Select Committee on Liaison Second Report


Second Report

Session 1999-2000


By the Select Committee appointed to advise the House on the resources required for select committee work and to allocate resources between select committees; to review the select committee work of the House; to consider requests for ad hoc committees and report to the House with recommendations; to ensure effective co-ordination between the two Houses; and to consider the availability of Lords to serve on committees.


Review of the committee activity of the House

1. The present committee work of the House is based largely on the recommendations of the Select Committee on the Committee Work of the House, chaired by Earl Jellicoe, which reported in 1992 (HL Paper 35-I, Session 1991-92). In the light of changes since then, and recent proposals for new committee activity, we have begun a review of the present arrangements.

2. We have considered the resources needed for any increase in committee activity. We understand that financial provision has been sought in the public expenditure review covering the next three financial years to permit a substantial increase in committee staff. Nevertheless the need for extra accommodation for new committees - rooms for meetings and offices for staff - is a significant constraint.

3. We have reached the following conclusions:

(1)  The Jellicoe Report recommended that ad hoc committees should become a regular part of the committee structure. We reaffirm that recommendation.

(2)  We have noted the Government's proposal to establish, before the Human Rights Act 1998 comes into force in October this year, a Joint Committee on Human Rights. This will be an additional sessional committee.

(3)  We recommend the appointment of a Constitutional Committee along the lines recommended by the Royal Commission on Reform of the House of Lords (Cm 4534, paragraph 5.22).

4. We propose to continue our review at our next meeting, when we hope to reach conclusions on other proposals placed before us. We shall welcome suggestions for subjects for ad hoc committees.

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