Scrutiny Reform follow-up and Legacy Report - European Scrutiny Contents

3  Select Committees and EU Reporters

32. The Scrutiny Reform Report noted the importance of formal and informal liaison between our Committee and the House's Departmental Select Committees.26F[27] Since it was published we have taken a series of steps to develop this, particularly to enable better sharing of information. One area of particularly successful joint working was our liaison with the Home Affairs and Justice Committees on the scrutiny of the UK Government's 2014 block opt-out decision. The Committees published a series of Reports, both jointly and separately, and while there was widespread dissatisfaction with the UK Government's approach to scrutiny this was at least clearly highlighted by a common tone of criticism from across the House.27F[28]

33. Turning to the mechanics of scrutiny, the Scrutiny Reform Report recommended a new "requirement to appoint a European Reporter on each Departmental Select Committee".28F[29] We saw this as an important way of ensuring that EU scrutiny issues made their way onto all Committee agendas in the face of the many other demands on Select Committee time. The Liaison Committee29F[30] agreed that, while it recognised the potential advantages of an EU Reporter system, the decision of whether or not to appoint EU Reporters should lie with individual Select Committees.

34. Following these discussions in the Liaison Committee two Select Committees (the Justice Committee and the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee) appointed EU Reporters. The BIS Committee appointed two co-Reporters, Brian Binley and Paul Blomfield; the Justice Committee appointed a single Reporter, Elfyn Llwyd.

35. We are grateful to these Committees, the Members and the Committee staff involved for effectively trialling the EU Reporter system. The feedback received has been generally positive, and we are aware that in both Committees the work of the EU Reporters has led to the provision of more specific briefing on particular issues, discussions in Committee and, in the case of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, a new inquiry.

36. The feedback we have received about the EU Reporter initiative has been generally positive. While we note that the Liaison Committee decided that Select Committees should have discretion over whether or not to appoint EU Reporters we would like to see as many Committees as possible in the new Parliament choose to do so. We recommend that all Departmental Select Committees (and cross-cutting Committees such as the Environmental Audit Committee) in the new Parliament specifically consider the appointment of an EU Reporter at their first meeting.

27   Scrutiny Reform Report, Chapter 6 Back

28   Our seventeenth Report of Session 2014-15, The UK's block opt-out decision: summary and update Report, HC 762, sets out the history of this scrutiny. Back

29   Scrutiny Reform Report, para 216 Back

30   The Commons Committee of Select Committee Chairs Back

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Prepared 25 March 2015