Select Committee on Constitution Sixth Report


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 welcome written submissions which address any or all of 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)  What are the legal bases for regulators; what is 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?

(3)  By whom and how is the continuing need for regulators measured; how is their role changed or ended?

(4)  Who are the members of regulatory bodies; how are they appointed; are they adequately representative; do Nolan principles operate?

(5)  What are regulators set up to achieve; to what extent do regulators achieve their purposes without adverse consequences; how is their effectiveness assessed?

(6)  To what extent are regulators both prosecutors and juries on an issue; what rights of appeal are there against decisions made by regulators?


(7)  How are regulators held to account by Parliament; what other accountability do regulators have to auditors, Government departments or other public bodies?

(8)  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?

(9)  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?

(10)  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?

(11)  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?

(12)  How independent are regulators of Government; what factors do or might compromise their independence

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