Sunday, 17 January 2010
What does 'Oversight' mean?
One of the most important functions that we expect our legislators to perform is that of oversight. Henry Waxman has said in a recent interview "It illustrated to me that Congress doing oversight is as important as legislation and can often highlight a problem, as was done when we held hearings about steroids and about how sports leagues weren't doing what they needed to do to put a stop to it. It can also simply restore the checks and balances that our Constitution had envisioned to get facts." I am currently reading his excellent, and dare I say it, inspiring, book, "The Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works". I will be discussing issues and examples from the book in future posts.
The Congressional Research Service has produced an excellent guide to what Oversight is, and how it can practically be achieved. This is produced for the use of Members of Congress and their staff - but its ideas can be of use to anyone in a representative position - and to every citizen.
To read/download the Congressional Oversight Manual press here.