House of Lords
Session 2002-03

Current Inquiries and Invitations to Submit Evidence

CONTENTS

EUROPEAN UNION COMMITTEE
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE
COMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION
ECONOMIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
RELIGIOUS OFFENCES COMMITTEE
HOUSE OF LORDS REFORM JOINT COMMITTEE
DRAFT CORRUPTION BILL JOINT COMMITTEE

EUROPEAN UNION COMMITTEE

Select Committee

(Clerk: Simon Burton 020 7219 6083)

The Committee continues to monitor the work of the Convention on the Future of Europe

Enquiries should be addressed to: Simon Burton, Clerk to the Select Committee, Committee Office, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW.

Sub-Committee A
    (Economic and Financial Affairs, Trade and External Relations)
(Clerk: Dr Richard McClean 020 7219 3140)

The European Central Bank

The Sub-Committee, under the chairmanship of Lord Radice, has decided to conduct an inquiry into the European Central Bank. The inquiry will review the workings of the Bank since it was established in 1998 and ask whether any changes should be implemented ahead of the enlargement of the EU in 2004. The dual focus of the inquiry will be to review:

    1. the two-pillar monetary policy strategy of the ECB; and
    2. the structure and workings of the Bank.

The inquiry will look at these issues from a European perspective, focusing on the wide European interest. The Sub-Committee will not address the issue of whether the UK should adopt the euro.

The Sub-Committee would welcome written comments on two issues above and would be particularly interested to receive answers to the following questions. In relation to the first issue:

  • How has the Bankís two-pillar monetary policy strategy worked since the start of stage three of EMU and the introduction of the euro on 1 January 1999?
  • Is the ECBís inflation target too low? Should the ECB adopt a symmetrical inflation target? What risks does such a target carry? Should the period over which the ECB is committed to meeting its inflation target be made more explicit? As well as an inflation target, should the ECB also have a target rate of growth of money GDP?

The emphasis of the inquiry will be on the institutional questions raised in relation to the second issue identified above. Here, the Sub-Committee is seeking answers to the following questions:

The structure of the ECB

  • What would be the effect of the recent decision of the European Council to amend the voting modalities of the Governing Council?
  • What would be the optimal solution to the problems posed to the workings of the Governing Council by enlargement? Is there a conflict between national interests and European interests? If so, how might these be reduced? What should be the relative size of the Executive Board in relation to the Governing Council? Should there be an independent monetary policy committee, along the lines of the MPC of the Bank of England?
  • What should be the roles of the European Council, the European Parliament and national parliaments in appointing the President and the other Members of the Executive Board?

Transparency of the decision-making system

  • Should the Bankís communication strategy and its implementation be changed?
  • What has been the effect of the press conferences held immediately after the meetings of the Governing Council? Should the ECB publish unattributed minutes of meetings of the Governing Council? Should the ECB publish the results of votes of the Governing Council? Would identifying individual positions cause problems in a multi-national organisation? How might any such problem be overcome?
  • What is the experience of interactions between the ECB and the NCBs? Other than the Council meetings, what structures are in place to facilitate communication between the staff of the ECB and the NCBs?

Accountability

  • Should the ECB continue to set its own inflation target? What alternatives are there?
  • What is the experience of the testimonies of the ECB before the European Parliament? Does the European Parliament sufficiently call the ECB publicly to account? To what extent has the ECB been ready to listen, to explain and, if necessary, to learn?
  • How regularly have members of staff of the ECB appeared before national parliaments?

The deadline for written evidence has now passed. Any enquiries should be addressed to: Dr Richard McLean, Clerk of Sub-Committee A, Committee Office, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW; telephone 020 7219 3140; fax 020 7219 6715; e-mail mcleanr@parliament.uk.

The 2004 EC Budget

Report due week beginning 14 July.

 

Sub-Committee B
    (Energy, Industry and Transport)
(Clerk: Patrick Wogan 020 7219 6798)

The European Commission Green Paper on: Entrepreneurship in Europe

Sub-Committee B (Energy, Industry & Transport) of the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union has conducted an inquiry into the European Commission's Green Paper Entrepreneurship in Europe.

The deadline for written evidence has now passed. The Report is due in mid-July.

Enquiries should be addressed to: Patrick Wogan, Clerk of Sub-Committee B, Committee Office, House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW. Telephone 020 7219 6798, email: woganp@parliament.uk.

 

Barriers to competition in the internal market for financial services

Sub-Committee B is undertaking an inquiry into the European Commissionís Financial Services Action Plan.

On 11 May 1999, the Commission adopted an Action Plan which outlined a series of policy objectives and specific measures to improve the single market for Financial Services. The Financial Services Action Plan is to be implemented by 2005.

The Financial Services Action Plan outlined four strategic objectives:

  • a genuine single market for wholesale financial services;
  • open and secure retail markets;
  • clear, efficient, prudential rules and supervision of financial services; and
  • wider conditions for an optimal, single financial market

Evidence was invited on the following issues:

A. The Financial Services Action Plan

  • What progress has been made to date? Has this been beneficial or deleterious to UK interests? Has sufficient weight been given to the position and experience of UK financial services industry?
  • What are the main outstanding matters that remain to be dealt with under the FSAP and what key issues will need to be resolved?

B. Implementation and enforcement

The success of setting up a single market in financial services will depend to a considerable degree on the way in which the regulatory Framework is implemented and enforced.

  • How successful do you expect the Lamfalussy process to be? Are any changes needed?
  • Who will be responsible for ensuring effective implementation and enforcement of the single market, after the regulatory Framework is in place? How successful do you expect this process to be? What will be the role of competition regulators at EU and Member State level?
  • What issues will arise as the single market framework is implemented and enforced?
  • What non-regulatory barriers might impede the effective functioning of a single market for financial services?

C. The future

  • How do witnesses see the future development of a single market in financial services following implementation of the FSAP? Are additional measures needed?
  • Will the changes resulting from the FSAP proposals have an impact on the competitive position of London and EU markets as a whole in the global environment?

The deadline for written evidence has now passed. You may follow the progress of the inquiry from the Weekly Agenda of House of Lords Select Committees. This is free, and may be ordered from Geoffrey Newsome, Committee Office, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW, telephone 020 7219 6678. Alternatively, consult the UK Parliament web site, at http://www.parliament.uk.

Sub-Committee C
    (Common Foreign and Security Policy)
(Clerk: Audrey Nelson 0207 219 6099)

Relations Between the European Union and the United States

The Sub-Committee on Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union Select Committee has conducted an inquiry into relations between the European Union and the United States in the field of foreign and security affairs. The focus is on two key general themes: the processes of co-operation, and the compatibility and complementarity of the external agendas.

  1. Processes of EU/US co-operation

    1. Is the Union, for the United States, a natural interlocutor of first instance in aspects of foreign and security policy, or does the United States prefer to deal with such issues bilaterally or in ad hoc multilateral groupings or in NATO?
    2. What are the preferences of the Unionís own members (especially the larger ones) for the conduct of business with the United States? - through the Union or bilaterally?
    3. What are the main factors that may lead countries on either side to choose to work bilaterally rather than through the Union? How far, for example, is classified intelligence a factor?
    4. Is the Union well organised and equipped for dialogue with the United States? Does the division of responsibility between the Presidency, the Commissioner for External Relations and the High Representative yield adequate clarity, cohesion and speed of response? Do these organs have the staff and expertise required for useful dialogue?
    5. What effect will the prospective enlargement of the Union have upon its efficacy and weight in foreign policy dialogue?
    6. What contribution to the dialogue might be made by Parliamentarians, NGOs or the academic world and "think-tanks"?
    7. What efforts should the Union make to strengthen its transatlantic links beyond the US Administration, for example with the Congress and with US public opinion?

  1. Compatibility and complementarity of EU and US foreign policy agendas

The Sub-Committee sees two main groups of issues:

    1. International security, including such matters as counter-terrorism, preventive military action, cooperative threat reduction in ex-Communist countries, reducing the threat from unstable/failing/authoritarian states, conflict avoidance and resolution, and non-military assistance for law and order and civil governance.
    2. Long-term stability, including such matters as international environmental challenges, international law, world energy supply, development aid and tackling global poverty.

The deadline for written evidence has now passed. Report due Tuesday 8 July: EU 30th Report, HL Paper 134.

Enquiries should be addressed to The Clerk, (Audrey Nelson) Telephone: 020 7219 6099, Facsimile: 020 7219 6715; and E-mail: nelsona@parliament.uk

Sub-Committee D
    (Environment, Agriculture Public Health and Consumer Protection)
(Clerk: Thomas Radice 020 7219 3015)

European Union Policy Development: The Challenge of Waste Management

Terms of reference:

    "To review developments in EU waste policy, from producer responsibility to integrated product policy, and to consider their contribution to improved and more sustainable waste management."

In the wake of recent developments in Community waste policy, the Commission has stated that it intends to "upgrade policy approaches on waste prevention" in its management strategy1. In parallel to work on implementation of agreed legislation, several strategies are in preparation which aim to take a more holistic approach to the problem of waste - looking at how to prevent it through design and technology as well as improving arrangements for final disposal.

The Development of Waste legislation

The Committee is interested in the development and implementation of current legislation such as the Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) and producer responsibility Directives (for example end of life vehicles (2000/53/EC) and waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) (COM (2000)347), and will consider whether they provide a sound basis for moving towards a more integrated life-cycle approach.

In particular the Committee will consider:

1. How effective are current regulatory impact assessments by the Commission in assessing the capacity for implementing waste Directives, and how can cost benefit analysis be improved in the early stages of a proposal?

2. How will the "extended impact assessment" process, part of the better regulation package2, which is to be piloted this year on amendments to the batteries Directive (91/157/EEC), improve the situation?

3. What is the appropriate stage for preparation and consideration of national impact assessments, to influence the debate and to ensure that assessments reflect the ability of individual Member States to meet commitments before they sign up to them in the Council?

4. How far can costs be realistically assessed at the EU level, when proposals change significantly through co-decision, particularly when conciliation is involved?

5. To what extent should amendments to legislation during its passage through the Community institutions be subject to some kind of cost benefit analysis?

6. How should impacts be assessed for non-legislative initiatives such as work plans and where a larger amount of implementation detail is left to Member States under framework legislation?

7. Could the UK be more proactive in influencing the development of EU policy? Do Government departments have access to the skills required?

Implementation

Implementation of waste Directives has given rise to problems in several Member States, including the UK. Enlargement will make the situation even more complicated, since there will be derogations for the implementation of a number of Directives, including landfill. For legislation which has been agreed but not yet implemented at national level, such as the WEEE Directive, it is unclear whether derogations will be sought in these areas as well.

8. How effective are UK Government departments and regulatory authorities in assessing the practical implications of forthcoming Community legislation and in working with industry and local authorities to address them?

9. What lessons can be learned from past difficulties to improve the quality, timeliness and effectiveness of implementation?

10. Does uneven implementation lead to problems of competition between Member States?

An evolving waste policy

11. How is the whole lifecycle approach being designed to address current limitations of waste policy?

12. With recent rapid development of EU waste policy, how is the move towards a full lifecycle approach likely to affect candidate countries? Is their capacity for implementation being adequately taken into account in the development of new approaches?

Relationship to current House of Commons inquiries

This inquiry is designed to complement inquiries by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee ("Winning the War on Waste"), and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee ("The Future of Waste Management: Moving up the Waste Hierarchy"). The Committee will begin taking oral evidence in June.

The deadline for written evidence has now passed.

1Environment DG management plan 2003 http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/environment/index_en.htm
2 Commission Communication on Impact Assessment:http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/com/cnc/2002/com2002_0276en01.pdf

Contact: Thomas Radice (Clerk) or Mrs Marilyn Byatt (Secretary), House of Lords European Union Committee, Sub-Committee D, Committee Office, London SW1A 0PW; tel: 020 7219 3015; fax: 020 7219 4931; e-mail: radicet@parliament.uk.Internet: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/lords_s_comm_d.cfm.


Sub-Committee E
    (Law and Institutions)
(Clerk: Nicolas Besly 020 7219 3194)

 Takeover Bids (12846/02 (COM(02) 534))

The Sub-Committee has conducted a short inquiry into the proposed Directive on takeover bids. A report was published on Friday 4 July: EU 28th Report, HL Paper 128.

Enquiries should be addressed to the Clerk, Nicolas Besly, Clerk of Sub-Committee E, Committee Office, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW. Telephone 020 7219 3194.

Reforming Comitology

Report due mid-July: EU 31st Report, HL Paper 135.

Proposed Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia

Report due mid-July: EU 32nd Report, HL Paper 136.

Enquiries should be addressed to the Clerk, Nicolas Besly, Clerk of Sub-Committee E, Committee Office, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW. Telephone 020 7219 3194.

Sub-Committee F
    (Social Affairs, Education and Home Affairs)
(Clerk: Tony Rawsthorne 020 7219 3326)

 Proposals to Establish a European Border Guard

The Sub-Committee has conducted an inquiry into integrated management of the European Unionís external borders and proposals to establish a European Border Guard. The starting point of the inquiry was a Communication of 7 May 2002 from the European Commission to the Council and the European Parliament Towards integrated management of the external borders of the Member States of the European Union.1 This led in June 2002 to agreement by the Council of an action plan on external border management.2 The inquiry will also examine the issues raised by an Italian-led feasibility study into the establishment of a European Police Border force.3

The Communicationís premise is that there is a need for a more homogeneous level of security at the EUís external borders to ensure mutual confidence between the Member States. The issue gains added importance from the forthcoming enlargement of the EU, which will greatly extend the EUís Eastern border and put it under the control

of new Member States. The eventual aim is the establishment of a European Corps of Border Guards. The Communication also examines the problems faced by existing Member States in policing long maritime borders.

The Communication identifies a number of issues that need to be addressed in the shorter term, including:

  • a common body of legislation
  • a mechanism for ensuring operational co-operation
  • common integrated risk analysis (including acting with third countries)
  • a harmonised curriculum and joint training for border guards
  • financial burden-sharing between Member States

The Italian-led feasibility study looked in more detail at the steps necessary for the gradual establishment of a European Border Guard. At Seville in June 2002 the European Council gave a general welcome to these initiatives and called for the work to be taken forward as a matter of urgency.

This inquiry is a follow-up to the Sub-Committeeís recent inquiry into A Common Policy on Illegal Immigration. 4 Evidence is invited on all aspects of the subject. Questions on which the Sub-Committee would particularly welcome comments include the following:

    1.  What forms of co-operation between EU Member States on external border controls already exist, and what are their strengths and weaknesses?

    2. Is the Commissionís premise that a more homogeneous level of security is needed at the EUís external borders justified?
    3. What are the implications of enlargement for external border security?
    4. Are the measures to enhance operational and training co-operation proposed by the Commission sufficient or is there a need for a degree of legal, financial and organisational harmonisation?
    5. Should financial burden-sharing between the Member States take place?
    6. If so, how and to what extent?

    7. Has the case been made for a European Corps of Border Guards? If it has, what would be its main benefits and problems?

    8. What should be the nature, composition, powers and objectives of such a body? Should it operate only at land or also at sea borders?

    9. What should its legal basis be?

    10. How should it be organised, financed and trained?

    11. Should the UK participate in it? How would participation square with the UKís opt-out from the Schengen border control system?

The deadline for written submissions has now passed.

The Committee have finished taking evidence and a report is due Thursday 10 July: EU 29th Report, HL Paper 133.

Enquiries should be addressed to Tony Rawsthorne, Committee Office, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW. (Telephone 020 7219 6612; Fax 020 7219 6715; e-mail: rawsthornet@parliament.uk ).

NOTES
1 Document COM (2002) 233 final, available on the Commissionís web-site: www.europa.eu.int.

2 Proposal of a plan for the management of the external borders of the Member States of the European Union, document 9834/02.

3 Feasibility study for the setting up of a "European Border Police", Final Report, Rome, May 2002.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE
Sub-Committee I(Clerk: Ms Rebecca Neal 020 7219 8650, e-mail: nealr@parliament.uk)
    Fighting Infection

The Science and Technology Select Committee has set up Sub-Committee I, with Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior in the chair, to consider and report on issues relating to human infectious disease in the United Kingdom, including¾

  1. current effectiveness of the surveillance systems in the United Kingdom and potential problems in the future
  2. links between surveillance and treatment of infectious disease
  3. links between surveillance and the strategies for preventing infectious disease

and to pay regard to¾

    • developments in surveillance, vaccine and diagnostic technologies
    • international approaches to surveillance, treatment and prevention of infectious disease
    • public attitudes, risk-perception and the role of the media.

The deadline for written submissions has now passed.

The Committee have finished taking evidence and the Report is due Friday 18 July. The written evidence received up to 18 February 2003 was published on 15 May, HL Paper 23. 17 volumes of oral evidence have also been published: HL Papers 23-i to 23-xvii. Reports also available at www.parliament.uk/hlscience. The Next inquiry will be Science in International Treaties - no details yet available.

Enquiries should be addressed to Rebecca Neal, Clerk of Sub-Committee I, Committee Office, House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW. Telephone 020 7219 5750; fax 020 7219 0277, email nealr@parliament.uk

You can follow the progress of the inquiry via the Science and Technology Sub-Committee I web pages, accessed from www.parliament.uk

 
Sub-Committee II(Clerk: Roger Morgan 020 7219 6072, e-mail: morganr@parliament.uk)
    Science and the Regional Development Agencies

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has appointed Sub-Committee II, chaired by Lord Patel, which has conducted an Inquiry into Science and the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).

The nine RDAs in England spend and mobilise significant sums on science-related matters. The Sub-Committee is interested in the diversity of approaches that have developed and, in the interests of spreading best practice, wishes to identify those that have been most successful. In doing so, the Sub-Committee intends also to make comparisons with the more established practice in the Devolved Administrations and in other countries.

Against that background, the Sub-Committee welcomed comments on the following questions (not all of which will be relevant for some respondents).

  1. How and to what extent do RDAs develop and exploit Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) to stimulate employment, employment opportunities, regeneration, wealth creation and improved skill levels?
  2. How do advances in SET and national SET policies and initiatives influence and inform RDAsí strategies?
  3. Do RDAs take full advantage of all available local, regional and national SET facilities, expertise and funds (including EU funds) in implementing their policies?
  4. How do RDAs reach decisions on financial support for SET? How should success be judged?
  5. What lessons may be learned from RDAsí approach to SET, and from the longer experience of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

The deadline for written submissions has now passed. The Committee have finished taking evidence. Report due week beginning 14 July.

The Next inquiry will be Practicalities of Renewable Energy Sources - no details yet available.

Enquiries should be addressed to the Clerk, Roger Morgan, telephone 020 7219 6075.

 

SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION
(Clerk: Mr Thomas Elias 020 7219 5960, e-mail: constitution@parliament.uk)

The Accountability of Regulators to Citizens and Parliament

The Constitution Committee have been appointed "to examine the constitutional implications of all public bills coming before the House; and to keep under review the operation of the constitution".

The Committee have decided to conduct an inquiry into the workings of regulators, and in particular:

"The accountability of Government-appointed regulators, their scrutiny by Parliament, their accessibility to the public, and their responsibility to the citizen".

The inquiry will focus primarily on the regulators of utilities, the media, and the financial and service sectors. At least initially, ombudsmen and executive agencies with regulatory functions will be only a secondary consideration, although the Committee welcome written submissions from such bodies.

The Committee welcomed written submissions which address any or all of the following:

Background

  1. What are the legal bases for regulators; what are the nature of their powers and how do they exercise them; how could their powers be revoked; from where do they obtain their financial and administrative support?
  2. By whom and how is the continuing need for regulators measured; how is their role changed or ended?
  3. Who are the members of regulatory bodies; how are they appointed; are they adequately representative; do Nolan principles operate?
  4. What are regulators set up to achieve; to what extent do regulators achieve their purposes without adverse consequences; how is their effectiveness assessed?
  5. To what extent are regulators both prosecutors and juries on an issue; what rights of appeal are there against decisions made by regulators?

Accountability

  1. How are regulators held to account by Parliament; what other accountability do regulators have to auditors, Government departments or other public bodies?
  2. How are regulators accountable to those whom they regulate; what is the impact of regulation on the economy; how transparent are their methods of working?
  3. How are regulators accountable to the public other than through Parliament; what opportunities do the public have to express particular concerns to regulators; how do regulatory bodies relate to their associated consumer watch-dogs?
  4. How effective is public consultation by regulators; what opportunities do the public have to contribute; to what extent do the public make use of those opportunities?
  5. To what extent do the needs or concerns of the public guide the work of regulators; are regulators instruments of Government or representatives of the public?
  6. How independent are regulators of Government; what factors do or might compromise their independence?

The deadline for written submissions has now passed.

The Clerk to the Constitution Committee, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW. Telephone 020 7219 5960; facsimile 020 7219 5355; email constitution@parliament.uk

 

SELECT COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
(Clerk: Susan Michell 020 7219 5358)
(e-mail: economicaffairs@parliament.uk)

Inquiry into Aspects of the Economics of an Ageing Population

The Economic Affairs Committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into aspects of the economics of an ageing population, and in particular to consider (i) length of working life; (ii) women; and (iii) fundamentals of pension policy.

The deadline for written submissions has now passed. Those contemplating late submissions should first contact the Clerk, Susan Michell, telephone 020 7219 5358. Submissions should be relevant to our terms of reference, and addressed in particular to the following questions:

The Committee will need to discover the basic factual position, including the extent to which the UKís population is ageing and how the UK compares with other countries in this regard.

The Committee welcomes written submissions which address any or all of the following:

1. To what extent is the UKís population ageing? What effect will this phenomenon have on the supply of labour and capital, wages, interest rates, asset prices (especially housing) and productivity? How do the relevant facts vary by gender and ethnic group?

2. How might policy reverse the recent trend towards early retirement? Should legislation to outlaw age discrimination be introduced? Would it work? Should there be a statutory retirement age? Can the labour market absorb more older workers? To what extent do people choose when to retire?

3. Why do people not save enough for retirement? How might they be encouraged to do so? What new products could the financial services industry offer to support retirement income and to influence retirement decisions?

4. Why are most pensioners who live in poverty women? How might public policy provide for people (mostly women) who cannot make regular and continuous contributions to a pension scheme throughout their working life? What responsibilities do private-sector financial product providers have?

5. What is the role of the basic state pension and does it fulfil that role? How is pension policy influenced by ideology, short-term political considerations, the need to produce consensus and the need to protect existing benefits?

6.  How should the following objectives of pension provision be prioritised in formulating pensions policy: adequacy, fairness, protecting incentives, affordability, certainty, simplicity, transparency, practicality and choice? What are the trade-offs?

7.  Is it appropriate to have as an explicit policy objective the reduction of public spending on pensions as a proportion of GDP? What is the role and relevance of (i) the institutional framework; (ii) fiscal policy; (iii) regulatory requirements?

8. What effect do means-tested benefits for pensioners have on work and saving incentives? Are there any people for whom zero or low saving is the appropriate economic response to their circumstances?

9. Is the continuing trend away from public and towards private provision economically sustainable? How are we to determine the best public/private balance?

Please note:

Evidence submitted becomes the property of the Committee, and may be published. Witnesses may publicise their written evidence themselves, but in doing so should indicate that it was prepared for the Committee.

Evidence should be clearly printed or typed on single sides of A4 paper, unstapled, and should be set out in numbered paragraphs. The submission should be signed and dated, together with a note of the authorís name and status and of whether the evidence is submitted on an individual or corporate basis. Submissions by e-mail are preferred (as attachments in Word), with a signed, hard copy to follow.

Concise submissions of 6 pages or fewer are preferred; longer submissions should include a single page summary. Annexes may be submitted, but will not necessarily be published. Relevant material prepared for other purposes (such as reports or submissions to other inquiries and consultations) may be submitted to the Committee for information, but will not be printed. Witnesses who submit original written evidence may be invited to give oral evidence at Westminster; transcripts of such sessions are published.

Evidence and inquiries should be addressed to:

The Clerk to the Economic Affairs Committee, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW.

Telephone 020 7219 6968; facsimile 020 7219 0277; email economicaffairs@parliament.uk.

The 3rd Report from the Select Committee on The Finance Bill 2003, HL Paper 121, was published on 17 June and Debated on Thursday 3 July in the House of Lords.

Enquiries should be addressed to: The Clerk to the Economic Affairs Sub-Committee on the Finance Bill, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW.

 

SELECT COMMITTEE ON RELIGIOUS OFFENCES
(Clerk: Ian Mackley 020 7219 5208, e-mail: reloff@parliament.uk)

The report, Religious Offences in England and Wales, HL Paper 95, was published on 10 June. The Report will be debated on a day yet to be finalised in the House of Lords.

Enquiries should be addressed to the Committee Clerk, Ian Mackley (Tel: 020 7219 5208); email: reloff@parliament.uk

 

HOUSE OF LORDS REFORM JOINT COMMITTEE
(Lords Clerk: David Beamish 020 7219 8675, e-mail: beamishdr@parliament.uk)

The Joint Committee was appointed in July and reappointed at the start of the new session in November:

"(1) to consider issues relating to House of Lords reform, including the composition and powers of the Second Chamber and its role and authority within the context of Parliament as a whole, having regard in particular to the impact which any proposed changes would have on the existing pre-eminence of the House of Commons, such consideration to include the implications of a House composed of more than one "category" of member and the experience and expertise which the House of Lords in its present form brings to its function as the revising Chamber; and

(2) having regard to paragraph (1) above, to report on options for the composition and powers of the House of Lords and to define and present to both Houses options for composition, including a fully nominated and fully elected House, and intermediate options;

and to consider and report onó

(a) any changes to the relationship between the two Houses which may be necessary to ensure the proper functioning of Parliament as a whole in the context of a reformed Second Chamber, and in particular, any new procedures for resolving conflict between the two Houses; and

(b) the most appropriate and effective legal and constitutional means to give effect to any new Parliamentary settlement;

and in all the foregoing considerations, to have regard toó

(i) the Report of the Royal Commission on House of Lords Reform (Cm 4534);

(ii) the White Paper The House of Lords-Completing the Reform (Cm 5291), and the responses received thereto;

(iii) debates and votes in both Houses of Parliament on House of Lords reform; and

(iv) the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee report The Second Chamber: Continuing the Reform, including its consultation of the House of Commons, and any other relevant select committee reports."

 

DRAFT CORRUPTION BILL JOINT COMMITTEE
(Lords Clerk: Mary Robertson 020 7219 4911, e-mail: scrutiny@parliament.uk)

The two Houses of Parliament have established a Joint Committee on the Draft Corruption Bill, which was published by the Government on 24 March 2003 (Cm. 5777). The text of the draft Bill can be found at:
http://www.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm57/5777/5777.pdf
The remit of the Committee is to consider the draft bill, and to report on it to both Houses. The Committee will proceed in the normal manner of Select Committees, by holding hearings and receiving written evidence. The Committee will publish a report making recommendations (to which the Government must respond) by Thursday 24 July 2003.

At its first meeting on Monday 24 March, the Committee elected Lord Slynn of Hadley as Chairman. The Committee started taking oral evidence in May. The programme of such evidence sessions will be announced nearer the time. The Report will be published towards the end of July.

The deadline for written evidence has now passed. The report will be published towards the end of July.

Scope of the Committee's inquiry

The Joint Committee expects to concentrate its inquiry on the following themes:

    1 What is the background to the draft Bill and what other options could have been pursued? What are the reasons for any changes from the Law Commission's 1998 report (No. 248) and the 2000 White Paper (Cm. 4759)?
    2 Whether proposed definitions are workable and sufficient:
      a. Whether they will be readily understood by police, prosecutors, jurors, the public etc
      b. Whether specific offences should have been proposed for specific situations
      c. The effect of not making the new offences retrospective
      d. The effect of removing the presumption of corruption
      e. Whether the agent/principal analogy is still relevant, in particular in the case of public acts
      f. The treatment of facilitation payments
      g. Should there be a public interest defence?

    3 Whether the proposals are compatible with international obligations and how they compared with equivalent law in other countries.
    4 Omission from the draft Bill of misuse of public office and trading in influence.
    5 Waiver of parliamentary privilege in cases involving peers and MPs
      a. Attorney's consent to prosecution
      b. Relationship with Registration of Interests, Codes of Conduct and Electoral Commission requirements on political donations.

To follow the progress of the inquiry, you may:
Visit http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/jcdcb.cfm

To be added to the mailing list for future notices contact: Claire Little, Secretary to the Joint Committee on the Draft Corruption Bill, House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW. Tel: 020 7219 4911; Fax: 020 7219 0277.
Or email: scrutiny@parliament.uk .


 

 

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Updated 3 July 2003