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 Westminsterthough these can have a huge impact,
particularly when they are covered by the mediabut 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.