Select Committee on Liaison Third Report


2. Review of committees' work

8. This section highlights the work of committees in helping ensure parliamentary accountability of Government, including their fulfilment of the core tasks which the Liaison Committee developed from the House's resolution of 14 May 2002, and issued to committees in June 2002.

The core tasks of select committees

9. The core tasks provide the central scrutiny framework for committees as they hold ministers and their departments to account.Table 1: The core tasks
OBJECTIVE A: TO EXAMINE AND COMMENT ON THE POLICY OF THE DEPARTMENT
Task 1To examine policy proposals from the UK Government and the European Commission in Green Papers, White Papers, draft Guidance etc, and to inquire further where the Committee considers it appropriate.
Task 2To identify and examine areas of emerging policy, or where existing policy is deficient, and make proposals.
Task 3To conduct scrutiny of any published draft bill within the Committee's responsibilities.
Task 4To examine specific output from the department expressed in documents or other decisions.
OBJECTIVE B: TO EXAMINE THE EXPENDITURE OF THE DEPARTMENT
Task 5To examine the expenditure plans and out-turn of the department, its agencies and principal NDPBs.
OBJECTIVE C: TO EXAMINE THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE DEPARTMENT
Task 6To examine the department's Public Service Agreements, the associated targets and the statistical measurements employed, and report if appropriate.
Task 7To monitor the work of the department's Executive Agencies, NDPBs, regulators and other associated public bodies.
Task 8To scrutinise major appointments made by the department.
Task 9To examine the implementation of legislation and major policy initiatives.
OBJECTIVE D: TO ASSIST THE HOUSE IN DEBATE AND DECISION
Task 10To produce reports which are suitable for debate in the House, including Westminster Hall, or debating committees.

10. As we have noted in previous Reports, the core tasks represent guidance to committees, not a rigid blueprint.[5] It is important that committees retain the right to choose their own inquiries and have the ability to adapt their work programme at short notice, e.g. in response to urgent political events. We would not wish fulfilment of the core tasks to become a box-ticking exercise by committees. Nevertheless, experience shows that the core tasks framework has encouraged a methodical approach to scrutiny, and helps ensure that all areas of departmental work are covered by committees.

11. Not all work by committees falls neatly into the core tasks framework. This is especially the case for non-departmental committees such as the Environmental Audit Committee and the Committee of Public Accounts, which lack an annual report from an individual government department on which to focus their investigation into administration and expenditure. It is also true, for different reasons, of the Northern Ireland Affairs, Scottish Affairs and Welsh Affairs Committees. But even so, some of the committees to which the core tasks do not fully apply have nevertheless scored their work against them.[6]

Task 1: Scrutiny of policy proposals

12. The breadth of this core task challenges committees to identify those UK Government and European Commission proposals on which committees can most effectively influence policy as it is being formulated. Committees need to be both selective in which proposals they choose to examine in depth and imaginative in how they can best contribute towards policy development. This means in turn that the range of topics on which committees have sought to comment and to steer ministers and departments is vast. For instance, in 2007, the Science and Technology Committee alone reported on 11 subjects, ranging from the Abortion Act 1967 to the Government's space policy. [7]

13. The flexible nature of the core tasks framework allows committees to fulfil this objective without always focusing on a specific document or policy paper, as shown by the examples in Table 2. Table 2: The variety of subjects covered, approaches taken and outcomes achieved
Committee Policy area Committee approach Outcome
Defence Future of the UK nuclear deterrent Report ahead of White Paper publication(1) Informed debate a week later on the floor of the House
Home Affairs Treaty of PrmReport(2) Obtained response from European Commission after criticism of new precedent set by the Treaty
Northern Ireland Community-based restorative justice schemes Inquiry and Report(3) Contributed to consultation on NIO's proposals for the schemes
Public Administration PensionsFollow-up Report on previous work and changing policy(4) Contributed to helping 100,000 victims of pension wind-up schemes receive compensation
Treasury Unclaimed AssetsInquiry and Report(5) Identified areas for improvement in forthcoming legislation
Work and Pensions Two White Papers—reform of Child Support Agency, and introduction of Personal Accounts Inquiries and Reports(6) Provisions on 'naming and shaming' non-paying fathers excluded from CSA Bill

(1) Defence Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2006-07, The Future of the UK's Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: the White Paper, HC 225-i and -ii. (2) Home Affairs Committee, Third Report of Session 2006-07, Justice and Home Affairs Issues at European Union Level, HC 76. (3) Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, First Report of Session 2006-07, Draft Protocol for Community-based Restorative Justice Schemes, HC 87. (4) Public Administration Select Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2006-07, Pensions Bill: Government Undertakings relating to the Financial Assistance Scheme, HC 523. (5) Treasury Committee, Eleventh Report of Session 2006-07, Unclaimed assets within the financial system, HC 533. (6) Work and Pensions Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2006-07, Child Support Reform, HC 219-I and Fifth Report of 2006-07, Personal Accounts, HC 220-I.

PROPOSED EUROPEAN LEGISLATION

14. Many significant legislative proposals emanate from the European Union. The European Scrutiny Committee takes primary responsibility for examining the details of EU documents containing such proposals. In the 2006-07 Session it examined 1,079 documents, deeming 476 of legal and/or political importance and recommending 78 for debate. Five were debated on the floor of the House, and there were a further 31 debates in European standing committees, sometimes on more than one document. The Committee's highest-profile piece of work during the Session was on the Lisbon Treaty.[8] Its two Reports on the subject—which attracted considerable public and media attention—provided significant background information as the House began its lengthy consideration of the European Union (Amendment) Bill in early 2008.

15. In addition to the European Scrutiny Committee, other committees also examined EU-related proposals in 2007. Examples include reports from the Home Affairs Committee on Justice and Home Affairs issues at European Union level,[9] from the International Development Committee on EU Development and Trade Policies,[10] and from the Transport Committee on the Galileo satellite system.[11]

Task 2: To identify and examine areas of emerging policy, or where existing policy is deficient, and make proposals

16. A significant proportion of committees' time is spent on analysing and commenting on emerging or deficient policy. This is an area in which committees bring pressure to bear on the Government to adapt its approach. It can be hard to measure the precise impact that committees' work has in this respect—the time taken for government responses to arrive, the changing shape of policy and the influence of external pressures such as the media or pressure groups all play their part. Nonetheless, reports from select committees clearly play a role in identifying flaws in policy and means to correct those flaws, as shown by the examples in Table 3 below. Table 3: Emerging or deficient policy: impact of committees
Committee Inquiry/Report Impact
Communities and Local Government Is there a future for regional government?(1) Government brought forward proposals to create new parliamentary regional committees
Culture, Media and Sport Call TV quiz shows(2) Played significant role in exposure of malpractice in phone-in TV and radio programmes
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Single Payment Scheme for farmers(3) Helped expose major failings in the work of Defra and the Rural Payments Agency
Justice Role of the Attorney General(4) Concluded A-G's seemingly contradictory positions almost inevitably bring accusations of political bias
Public Accounts Government use of consultants(5) Identified up to £500 million a year of possible savings; the Cabinet Secretary is considering action

(1) Communities and Local Government Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2006-07, Is there a future for regional government?, HC 352-I. (2) Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Third Report of Session 2006-07, Call TV quiz shows, HC 72. (3) Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Third Report of Session 2007-08, The Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 250, paras 8-10. (4) Justice Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2006-07, The constitutional Role of the Attorney General, HC 306. (5) Committee of Public Accounts, Thirty-first Report of Session 2006-07, Central Government's use of consultants, HC 309.

17. The work of the Public Administration Select Committee on the closure of final salary pension schemes is an outstanding example of how committees can contribute to the effective scrutiny of policy areas regarded as deficient.[12] Through a mixture of reports and the tabling, by Committee members, of back-bench amendments to the Pensions Bill, the Committee succeeded in securing a review of the Financial Assistance Scheme, and the Government accepted the review's conclusion—echoing that of the Committee—that there were no grounds for excluding people from the scheme.[13] The Committee credits "years of pressure from the Committee, the Parliamentary Ombudsman and campaign groups such as the Pensions Action Group" with securing an outcome which is a "superb advertisement for what parliamentary democracy can achieve".[14]

Task 3: Scrutiny of draft bills

18. Committees are keen to contribute their specialist knowledge to the legislative process through both the scrutiny of draft bills and of other legislation. Conducting scrutiny of draft legislation is a task on which, more than any other, committees are dependent on government initiative. Their work is affected by the number of bills published in draft and the timing of their publication.

19. In our last annual Report, we registered our disappointment that the Government had failed to live up to the expectations it had previously raised about the number of draft bills to be published, and recommended that this be increased in future.[15] In its reply, the Government stated that it remained committed to "publishing as many bills in draft as possible" and expressed the hope that the number of draft bills published each year "will be above the number achieved in the 2005-06 Session".[16] In the 2006-07 Session, the Government published four draft bills—a slight increase on the three published in 2005-06. The ratio of draft bills to government bills introduced also increased slightly. However, this is still a historically low number.[17] The Government has announced that it intends to publish seven draft bills in the 2007-08 Session.[18]

20. Table 4 shows the bills published in draft in 2007 and the parliamentary scrutiny they received.[19] Table 4: Scrutiny of draft bills: impact of committees
Committee Bill Scrutiny conducted Impact
Joint Committee; Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Environmental Audit Draft Climate Change Bill Pre-legislative scrutiny of draft bill Amendments made in response to recommendations—e.g. on role of Committee on Climate Change
Joint Committee Draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill Pre-legislative scrutiny of draft bill Amendments made in response to recommendations—e.g. proposal to establish a Regulatory Authority for Tissue and Embryos was dropped
__
Draft Regulatory and Enforcement and Sanctions Bill No scrutiny undertaken by committees
__
Transport Draft Local Transport Bill—Strengthening Local Delivery Pre-legislative scrutiny of draft bill Amendments made in response to recommendations—e.g. on employment rights for staff and new powers relating to road user charging

21. As in previous years, committees have registered concerns about the handling of the pre-legislative scrutiny process. For instance, the Transport Committee noted the "extremely challenging timetable" for its scrutiny of the draft Local Transport Bill, and expressed the hope that the Committee would have more time to consider the draft Marine Navigation and Port Safety Bill in Session 2007-08.[20] The Joint Committee on the draft Climate Change Bill expressed disappointment that there had been a long delay between the publication of the draft Bill and the appointment of the Committee, meaning that the pre-legislative scrutiny "was more hurried than we, and those who gave evidence to us, would have liked".[21]

22. Similar concerns have been expressed by the House of Lords Constitution Committee, which called on the Government to ensure that all draft bills are published in good time, and wherever possible that their release is spread throughout the parliamentary year.[22]

23. Despite such concerns, committees also commented on the value added by the pre-legislative scrutiny process. For instance, the Transport Committee noted that its scrutiny of the draft Local Transport Bill had "already had a significant impact on the face of the Bill and it will continue to inform debate in both Houses".[23]

24. Once again, we are disappointed at the comparatively small number of draft bills published by the Government. But numbers are not the most important aspect of the process. What matters is the quality of pre-legislative scrutiny that takes place and a crucial factor in accomplishing first-rate scrutiny is sufficient time for committees to do their work. For this reason, we are especially concerned that the Government does not appear to have taken into account the need for committees to have adequate time to plan and carry out effective pre-legislative scrutiny of draft bills. We welcome the Government's intention to increase the number of draft bills it publishes in 2008, but stress that sufficiently early publication of such draft bills is a necessary condition for proper scrutiny. The Government should liaise at an early stage with committees to ensure they can set aside time in their already busy work programmes to carry out their pre-legislative scrutiny function.

25. As is apparent from Table 4 above, the draft Climate Change Bill was scrutinised by a joint committee and two select committees, in the case of the Environmental Audit Committee as part of a wider inquiry. The Joint Committee was set up after the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee had informed the Leader of the House of its intention to carry out pre-legislative scrutiny and indeed had announced its inquiry into the draft Bill. This duplication of scrutiny led to pressure on staff resources, although these were alleviated by assistance from the National Audit Office and some joint working by the staff of the committees concerned. There was also pressure on Members' time, as seven members of the EAC also served on the Joint Committee. More important, this multiplication of scrutiny created some frustration and confusion amongst external stakeholders—10 witnesses gave evidence to both the EFRA Committee and the Joint Committee. While we recognise that some draft bills will be particularly suited to scrutiny by joint committees, it is for the House, not the Executive, to assess the most effective form of scrutiny, and we object strongly to the fact that the Government has sought to pre-empt the House's consideration of how to scrutinise draft bills by bringing forward motions for the appointment of joint committees without proper consultation. We reiterate the comment of our predecessor committee in 2005: there should be a presumption in favour of draft bills going to departmental select committees for pre-legislative scrutiny, where they are ready and willing to undertake this.[24]

OTHER LEGISLATIVE SCRUTINY BY COMMITTEES

26. In addition to their work on draft bills, committees have proved able to contribute to the debate on other bills. Table 5 gives some examples. Table 5: Examples of other bills scrutinised by select committees
Committee Bill Scrutiny conducted Impact
Health Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill Committee published Report on provisions in Bill before it reached Report stage in the Commons(1) Informed debate
Justice Freedom of Information Bill Private Member's Bill including provision exempting Members from FOI Act; Committee argued this was contrary to culture of openness in the public sector Informed debate

(1) Health Committee, Third Report of Session 2006-07, Patient and Public Involvement in the NHS, HC 278-I

27. The Joint Committee on Human Rights continues to scrutinise all government bills, and a range of other legislative proposals, reporting on the significant human rights issues raised by each bill. These reports also help inform the debates on bills—in both Houses. The Committee notes that in the majority of bills on which it reported, its Report was available before report stage in the first House to consider the bill.[25]

SCRUTINY OF SECONDARY LEGISLATION IN DRAFT

28. Committees examine draft secondary legislation as well as draft bills. The two main subjects of such scrutiny in 2007 were draft regulatory reform orders and the new draft Legislative Competence Orders in Council. The former are monitored by the Regulatory Reform Committee, which produced eight Reports on four regulatory reform orders in 2007.[26]

29. Draft Legislative Competence Orders in Council (LCOs) represent a new departure for parliamentary scrutiny of draft legislation. The Government of Wales Act 2006 allowed the National Assembly for Wales to seek to enhance its legislative powers by way of LCOs. The Orders do not themselves change the general law for Wales—they pave the way to subsequent changes in the law applying to Wales within the devolved areas of legislative competence. The Welsh Affairs Committee undertook an inquiry into LCOs, as it was envisaged that the Welsh Affairs Committee would play a key role in the procedure for scrutinising these orders, possibly working jointly with committees of the National Assembly for Wales. The Committee welcomed the opportunity to be involved in the pre-legislative process of proposed Orders in Council, but expressed some concern at the potential impact of this role on the rest of its programme of work.[27] The Committee published a Report on one draft LCO in 2007, on additional learning needs. The Committee concluded that an LCO was the most appropriate way forward for this proposal, and agreed that the proposed Order should be proceeded with, subject to some changes.[28]

THE GOVERNMENT'S DRAFT LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMME

30. In its Green Paper, The Governance of Britain, the Government announced that it intended to publish a draft version of the forthcoming session's legislative programme for parliamentary and public consultation.[29] The first such draft programme was published on 11 July 2007.[30] We considered the implications for committees of this development and agreed that in 2007, given the limited time available to consider the draft programme, individual committees should do what they could to examine, and publish their views on, any legislative proposals relevant to their work. The Leader of the House has subsequently indicated that the Government expects the draft programme to be published at Easter in future, thus providing "enough time that the Government has got a sensible thing to put forward but not so late that it is really too late for there to be substantial changes".[31]

31. Our Chairman and two select committee chairmen gave evidence to the Modernisation Committee's inquiry into the draft legislative programme. In our evidence, we noted that:

  • committees are ready to be involved in scrutinising the draft programme, but cautious about the impact this task might have on their existing work;
  • committees need adequate notice of when the draft programme is to be published, so that they can build their scrutiny of it into their programme of work; publication around Easter would be helpful to committees, and
  • it is unlikely that the Liaison Committee would be able to come to a single view on the question of balance within the draft legislative programme, as this is a fundamentally political question that does not sit well with the cross-party nature of the Committee.[32]

We made similar points at our informal meeting in October 2007 with the Leader of the House and the former Leader, now Secretary of State for Justice and the principal author of the Green Paper. The Modernisation Committee concluded that "publication before Easter, for a Queen's Speech delivered the following November, would provide enough time for select committees to integrate some scrutiny of the Government's legislative proposals into their programme".[33]

32. We welcome the publication of the Government's draft legislative programme, which has the potential to further enhance committees' engagement with the legislative process. In order for this potential to be realised, the draft programme will have to be published early enough for committees to be able to examine those proposals that fall within their remit and report on them in time for their views to be taken into account by the Government in finalising its legislative programme. We therefore welcome the Government's intention of publishing the draft programme for 2008-09 around Easter 2008.

THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC BILL COMMITTEES

33. Public Bill Committees (PBCs), with the power to take oral and written evidence on bills, have been in operation since January 2007. In our Report last year, we noted our concern that the new procedure might reduce the scope either for pre-legislative scrutiny by select committees or their examination of bills once introduced. So far, the existence of this new procedure does not appear to have precluded select committees from examining government bills when published, as shown by the example of the Health Committee in Table 5 above. It is not yet clear what impact the new PBC procedure will have on the Government's provision of opportunities for pre-legislative scrutiny, which we have noted have dropped back in recent years, but we will keep this issue under review.

Task 4: To examine specific output from the department

34. This core tasks refers to specific outputs "expressed in documents or other decisions". Most committees followed up on specific circulars, guidance or other documents issued by their departments during evidence sessions with their secretaries of state and other ministers, although only a few committees undertook discrete investigations into these subjects. One example of such a dedicated examination is contained in the Health Committee's inquiry into audiology services, launched in response to the Government's announcement in March 2007 of a new framework for services, which sought to address long waiting times suffered by patients who wanted to upgrade their analogue hearing aids.[34]

Task 5: Scrutiny of expenditure plans and outturns

35. One of the most important roles played by the departmental select committees is scrutinising expenditure by the government departments which they monitor. Other committees also devote some of their time to this task, and the Committee of Public Accounts is largely concerned with the examination of departmental spending, through its consideration of reports from the National Audit Office and evidence sessions with Accounting Officers.[35] In our last Report we noted a general consensus that committees' financial scrutiny of Government was not as effective as it might have been.[36] We set up a working group to examine how Parliament's financial scrutiny could be improved, and we comment on this initiative further in paragraph 45 below. In this section, we note some examples of ways in which committees have continued to improve their financial scrutiny of Whitehall over the past year.

DEPARTMENTAL ANNUAL REPORTS

36. The majority of financial scrutiny centres on Departmental Annual Reports (DARs), published in May, and to a lesser extent the Estimates, published at intervals throughout the year.[37] The standard procedure adopted by most committees is to analyse the DAR, supported by the Committee Office Scrutiny Unit, and request additional detail in writing from the department. The department's response then forms the basis of an oral evidence session with senior officials, or sometimes ministers, with many committees subsequently publishing reports. In our last Report we welcomed the fact that many committees reported to the House following their examination of the DARs, and urged more to follow suit.[38] In 2007, all but one departmental select committee held at least one oral evidence session on their department's DAR, or were planning to hold one early in 2008. As in 2006, about half the departmental committees have published, or plan to publish, a report on the Departmental Annual Report.

37. Examples of committee scrutiny of the DARs include:

  • Scottish Affairs, whose evidence session on the Scotland Office DAR was an opportunity to explore the "Barnett formula", and[39]
  • Foreign Affairs and International Development both examined their department's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) settlement as part of their inquiries into DARs.[40]

38. Autumn Performance Reports (APRs) update only some of the material covered in the much fuller DARs, on performance against PSA targets and efficiency targets. Most committees gave less attention to departments' APRs than to DARs, with only a handful holding hearings or producing Reports on APRs. Some committees prefer to conduct examination of APRs by way of correspondence with departments.[41] The Government's 'Alignment Project' may, in due course, combine some of the existing financial reporting documents, including DARs and APRs, which could increase the importance that committees attach to examining the remaining documents.

ESTIMATES

39. Most committees continue to quiz departments about the content of the Estimates they lay before Parliament throughout the year. Generally, this is conducted through correspondence. However, some committees have also reported on particular Estimates, and the Defence Committee has continued the practice it introduced after the last election of reporting on all the Ministry of Defence's Supplementary Estimates, in each case before the House of Commons was asked to agree them. The Committee notes that the MoD's Supplementary Estimates are of particular interest since they reveal the cost of military operations, which have traditionally not been covered in the Main Estimates.[42]

40. In our last Report, we commented on the quality of the Estimates Memoranda sent to committees by departments, which are intended to provide an explanation of the changes to expenditure sought in the Estimate. We concluded that they were not yet fulfilling their potential, even though they had improved since their introduction in 2004.[43] The Scrutiny Unit has continued to monitor the quality of memoranda, and reports that, overall, Estimates Memoranda have continued to improve, although there remain some problems with timeliness of publication. In two cases, memoranda were rejected by the committee concerned, and the department was obliged to provide a new and improved text. We were pleased to note that the Communities and Local Government Committee noted a "significant improvement in the Department's provision of information" following its criticisms of the DCLG's Estimates Memoranda.[44] The Scrutiny Unit assists committees and departments in improving the quality of memoranda, for instance through publication of guidance to departments and the dissemination of examples of especially good practice.[45] We welcome the continuing improvement in the quality of information provided in Estimates Memoranda, and the fact that pressure from committees is ensuring that the quality of departments' Estimates Memoranda is being further improved.

OTHER SCRUTINY OF EXPENDITURE

41. In addition to the annual cycle of DARs and APRs, committees examine expenditure issues as part of their wider inquiries.[46] Some also undertake additional scrutiny on expenditure, as set out in Table 6 below.Table 6: Other scrutiny of expenditure
Committee Scrutiny activity undertaken
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Criticised Defra in a follow-up Report to its inquiry into the department's DAR for passing a £200m cut in its budget on to bodies responsible for delivery. This was apparently due to the Department misunderstanding the Treasury's rules on end of year flexibility; a National Audit Office report on Defra's financial management was published in March 2008.(1)
Health Continued its practice of scrutinising the Department of Health's use of its £90 billion budget through a written questionnaire submitted to the Department. The Department's responses form the basis of oral evidence sessions with the Secretary of State and officials.(2) These sessions give the Committee the opportunity to "explore important areas of financial expenditure by the Department in more depth than was possible in other inquiries".(3)
Home Affairs A short inquiry into Police Funding which considered "how increased investment […] had been reflected in police performance and crime reduction".(4) It concluded that it was "difficult to assess how effectively the increased spending on the police in recent years has been deployed" and that as a result it was also "hard to assess the case made by the service and police authorities for more funding when there is no comprehensive measure of how well they have spent the money they have already received".(5)
Treasury Reports on prospects for the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and on the final outcome of the CSR.(6)

(1) Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, The Work of the Committee in 2007, para 17. (2) Health Committee, Public Expenditure on Health and Personal Social Services 2006, 22 November 2007, HC 26-i & -ii and Public Expenditure on Health and Personal Social Services 2006, 29 November 2007, HC 26-iii. (3) Health Committee, Second Report of Session 2007-08, Work of the Committee 2007, HC 337, para 28. (4) Home Affairs Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 44. (5) Home Affairs Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2006-07, Police Funding, HC 553, para 28. (6) Treasury Committee, Third Report of Session 2007-08, Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 230, para 17.

42. Committees continued their effective scrutiny of government expenditure over the last year. Such scrutiny of expenditure is not limited to an annual examination of departmental reports, important though this is. Committees have shown that an awareness of expenditure issues informs a much wider range of their work. We are pleased that most departmental committees have taken oral evidence on departmental reports, but emphasise that committees using this evidence to form the basis of a report to the House can further improve the quality of departments' financial reporting.

MERGING DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS AND RESOURCE ACCOUNTS

43. In 2007 two government departments—HM Treasury and Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR)—piloted a new publication which merged the DAR with the department's annual resource accounts. (The Ministry of Defence has for some years already published such a combined report.) We acted as a point of contact for HM Treasury, which coordinated the pilot, ensuring that the needs of committees in carrying out scrutiny of government financial reporting were taken into account in planning the pilot. The NAO has commented that integrating the reports more closely "gives Parliament and the general public a better idea of what is being delivered with financial resources at departments' disposal".[47] The Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) Committee[48] described the combined report produced by the former DTI as "an impressively comprehensive document, and, in our view, an improvement on earlier reports", but curbed its own enthusiasm with a warning that:

    It is too early to say whether the fact that a combined document necessarily emerges later in the financial cycle than the Annual Report it replaced will have any adverse impact on our ability to consider the Estimates in normal years.[49]

The Treasury Committee was broadly positive about the pilot, while noting that one consequence was the disappearance of separate chapters on the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and the Debt Management Office (DMO). The Committee concluded that, subject to adequate arrangements being put or remaining in place for reporting on the performance of these bodies, the pilot was an opportunity for "continued improvement in the quality of financial reporting" by the Treasury Group.[50] HM Treasury has indicated that the pilot may gradually be extended to other departments.

44. The new combined departmental reports and resource accounts are an opportunity to produce more helpful documents, although we note the potential disadvantage that they will be published later than the current DARs. The balance between the greater usefulness of the combined document and its later publication is one that can best be judged by the individual committees concerned, on a case by case basis.

LIAISON COMMITTEE WORKING GROUP ON FINANCIAL SCRUTINY

45. As noted in our previous Report, we established a working group consisting of our Chairman and the Chairmen of the Treasury Committee, the Committee of Public Accounts and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee to examine in more detail ways in which financial information could be provided and how committees might analyse and use that information.[51] We will publish a Report based on the findings of this working group on 21 April 2008. [52]

Task 6: Scrutinising Public Service Agreements and Targets

46. Committees generally scrutinise Public Service Agreements (PSAs) and associated targets as part of their annual examination of DARs. PSAs are also often examined in the course of policy-based inquiries, in one-off sessions with ministers or secretaries of state, and occasionally through correspondence. In 2007 committees measured performance against existing PSAs, but also assessed the adequacy of the new PSAs introduced for the period of the 2008-11 CSR.

PSA TARGETS AS PART OF EXAMINATION OF DEPARTMENTAL ANNUAL REPORTS

47. Most committees continue to investigate progress on PSA targets as part of their annual scrutiny of departmental reports in 2007. Table 7 below gives some examples.Table 7: Scrutiny of PSA targets during DAR scrutiny
Committee PSA scrutiny undertaken
BERR Took a particular interest in the PSAs for the newly created department, and their relationship to the PSAs of the Department for Trade and Industry.(1)
Constitutional Affairs Used its evidence session with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice to focus on progress towards PSA targets relating to delivery and public confidence in the criminal justice system.(2)
Culture, Media and Sport Followed up its work on the DAR with an evidence session with the Secretary of State and senior officials, discussing policy matters and performance against PSAs.(3)
Foreign Affairs Departed from the approach of its previous DAR inquiries by taking evidence on departmental performance not only from departmental officials, but also from high profile witnesses from outside the FCO, including Rt Hon Lord Ashdown and former ambassadors. This helped the Committee to put together a case study on the FCO's performance against its PSA target on conflict prevention.(4)

(1) Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Committee, The work of the Committee in 2007, para 18. (2) Constitutional Affairs Committee, Ministry of Justice: Aims and Objectives, 17 July 2007, HC 938-i. (3) Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Third Report of Session 2007-08, Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 234, para 13. (4) Foreign Affairs Committee, The Work of the Committee in 2007, para 43.

PSA TARGETS ASSESSED IN THE COURSE OF INQUIRY WORK

48. Committees regularly touched on PSA targets in the course of their policy-based inquiries over the past year, as shown in Table 8.Table 8: Scrutiny of PSA targets during inquiries
Committee PSA scrutiny undertaken
Communities and Local Government Report on Equality proposed that all equality strands be covered by a single PSA, in order to improve government action against discrimination. This recommendation was later adopted by the Government.(1)
Health Examined the Department of Health's PSA targets in its long-running annual Public Expenditure Questionnaire exercise. In particular, the Committee focused on whether the DoH would reach the PSA target on hospital waiting times, given that media reports had suggested the target would be softened.(2)

Committee PSA scrutiny undertaken
Home Affairs Considered a number of individual Home Office targets as part of their inquiry into Police Funding. The Report concluded that the Government's key crime reduction target, 'offences brought to justice', was not a good indicator of success in relation to the types of crime the public feared most, and recommended a better balance under new PSA targets.(3)
Transport Inquiries into the Government's Motorcycling Strategy and Novice Drivers both examined progress towards the target of reducing road deaths.(4)

(1) Communities and Local Government Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2006-07, Equality, HC 468, para 56. (2) Health Committee, Work of the Committee 2007, para 27. (3) Home Affairs Committee, Police Funding, para 30. (4) Transport Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2006-07, Novice Drivers, HC 355-I and Fifth Report of Session 2006-07, The Government's Motorcycling Strategy, HC 264.

49. The Public Administration Select Committee used correspondence to undertake ongoing, extensive scrutiny of Cabinet Office accounts, expenditure and performance in relation to its targets.[53]

GENERAL CONCERNS ABOUT PSA TARGETS

50. Committees continued to raise concerns about certain aspects of PSA targets, in particular their adequacy for measuring the work of government departments, as shown in Table 9.Table 9: Concerns about PSA targets
Committee Concern about PSA target
Communities and Local Government Expressed concerns about the extent to which the Department for Communities and Local Government could be held accountable for poor performance against its PSAs, stating that almost all of them 'relied on the actions of someone else if their goals were to be achieved and on data collected elsewhere if they were to be accurately measured and assessed'.(1)
Environmental Audit Examined the usefulness of PSAs in driving the Sustainable Development agenda across Government. The Committee concluded that such PSAs could only be effective if accompanied by cross-Government consensus and clear political will.(2)
Foreign Affairs Expressed disappointment that it had not been consulted in the drafting of the FCO's new PSA framework. The Committee expressed particular concern about the appropriateness of the performance target structure as related to the work of the FCO, and also recommended that targets and priorities be simplified and reduced in number.(3)

Committee Concern about PSA target
International Development The specific link between the Department for International Development's PSAs and the Millennium Development Goals continued to present difficulties in measuring DFID's effectiveness. The Committee concluded that the inclusion of specific indicators under the new PSAs should help to make their assessment of DFID's performance more meaningful.(4)

(1) Communities and Local Government Committee, Second Report of Session 2007-08, DCLG Annual Report 2007, HC 170, para 1. (2) Environmental Audit Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2006-07, The Structure of Government and the Challenge of Climate Change, HC 740, para 48. (3) Foreign Affairs Committee, The Work of the Committee in 2007, para 44. (4) International Development Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 44-47.

51. As part of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, the Government introduced a set of 30 new PSAs, intended to supersede the 110 PSAs in existence at the time of the 2004 Spending Review. All the new PSAs are cross-departmental, and according to Ministers "articulate the Government's highest priority outcomes for the CSR07 period and span departmental boundaries, setting out a shared vision and leading collaboration at all levels in the delivery system". Each of the new PSA targets is supported by a Delivery Agreement. Alongside the new PSAs, the Government introduced a new form of target: Departmental Strategic Objectives (DSOs). These are intended to cover the business carried out by a particular department. The Treasury Committee examined the new PSAs and DSOs in their Reports on the CSR. The Committee welcomed the distinction between DSOs and PSAs in principle, but noted that the cross-departmental nature of the new PSAs posed a challenge for a system of accountability currently based on departmental reporting and the work of departmental select committees. The Committee recommended that performance against outcome indicators in each of the new PSAs be reported on in new cross-departmental publications, twice a year. The Committee hoped that such publications would encourage more effective cross-cutting scrutiny of PSAs between the select committees concerned.[54]

Task 7: Monitoring the work of agencies and other public bodies

52. Committees adopt varying approaches to monitoring the work of the agencies and public bodies within the remit of their departments: through their scrutiny of Departmental Annual Reports; through inquiries into a specific body, or a group of related bodies; and in the course of wider, policy-focused inquiries.[55] Examples of each approach are given in Table 10 below. Table 10: Monitoring the work of agencies and other public bodies
Committee Scrutiny of agency or public body
EFRA Undertook detailed analysis of the working of the Rural Payments Agency and the Single Payment Scheme.(1)
Foreign Affairs Took evidence from the British Council and the BBC World Service as part of its inquiry into the FCO DAR.(2)
Public Administration Inquiry into Ethics and Standards focused on the role and constitutional status of five of the non-departmental public bodies sponsored by the Cabinet Office.(3)
Transport Examined the Olympic Delivery Authority during its inquiry into Transport for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.(4)

(1) Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, The Work of the Committee in 2007, paras 8-10. (2) Foreign Affairs Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, paras 49-50. (3) Public Administration Select Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2006-07, Ethics and Standards: The Regulation of Conduct in Public Life, HC 121-I. (4) Transport Committee, Third Report of Session 2006-07, Transport for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: The Draft Transport Plan, HC 199.

53. Most committees aim to scrutinise key agencies and public bodies on a regular basis. For example, the BERR Committee sets out to examine one or two of the Department's associated public bodies each year.[56] The Transport Committee endeavours to take evidence from each of the Department for Transport's associated public bodies over the course of a Parliament, while the Defence Committee has adopted a rolling programme of short inquiries on the work of individual defence agencies.[57]

Task 8: Scrutiny of major appointments

54. Up to now, select committee scrutiny of appointments has mainly consisted of evidence sessions once the job-holder is in post, and the role of these sessions is generally to assess the subject's views and priorities rather than directly evaluating their appointment. Several committees held early hearings with newly-appointed ministers, which were regarded as acting to some extent as "induction" hearings. The Cabinet reshuffle in June 2007 provided select committees with many such opportunities, including the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, the Home Affairs Committee and the Health Committee.[58]

55. Committees have scrutinised the appointment of senior officials and other related posts. Some examples from 2007 are given in Table 11.Table 11: Scrutiny of major appointments
Committee Scrutiny of appointment
Defence Monitors all significant appointments to the Ministry of Defence, its associated agencies and public bodies, as well as the Armed Forces, and considers whether these appointments merit scrutiny.

To date, it has not seen any reason to take further action. However, there are plans to take evidence from the new Service Complaints Commissioner after a year in post.(1)

Health Took evidence from the new Director General of NHS Finance, Performance and Operations as part of their work on the Public Expenditure Questionnaire.(2)
Joint Committee on Human Rights Following the launch of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, met informally with the Chair of Commissioners and the Chief Executive.

The JCHR will seek to take oral evidence from the Commission in 2008, once the new organisation is fully up and running.(3)

Transport Took evidence from the new Permanent Secretary of the Department for Transport, alongside the Secretary of State.(4)
Treasury Continued to scrutinise appointments to the Monetary Policy Committee, holding hearings with two members re-appointed to the MPC.(5)

(1) Defence Committee, The work of the Committee in 2007, paras 41, 44. (2) Health Committee, Work of the Committee 2007, para 36. (3) Joint Committee on Human Rights, The Work of the Committee in 2007 and the State of Human Rights in the UK, para 59. (4) Transport Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 36. (5) Treasury Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 23.

GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS ON PARLIAMENTARY SCRUTINY OF APPOINTMENTS

56. The Governance of Britain Green Paper proposed that Parliament, through its select committees, should become more involved in "the appointment of key public officials", with committees holding pre-appointment hearings with nominees for certain posts.[59] The Treasury Committee undertook the first pre-appointment hearing under the new procedure, with the first nominee to the post of Chair of the new Statistics Board, Sir Michael Scholar. It published a Report, in advance of the Commons debate on the subject, supporting Sir Michael's nomination, and made recommendations drawing on its experiences of the pre-appointment hearing process.[60]

57. The Public Administration Select Committee published a Report on the Government's proposal to involve select committees in public appointments, which aimed to clarify the purpose of pre-appointment hearings and to establish criteria to determine which posts should be subject to such procedures.[61]

58. The Government consulted the Liaison Committee about how the new procedures should work. We in turn consulted the chairmen of the relevant select committees, and published a Report in March 2007 setting out their views and our preferred approach. Our Report concluded that:

    The Government's proposals are a welcome response to our belief that select committees can add value to an appointments process […] it is our firm view that committees will now wish to work together with Ministers and their departments to carry forward a developing series of evidence sessions that can be helpful to the postholder and the department while providing enhanced accountability to Parliament.

We also approved the list of appointments which the Minister proposed should be subject to the new procedure—with the exception of that of the Comptroller and Auditor General, given the unique method of appointment to that post—and recommended that additional posts should be included, while noting that the list should be kept under review.[62] In its recent White Paper The Governance of Britain—Constitutional Renewal, the Government noted the publication of our Report and stated that it will continue to work with us on a final list of suitable posts for pre-appointment hearings.[63] We look forward to continuing to engage with the Government on its proposals for pre-appointment hearings.

Task 9: Implementation of legislation and major policy initiatives

59. We have already noted that committees examine policy proposals, and legislation either in draft or during its passage through Parliament. But committees also scrutinise the implementation of new legislation, and the effectiveness of existing legislation. Examples of this type of scrutiny in 2007 are given in Table 12 below.Table 12: Scrutiny of implementation of legislation
Committee Scrutiny of implementation of legislation
Health Examined a range of significant legislation since 1999, especially the implementation of the NHS Plan 2000, as part of its inquiries into Workforce Planning and NICE.(1)
Public Administration Held an evidence session on the demands and difficulties in implementing the 'public benefit' requirements in the Charities Act 2006.

Another evidence session concerned some of the consequences and implementation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.(2)

Transport Held an inquiry into the new National Boatmasters' Licence. The inquiry was particularly timely because the Government had been forced by a decision of the European Court of Justice to implement directives from which both the European Commission and the Government believed the UK had negotiated an exemption.(3)

Committee Scrutiny of implementation of legislation
Treasury Examined the effectiveness of the provisions of the Bank of England Act 1998 as part of its inquiry on the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England.(4)

(1) Health Committee, Work of the Committee 2007, para 37. (2) Public Administration Select Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 37. (3) Transport Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 16. (4) Treasury Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 26.

60. Committees also monitor the implementation of EU legislation. For instance, the EFRA Committee inquired into the implementation in the UK of the European Union Environmental Liability Directive.[64]

61. The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) continues to monitor the implementation of the Human Rights Act 1998. In particular, an evidence session in June 2007 with the then Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, addressed the matter of the applicability of the Human Rights Act to people detained by the military overseas, and the implications of this in the wake of allegations of torture and inhuman treatment by British troops in Iraq. The Committee hopes to return to investigate this topic further in 2008.[65] The JCHR also made recommendations on how to improve the coordination of action dealing with adverse judgments of the European Court of Human Rights within Whitehall and the provision of information to Parliament.[66]

62. In fulfilment of this core task, committees also examine the implementation of major policy initiatives. Table 13 below gives some examples.Table 13: Scrutiny of implementation of major policy initiatives
Committee Scrutiny of implementation of major policy initiatives
BERR Inquiry on the Implementation of the Report of the Women and Work Commission.(1)
Constitutional Affairs Looked at the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, expressing concern that measures proposed by the Government could restrict the flow of information into the public domain.(2)
Defence Published an updating Report on the implementation of the Government's 2005 Defence Industrial Strategy.(3)
Scottish Affairs Inquiry into Poverty which included an examination of the effectiveness of programmes such as Welfare to Work and Tax Credits.(4)

(1) Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Committee, Second Report of Session 2007-08, Jobs for the Girls: Two Years On, HC 291-I and -II. (2) Constitutional Affairs Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2006-07, Freedom of Information: Government's proposals for reform, HC 415. (3) Defence Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2006-07, The Defence Industrial Strategy: Update, HC 177. (4) Scottish Affairs Committee, Second Report of Session 2007-08, Poverty in Scotland, HC 128-I and -IIs.

POST-LEGISLATIVE SCRUTINY

63. Committees have an important role to play in scrutinising Acts of Parliament. In our Report last year we noted the report by the Law Commission on this subject and our productive meeting with the then Chairman of the Law Commission, Sir Roger Toulson. We also noted our appointment of a working group to take forward discussions on how a new mechanism for more systematic post-legislative scrutiny might operate.[67] In March 2007, the working group held an informal meeting with the then Leader of the House, at which the group's proposal that post-legislative scrutiny could be undertaken by a dedicated committee of the House of Lords, with Commons committees reserving the right to undertake scrutiny of particular pieces of legislation within their remits, was discussed. The subject of post-legislative scrutiny was also raised at our meeting with the new Leader of the House and the former Leader, now Secretary of State for Justice, in October 2007,[68] and at our meeting with the Chairman of the Law Commission, Sir Terence Etherton, in May 2008.

64. The Government published a Command Paper on its approach to post-legislative scrutiny, incorporating its response to the Commission's report, on 20 March 2008.[69] The Command Paper takes account of our views,[70] and states:

    […] the basis for a new process for post-legislative scrutiny should be for the Commons committees themselves, on the basis of a Memorandum on appropriate Acts submitted by the relevant Government department, and published as a Command paper, to decide whether to conduct further post-legislative scrutiny of the Act in question.

Such memoranda would be published as Command Papers between three and five years after Royal Assent, and provide information on the Act's implementation and operation. The relevant select committee would decide whether it wished to conduct a specific post-legislative inquiry into the Act, or perhaps to include it as part of another inquiry within its work programme. Publication as a Command Paper would allow "Lords and other interests to take up points raised in it". However, "the prime responsibility would rest with the Commons Committee initially to consider the Memorandum". The Government notes that in some cases it might be appropriate for a different parliamentary body—whether a Lords or Commons committee, or a joint committee—to conduct further scrutiny, "though not ordinarily if the Commons Committee has decided to conduct a review".[71] The Government "does not at this stage envisage establishing a permanent committee dedicated to post-legislative scrutiny".[72] We look forward to examining the Government's proposals for more systematic post-legislative scrutiny, and discussing their implementation with ministers. At this stage, we welcome the Government's recognition that post-legislative scrutiny is, in the first instance, a matter for Commons select committees.

Task 10: Debates in Westminster Hall and the Chamber

65. Core Task 10 relates to "assisting the House in debate and decision", through the production of reports suitable for debate. Select committee reports often inform, or form the basis for, debates on the floor of the House and in Westminster Hall. In many cases, a report is 'tagged' on the Order Paper as being of particular relevance to the debate, and in this way the committee's findings can inform proceedings. In addition, there are dedicated debates on committee reports. The Liaison Committee chooses the subject for six debates each year in Westminster Hall, and some Reports, also chosen by the Liaison Committee, debated on three days a year on the floor of the House.[73]

66. In 2007, there were 23 debates in Westminster Hall on committee reports, as set out in Table 14—an increase from 21 in the previous year.[74] 25 reports from 14 select committees were debated. Debates on committee reports can attract significant interest from Members—for instance, the debate on the former Trade and Industry Committee's Report on Post Office restructuring had the highest attendance of any Westminster Hall debate on a select committee report to date.[75]Table 14: Committee reports debated in Westminster Hall in 2007
Committee Report or issues Date of debate
Communities and Local Government Coastal towns7 June 2007
Constitutional Affairs Coroners' system and death certification 8 March 2007
Carter review (legal aid) 12 July 2007
Culture, Media and Sport Protecting and preserving our heritage 25 January 2007
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs British Waterways 25 April 2007
Environmental Audit Emissions trading 25 October 2007
Foreign Affairs East Asia1 February 2007
FCO's human rights annual report 2006 11 October 2007
Health Independent sector treatment centres 10 May 2007

Committee Report or issues Date of debate
International Development Peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction 22 March 2007
Development assistance and the Occupied Palestinian Territories 5 July 2007
DFID assistance to Burmese internally displaced people and refugees on the Thai-Burma border 6 December 2007
Joint Committee on Human Rights Human trafficking 24 May 2007
Treatment of asylum seekers 13 December 2007
Quadripartite Strategic export controls 22 February 2007
Science and Technology Drug classification 14 June 2007
Trade and Industry / Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform New nuclear? Examining the issues 19 April 2007
Post Office restructuring 29 November 2007
Transport Parking policy and enforcement 18 January 2007
How fair are the fares? Train fares and ticketing 26 April 2007
Treasury

Administration of tax credits 15 March 2007
Financial inclusion 15 November 2007
Work and Pensions Government employment strategy 17 May 2007

67. In addition to Westminster Hall debates, committee reports are considered in Estimates Day debates on the floor of the House, as set out in Table 15. Reports of the Committee of Public Accounts were debated on the floor of the House on 19 April and 23 October.Table 15: Committee reports debated on Estimates Days in 2007
Committee Subject of Report Date of debate
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Rural Payments Agency and the implementation of the Single Payment Scheme; UK Government's "Vision for the Common Agricultural Policy" 9 July 2007
Health NHS deficits12 March 2007
Public Administration Ethics and Standards: The Regulation of conduct in public life 5 December 2007
Science and Technology Scientific Advice, Risk and Evidence Based Policy Making 9 July 2007
Transport Local transport planning and funding 12 March 2007
Work and Pensions Benefits simplification 5 December 2007



5   e.g. Liaison Committee, First Report of Session 2005-06, Annual Report for 2005-06, HC 406, para 7 Back

6   e.g. Public Administration Select Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2007-08, Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 236. Joint Committee on Human Rights, Sixth Report of Session 2007-08, The Work of the Committee in 2007 and the State of Human Rights in the UK, HC 270 Back

7   Science and Technology Committee, Twelfth Report of Session 2006-07, Scientific Developments Relating to the Abortion Act 1967, HC 1045-I. See also Seventh Report of Session 2006-07, 2007: A Space Policy, HC 66-I. The Committee was abolished at the end of the 2006-07 and its functions transferred to the Innovation, Universities and Skills Committee; see para 69 below.  Back

8   European Scrutiny Committee, Twelfth Report of Session 2007-08, The Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 315,
para 9 
Back

9   Home Affairs Committee, Justice and Home Affairs Issues at European Union Level Back

10   International Development Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2006-07, EU Development and Trade Policies: An update, HC 271 Back

11   Transport Committee, First Report of Session 2007-08, Galileo: Recent Developments, HC 53. See also para 70 below for information on cooperation between the European Scrutiny Committee and other committees. Back

12   Public Administration Select Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2005-06, The Ombudsman in Question: the Ombudsman's report on pensions and its constitutional implications, HC 1081 Back

13   Department for Work and Pensions, Financial Assistance Scheme Review of Assets-Final Report, December 2007, para 47 Back

14   Public Administration Select Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 29 Back

15   Liaison Committee, Annual Report for 2005-06, para 14 Back

16   Liaison Committee, First Special Report of Session 2006-07, Annual Report for 2005-06: Government Response to the Committee's First Report of Session 2006-07, HC 920, para 1 Back

17   Details of the number of draft bills published since 1997-98 are included in Appendix 3 (The work of the Scrutiny Unit). Back

18   See www.commonsleader.gov.uk Back

19   The Home Affairs Committee also considered draft clauses of the Counter-Terrorism Bill, made available in confidence by the Home Office. See Fourth Report of Session 2007-08, Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 226, para 42. Back

20   Transport Committee, Third Report of Session 2007-08, Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 248, paras 20, 23  Back

21   Joint Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill, First Report of Session 2006-07, Draft Climate Change Bill, HC 542-I, para 5 Back

22   House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution, Fourth Report of Session 2007-08, Pre-legislative Scrutiny in the 2006-07 Session, HL 43, para 21 Back

23   Transport Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 23  Back

24   Liaison Committee, First Report of Session 2004-05, Annual Report for 2004, HC 419, para 38 Back

25   Joint Committee on Human Rights, The Work of the Committee in 2007 and the State of Human Rights in the UK, para 33 Back

26   Sessional Returns, Session 2006-07, pp. 244-45 Back

27   Welsh Affairs Committee, Third Report of Session 2007-08, Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 325, para 12  Back

28   Welsh Affairs Committee, Second Report of Session 2007-08, Proposed Legislative Competence Orders in Council: Additional Learning Needs, HC 44, paras 30 and 70 Back

29   Ministry of Justice, The Governance of Britain, Cm 7170, para 101 Back

30   Office of the Leader of the House of Commons, The Governance of Britain-The Government's Draft Legislative Programme, Cm 7175, July 2007 Back

31   Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons, First Report of Session 2007-08, The Government's Draft Legislative Programme, HC 81, para 20 Back

32   Ibid., paras 20-21, 30, 39  Back

33   Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons, The Government's Draft Legislative Programme, para 22 Back

34   Health Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2006-07, Audiology Services, HC 392 Back

35   Information about the work of the Committee of Public Accounts is included in the Chairman's letter to the Liaison Committee, Appendix 2. Back

36   Liaison Committee, Annual Report for 2005-06, para 34 Back

37   For a full account of the system of financial reporting to Parliament, see Liaison Committee, Second Report of Session 2007-08, Parliament and Government Finance: Recreating Financial Scrutiny, HC 426, to be published on 21 April 2008. Back

38   Liaison Committee, Annual Report for 2005-06, para 42 Back

39   Scottish Affairs Committee, Third Report of Session 2007-08, Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 278, para 14 Back

40   Foreign Affairs Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2007-08, The Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 287, paras 51-52. International Development Committee, Third Report of Session 2007-08, Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 255, para 43 Back

41   e.g. Work and Pensions Committee, First Report of Session 2007-08, Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 317, para 29 Back

42   Defence Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2007-08, The work of the Committee in 2007, HC 274, para 31 Back

43   Liaison Committee, Annual Report for 2005-06, para 33 Back

44   Communities and Local Government Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2007-08, Work of the Committee in 2007, HC 211, para 21 Back

45   See http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/scrutinyunit/reports_pubs.cfm Back

46   See e.g. Transport Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 25. Back

47   NAO, Managing financial resources to deliver better public services, Session 2007-08, HC 240, para 4.25 Back

48   On 11 March 2008 the House agreed to change the name of the Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Committee to the Business and Enterprise Committee. In this Report we refer to the Committee under its previous name, as this is what it was called in the year under review. Back

49   Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Committee, First Report of Session 2007-08, The work of the Committee in 2007, HC 233, para 17 Back

50   Treasury Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2007-08, Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments, 2006-07, HC 57, para 41  Back

51   Liaison Committee, Annual Report for 2005-06, para 34 Back

52   Liaison Committee, Second Report of Session 2007-08, Parliament and Government Finance: Recreating Financial Scrutiny, HC 426, to be published on 21 April 2008 Back

53   Public Administration Select Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 43 Back

54   Treasury Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 19. See also First Report of Session 2007-08, The 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, HC 55, paras 31-37. Back

55   e.g. the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's inquiry into the London 2012 Olympic Games. Work of the Committee in 2007, Annex, table 1 Back

56   Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Committee, The work of the Committee in 2007, para 21 Back

57   Transport Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 33. Defence Committee, The work of the Committee in 2007, paras 37-39 Back

58   Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, The Work of the Committee in 2007, para 23. Home Affairs Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 39. Health Committee, Work of the Committee 2007, para 36 Back

59   Ministry of Justice, The Governance of Britain, Cm 7170, July 2007, paras 74-76 Back

60   Treasury Committee, Work of the Committee in 2007, para 24 Back

61   Public Administration Select Committee, Third Report of Session 2007-08, Parliament and public appointments: Pre-appointment hearings by select committees, HC 152 Back

62   Liaison Committee, First Report of Session 2007-08, Pre-appointment hearings by select committees, HC 384, para 16 Back

63   Ministry of Justice, The Governance of Britain-Constitutional Renewal, March 2008, Cm 7342-I, paras 251-53 Back

64   Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, The Work of the Committee in 2007, para 24 Back

65   Joint Committee on Human Rights, The Work of the Committee in 2007 and the State of Human Rights in the UK, para 64 Back

66   Ibid., para 66 Back

67   Liaison Committee, Annual Report for 2005-06, paras 101-05 Back

68   See also para 31 above. Back

69   Office of the Leader of the House of Commons, Post-legislative Scrutiny-The Government's Approach, Cm 7320, March 2008 Back

70   Cm 7320, Appendix, para 19 Back

71   Cm 7320, para 9 and Appendix, paras 16, 19, 21 Back

72   Cm 7320, Appendix, para 25 Back

73   Standing Orders No. 10 (13), 54 and 145 (3) Back

74   Sessional Returns, Session 2005-06, pp. 40-46 Back

75   HC Deb, 29 November 2007, col 135WH Back


 
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