Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Departmental Select Committees

An increasingly important forum for accountability is the Departmental Select Committee System in the House of Commons. Backbench MPs are appointed to committees which monitor the work of a specific department. The appointment is for the whole parliament, though members may move on early - sometimes because they are appointed to one of the frontbench teams; or another committee; or for any other reason. Chairs of the committees meet regularly (as the Liaison Committee) to question the Prime Minister.

Unlike parliamentary questions, there is an opportunity for in-depth questioning of a witness.

There is an excellent film about the committees which was made for the Parliamentary website.

There is a very useful report from the Liaison Committee looking at the work & effectiveness of the committees. It is available here.

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