Select Committee on Liaison Third Report


Select committees play a vital role in Parliament's scrutiny of Government. Their hearings and reports are highly effective examples of Members working together on behalf of the public to hold Government to account for its policies and actions, and to inform parliamentary and public debate on the key issues of the day. Because they regularly engage with issues of current concern, committees are also well-placed to engage with the public through their work. They do this not just through their public meetings at Westminster—though these can have a huge impact, particularly when they are covered by the media—but through visits and evidence sessions in other parts of the country and via their websites. More recently, online forums have enabled committees to contact, and interact with, people who might not otherwise become involved in committee inquiries.

The Liaison Committee is developing its role as a champion of select committees' work, ensuring their views are clearly conveyed to ministers. Our task has become especially important in the light of the Government's Governance of Britain Green Paper, which has significant implications for Parliament and its committees. In our ongoing dialogue with ministers, we remain determined to uphold the rights of committees.

Our Report covers the wide range of investigative work in 2007, highlighting some significant achievements by committees in holding the Government to account across the scrutiny agenda, and noting some cross-cutting themes where we have also become involved. We discuss ways in which committees' working methods and approach to their tasks continue to evolve, notably in the areas of engagement with the public and in financial scrutiny. We also consider ways in which the Governance of Britain agenda may affect the work of committees.

364 Members served on select committees in the 2006-07 Session, with committees holding 632 public meetings and publishing 345 substantive reports. This Report pays tribute to their work.

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Prepared 4 April 2008