    56. The following chart provides an indication of the workload of the Public and Private Bill Office over the last five years.[10]

    57. The committees which scrutinise draft bills are usually supported by staff from the Committee Office, but the Public and Private Bill Office supplied the clerk to the Joint Committee set up to scrutinise the draft Mental Incapacity Bill (see paragraph 67).

    58. Work has continued on developing the FrameMaker software for the production of bills in consultation with the Parliamentary Counsel Office and the Public Bill Office in the House of Lords; and a new version, with additional functionality, was introduced in November 2003. None of the 52 bills published in session 2003-04 so far has had to be reprinted as a result of error attributable to the Office.

    Reporting of standing committees

    59. The total number of pages of Standing Committee debates published in recent years is shown in the chart below:

    60. Although the volume of Government legislation was lower than last year, there were still occasions when the work load was so heavy that not all proceedings of Standing Committees were produced overnight, and when staff primarily responsible for reporting on the House had to help in the reporting of Westminster Hall. However, all production targets were met, and often exceeded.

    European scrutiny

    61. Details of the work of the European Scrutiny Committee, including its main task of scrutinising EU legislative proposals and deciding which require further consideration, can be found in its annual report for 2003.[11]

    Convention on the future of Europe and the Inter-Governmental Conference

    62. The work of the Convention on the future of Europe ended in July 2003. Staff of the National Parliament Office (NPO) attended Convention meetings, reporting back to the European Scrutiny Committee in particular; support continued to be given to the UK's national parliament representatives (by the Legal Services Office and Overseas Office as well as the NPO); two further reports on the Convention's work were produced by the European Scrutiny Committee; and two further meetings were held of the Standing Committee on the Convention. The Standing Committee on the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC), which was modelled on the Standing Committee on the Convention, met on three occasions to question Ministers and debate the IGC's work towards agreeing an EU Constitutional Treaty.

    Select committees
    63. The high level of activity by select committees has continued, and has been increased by additional ad-hoc committees on draft bills. The table below shows the numbers of formal select committee meetings, and reports issued by departmental select committees, over each of the last five financial years.

    64. Core tasks for committees were approved by the Liaison Committee in June 2002,[12] and have now been operating for a full year to assist individual committees in planning their work to ensure that all areas of Government activity are subject to proper scrutiny. Further details on the work of select committees can be found in the Liaison Committee's annual report for 2003.[13]

    65. Concern that committees were under-resourced for the level of activity which they were now expected to undertake was highlighted in last year's Report. A review of select committee resources, undertaken by the House's Internal Review Service with assistance from the National Audit Office, recommended additional staff for committee secretariats and increased collaboration between the Committee Office and the Library. Other improvements include the introduction of Select Committee Media Officers who will provide professional advice to select committees and promote their work to a wider audience (see paragraph 123). These recommendations are now in the course of being implemented with the approval of the Commission. It is planned that similar reviews will occur at five year intervals.

    Scrutiny Unit

    66. Pre-legislative and financial scrutiny by committees has continued to receive help from the Committee Office Scrutiny Unit, which began work in November 2002. The Unit has already established itself as a highly effective source of support to Committees in these and other areas. It has now reached the full complement of seventeen approved by the Commission. The Unit has undertaken some 112 tasks of varying size for twenty select committees, including providing briefing material on the 2002/03 and 2003/04 Estimates, advising individual committees on the format and content of departmental annual reports, and assisting with the formulation of questions on public expenditure. An increasingly significant call on the Unit's resources has been pre-legislative scrutiny, as more bills are published in draft. So far, since its inception, the Unit has provided support for five Joint Committees on draft bills, as well as for four select committees in the Commons.

    The easy-to-read version of the report published by the Joint Committee on the draft Mental Incapacity Bill was the first of its kind.

    Printing and Publication

    67. The new layout for select committee reports was successfully introduced from 1 May 2003, and has been generally welcomed. As foreshadowed in our last Report, the additional printing costs have largely been offset by the substantial savings arising from universal introduction of the practice of sending memoranda of written evidence to the printers in electronic form, rather than having them set by the printers. The Joint Committee on the draft Mental Incapacity Bill broke new ground in publishing an easy-to-read version of its report, designed and written by a specialist consultancy, and intended to reach those with learning difficulties, alongside its conventional report to the two Houses.

    Local authority oversight and scrutiny

    68. In view of the growing number of requests from local authorities for advice on scrutiny practices and procedures, following the full implementation of the change in local authority structures required under the Local Government Act 2000, a number of day-long seminars were organised at Westminster in conjunction with the Centre for Public Scrutiny, primarily intended for local authority oversight and scrutiny chairs and scrutiny staff. Committee chairmen and staff spoke to participants, who also attended committee hearings. Committee chairmen and staff have also addressed several seminars in the regions.

    Delegations to Overseas Assemblies

    69. The Houses of Parliament send delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Assembly of the Western European Union (AWEU), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE PA) and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA). The European Section of the Overseas Office in the House of Commons assisted the 66 delegation members who attended 10 plenary sessions and nearly 250 committee meetings during the year.

    70. The UK delegation continues its high levels of activity at PACE and the AWEU, and includes the leaders of two of PACE's political groups. The Rt Hon Bruce George MP was re-elected for a second term as President of the OSCE PA at its Annual Session in Rotterdam in July 2003. Members of the UK delegation to the NATO PA chair two of its five committees.

    71. The European Section makes the arrangements for visits to the UK by committees of the Assemblies. In July 2003 the NATO PA's sub-committee on transatlantic defence and security co-operation met in London for discussions with Government departments and think tanks. The AWEU Defence Committee met in Westminster in September. In November the PACE Committee on culture, science and education visited Liverpool for a two-day programme of deliberative meetings and site visits. That Assembly's committee on economic affairs and development had its annual meeting with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London in January 2004. The European Section continues with its preparations for the Annual Session of the OSCE PA to be held in Edinburgh in July 2004.

    Providing information for the House and its committees

    House of Commons Library

    The Reference Room in the Members' Library.

    72. The Library's operations have traditionally supported both the work of the House and its committees and that of individual Members and their staff, without necessarily making any clear distinction between the two tasks. Thus the Library's rich resource of Research Papers and Standard Notes supports Members' work in their constituencies as well as informing the legislative process and other types of debate. The increasing emphasis on making pre-prepared information available on-line has blurred the distinction still further, but responses to enquiries from individual Members, and their staff working on Members' behalf, remain a significant element of the Library's services.

    Research and Information Services

    73. The department answers many specific enquiries from Members and their staff arising from the wide range of Members' parliamentary duties. The total number of requests in 2003/04 for written and oral briefings and reference information was in excess of 75,000; these ranged from requests for specific documentation or basic facts to substantial briefings on policy matters. Recent trends in research and reference enquiries are shown in the table below.[14]

    74. The Library aims to respond to all these enquiries within the stated deadline or, for those requests without a deadline, within two weeks. In 2003/04, 98 per cent of enquiries for which a deadline was specified were answered within that deadline; and 94 per cent of other enquiries were answered within two weeks.

    75. The Library's policy in recent years has been to manage demand and provide a more flexible service to its users by providing more ready-made briefing information, both in paper form and electronically. During the year, 91 research papers were published, providing background and commentary on bills and other topical issues along with regular statistical bulletins. These included papers produced before the Commons second reading on all major bills. Research papers are available on the Parliament website as well as internally; during the year such papers were downloaded on some 730,000 occasions. The chart below shows how the number of Library publications accessed from both the Parliament website and intranet have increased considerably in recent years.

    76. Standard notes are more informal briefings, held primarily in electronic form and made available on the parliamentary intranet. They have proved popular with Members and their staff as they can be easily updated and generally address issues of current interest. By the end of the year 1,816 standard notes were available on the intranet, and they had been accessed from there on 100,000 occasions during the year. Standard notes on parliamentary topics were made generally available to the public via the Parliament website for the first time during the year.

    A major Library development in 2003/ 04 was the introduction of Debate Packs, which are available in hard copy and on the intranet.

    77. A major development in 2003/04 was the introduction of Debate Packs. These are collections of readily available material (such as newspaper articles, parliamentary questions, and standard notes) relevant to non-legislative debates taking place in either the Chamber or Westminster Hall. They have proved to be very popular with users.

    Network Services

    78. Research papers and standard notes form the backbone of a much wider range of briefing material available to Members and their staff via the intranet, which includes subject-specific links to parliamentary and other material and useful external websites; an increasing number of constituency and other local-area statistics; 'bill information pages'; and other databases. The Library's intranet site was redesigned in April 2003 and, among other things, it is now easier for Members and their staff to find briefings directly related to the business of the House. Further significant developments, including enhanced search and retrieval facilities, will be introduced in 2004/05 as part of the PIMS project (see paragraphs 83-4).

    79. The POLIS database continues to be the key source for references to parliamentary information and in 2003/04 142,821 items were added to the database, very slightly more than in 2002/03. As elsewhere in the House, the high number of written questions has continued to put a considerable strain on the resources of the POLIS Section (see paragraph 48). POLIS will be replaced at the end of 2004 as part of the PIMS project (see paragraphs 83-4).

    Reading Rooms

    80. The reading rooms in the Members' Library (primarily for Members' use) and in Derby Gate (primarily for Members' staff) continue to be valued by those wishing to use the Library's services in person rather than online or by telephone. The increasing availability of material online means, however, that fewer people now need to come to the Library in person (see paragraphs 75-6). In response to this trend, and as part of the Library's on-going Change Project, changes to reading room facilities were introduced in February 2004. An enquiry point for information requests was established in the Portcullis House e-Library, which also had its opening hours extended. At the same time, enquiry services in the 1 Derby Gate building were consolidated into a single reading room.

    Book loans

    81. The number of book loans in 2003/04 increased by 0.8 per cent to 3,514, although the proportion of loans from Library stock fell by 1.9 per cent. There has been a long-term decline in the number of book loans, reflecting the increasing availability and use of network resources.

    PIMS and Change Projects

    82. In Spring 2003 the Library surveyed a cross section of its customers to establish what they most value about the Library's services and how their needs might be met more fully in future. The evidence gathered during this exercise has provided a firm foundation for the future development of the Library's services. Plans for changes to the Library's structure and processes are well advanced, in order to deliver services which best meet the needs of users, are more flexible and involve less duplication of effort. Underpinning these developments is the need to take full advantage of the enhanced technology and functionality provided by the introduction of PIMS.

    83. Although it must encompass services already provided by POLIS, PIMS is required to support much wider information needs and to lay a foundation that will permit the organisation to extend the reach of parliamentary information services to a broader community of users. Following a procurement exercise, the contract for the design, development and implementation of PIMS Phase One was let in November 2003, and work is progressing steadily.

    84. PIMS Phase One centres on the information managed and provided as a service by the Libraries of the two Houses, but also includes applications used by the Table Office and European Scrutiny Committee in the House of Commons (see paragraph 50). The products selected, and the infrastructure on which they will be built, have been procured and designed with an eye to meeting potential future requirements elsewhere in Parliament. For this reason, the applications software is all compliant with recognised industry standards, to permit future integration with other standards-based products; and the technical architecture follows a modular, flexible design so that it can be extended as required. Implementation is planned from late 2004.

    Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
    85. The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) operates as an independent unit with its own Parliamentary Board, composed of Members of the Commons and Lords. Its purpose is to provide advice to Members of the two Houses and to select committees on current and anticipated issues of scientific, technological and medical concern. It is funded from the House of Commons Administration Estimate, 30 per cent of the cost being recovered from the House of Lords.

    During the year POST published 18 'POSTnotes' on current and anticipated issues of scientific, technological and medical concern (right).

    86. POST regularly provides a wide range of support to select committees, on request. Its regular publications' programme also feeds into committee activity, including stimulating decisions to hold an inquiry. Both Houses have requested POST to keep them informed on public dialogue activities in science and technology, and POST has pioneered the use of on-line discussion to help Parliament consider a broad spectrum of views on current issues.

    87. During the year, POST conducted 13 separate pieces of work for a total of eight Commons and Lords committees. POST also published 18 'POSTnotes' (parliamentary briefings) and three longer reports, on a wide range of subjects. All POST's publications are available on the Parliament website, and through the Parliamentary Bookshop. POST also organised parliamentary seminars and conferences.

    88. The year was also notable for two additional activities. First, POST has considerably expanded its fellowship and internship schemes. With these, it is cooperating with various learned societies, UK research councils and individual universities to offer three-month positions for postgraduate students, who work under supervision on a specific publication or on select committee support. Secondly, POST has been very active in collaboration with several of its sister organisations serving national and regional parliaments in other European countries. It has worked on joint projects where there is a common interest and has taken a lead in providing advice to parliaments in Spain and Sweden, considering creating similar offices.

    Vote Office

    89. The work of the Vote Office centres around the provision of documents needed by the House in order that it can conduct its business. In addition to the papers that the House itself generates, Government papers and memoranda, delegated legislation documents and European documents are all required to be made available. The table below shows the average number of pages of the daily Vote Bundle, which is made up of the key working papers for the House, published over the last five years.

    90. Key events in the parliamentary cycle, such as the Budget and Autumn Statement; and statements on the release of reports of major enquiries (this year Laming, Hutton and Penrose, together with the Shipman inquiry report) are centred around the timely supply of the relevant documents. The documents themselves tend to be both bulky and expensive, subject to substantial but indeterminate demand, and involve the need for a high degree of security prior to release. The Vote Office plans and executes major logistic exercises, in conjunction with the relevant Government departments, to ensure that difficulties of supply do not become distractions at the moment of publication and the Office's expertise, built up over many years, ensures that the supply of documents is efficiently and effectively managed on such occasions.

    91. The passage of legislation back and forth between the two Houses before agreement is reached can place heavy demands on the Vote Office, particularly towards the end of a session. The arrangements needed at the end of the 2002-03 session, when a number of flagship bills were involved in this process at the same time, were the most demanding ever, but the co operation between the Legislation Service and Print Services ensured that the availability of the relevant papers was never the limiting factor in deciding the overall timetable of events.

    92. The Vote Office oversees the contract with the Stationery Office for the printing and distribution of the House's own papers. This year has again seen some notable demands compared with previous ten year highs of production: volumes of EDMs continued at the exceptional level seen last year, and have risen by a further 9.9 per cent. Legislative papers, containing proposed amendments to legislation, too have risen by 13.3 per cent over the previous 10 year high. Business papers and Hansard have also exceeded previous highs by a small amount. As a consequence, while overall expenditure on printing has exceeded the estimate for 2003/04 by some 2 per cent, total expenditure has been constrained to just over £9 million, broadly similar to last year, mainly due to savings from revised production methods coming on line. Whole House costs of printing and purchasing documents have risen to just under £12 million, reflecting high levels of activity, and the need to purchase copies of reports of the significant public enquiries that were published during the year.

    Vote Bundle Project

    93. The Vote Bundle Project - which aims to improve the production methods of House papers by bringing origination and pagination under House control - passed another significant milestone at the end of 2003, when the House took over complete responsibility for the keying and preparation of parliamentary questions (see paragraph 44). As well as providing ready to print files to the printer electronically, electronic files of questions for internet display as HTML text are now supplied. For other users of the data, such as the Commons Library, Hansard and the Government, electronic feeds are being supplied against XML (eXtensible Markup Language) standards. Because of the changes of production methods for both EDMs and questions, savings over previous production costs of approaching £1 million will be generated annually.

    94. Work on phase 3 of the project - electronic capture of bill amendments - is well advanced and piloting of the new system is planned to take place in June 2004, after the recruitment and training of the required new members of staff. Preliminary work to prepare for phase 4, the electronic capture of remaining documents, the Order Paper being the most significant, is taking place with assistance from the Information Architecture Support Unit (IASU).

    8   The data from which this chart, and others in this report, are derived, as well as more detailed activity and performance measures, are tabulated in annex 1 Back

    9   HC 1, 2003-04 Back

    10   The figures for bills in the table show the numbers of bills read the first time in each financial year. Bills carried over from one parliamentary session to the next are recorded more than once. Information about the number of standing committees was not recorded by financial year prior to 2000/01


    11   HC 42-viii, 2003-04 Back

    12   HC 558, 2002-03, paragraphs 12-17 Back

    13   HC 446, 2003-04 Back

    14   The number of reference enquiries was partially estimated in some years due to problems with the recording system Back

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