- Each year, the Government deposit
in both Houses of Parliament about 1200 European policy documents
and legislative proposals for scrutiny. Each is accompanied
by an Explanatory Memorandum (EM) giving the Government's
views on the document.
- The Chairman of the Select Committee conducts
a sift each sitting week (and as required during recess)
and clears some documents from scrutiny, while referring others
for further examination.
- Documents not cleared are subject to the House's
Scrutiny Reserve Resolution (see Appendix 2), by which
Ministers cannot agree them in the Council until the House's scrutiny
is complete. Under certain circumstances, however, the Minister
can override the scrutiny reserve (paras 121-126).
- Documents referred for examination are normally
considered by one of our seven Sub-Committees. Between
them, the Select Committee and seven Sub-Committees include over
70 of the House's Members, many with great EU expertise. Sub-Committees
study particular proposals and policy areas, take evidence,
and produce draft Reports which are amended and approved
by the Select Committee before publication (Chapter 2 and
Appendix 1 for details of recent Reports).
- Sub-Committees also prepare letters for the Chairman
of the Select Committee to send to Ministers. This Correspondence
with Ministers (which we publish, both in hard copy and on the
internet) is a significant part of the Committee's scrutiny work,
and is designed to influence the detailed formulation of policy.
- The Committee aims to conduct our scrutiny as
early in the legislative and policy-making cycle as possible.
We consider that it is a strength of the House's scrutiny system
that it is policy- and evidence-based.
- Some of our Reports are debated in the
House and the scrutiny reserve is maintained until such a debate
has taken place (para 121 and Appendix 2). All Reports receive
a written Government response within two months of publication.
- The Committee co-operates with the European
Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons and, although the
material considered by the two Committees is the same, the function
and thus the output of the two Committees is different and the
work of each House thus complements that of the other (paras 75-104).