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COMMITTEES - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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COMMITTEES. What are they? What are their roles?. Types of Committee. There are TWO main Types of Committees in Parliament (Before 2006 known as Standing Committees.) These d eal solely with scrutinising LEGISLATION

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slide1

COMMITTEES

What are they?

What are their roles?

slide2

Types of Committee

There are TWO main Types of Committees in Parliament

  • (Before 2006 known as Standing Committees.)
  • These deal solely with scrutinising LEGISLATION

Their role is to Scrutinise particular Government departments / Public Bodies

slide3
Both Houses refer legislation to these committees for detailed discussion and approval.
  • These committees are made up of backbenchers who have specific responsibility for:
    • EXAMINING Bills in detail. (Bills come to the committee after the 2nd reading)
    • Providing AMENDMENTS to Government Bills

http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/offices/commons/scrutinyunit/public-bill-committees/

slide4
Varies from 16-50 backbench M.P’s
  • They are designed to ‘reflect the House’ (mirror the party strength in the Commons)
  • Therefore there is always a Government majority and CHAIR of these Committees.
  • It is a Government priority that their Bills are passed the way they wish. (Whips play a role here)
slide5

How do they work?

  • It is very unusual for these committees to make any major changes to the key principles of a Bill
  • However it may make many AMENDMENTS to the workings of the Bill
  • Since 2006 it can also call in EXPERTS to ensure the bill is efficient and workable
  • It will also ask the MINISTERS to explain key sections of the Bill.
  • Government members have the power to GUILLOTINE a Bill. This means that if the government wants to move quickly it can cut the committee procedure short and move on to the Report and Third reading.
slide6

Limitations

  • Party loyalty is expected in committees. (Whips)
  • Members of the Government party have to vote for Government approved amendments. (and against non approved amendments)
  • It is rare for amendments to succeed against government wishes.
  • They have little ownership over who the witnesses are. Preparation time is also limited and pressured
  • Unwanted amendments can also get overturned at the Report stage!
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Pressure groups are highly active at this stage of a bill – they try to ‘lobby’ members to make amendments to suit their concerns.
  • Membership of Public Bill committees is unpopular/frustrating.
  • However recent reforms since 2006 have made a difference
slide8

Select Committees

  • These important committees were set up in 1979 to provide effective Scrutiny of Government, Government departments and Public bodies.
slide9

How many are there?

  • There are currently 19 Select Committees:

BUSINESS INNOVATION & SKILLS

COMMUNITIES

& LOCAL GOVERNMENT

CULTURE MEDIA & SPORT

DEFENCE

EDUCATION

ENERGY / CLIMATE CHANGE

ENVIRONMENT

& RURAL AFFAIRS

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

slide10

How many are there?

  • There are currently 19 Select Committees:

HEALTH

HOME AFFAIRS

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

JUSTICE

NORN IRON

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

SCOTTISH AFFAIRS

TRANSPORT

slide11

How many are there?

  • There are currently 19 Select Committees:

TREASURY

WELSH AFFAIRS

WORK AND PENSIONS

slide12

What do they do?

..examines Executive and holds it to account..

These have the specific responsibility for:

  • Examining the work of a Government department (ie Foreign office) or
  • For looking at a specific area (Public Accounts Committee; Value for Money)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24999781

http://www.channel4.com/news/universal-credit-benefits-government-extraordinarily-poor

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Membership

  • Normally is fixed at 11 backbench MP’s (reflecting Commons party strength)
  • Members are now elected by secret ballot among party groups
  • CHAIRS are also allocated according to Party strength and by secret ballot.
  • All members are expected to act in a non partisan fashion.

I’m the whip – it’s my way or the highway!!

slide14

How do they work?

Example: Bankers grilled for credit crunch crisis

  • Select Committees have considerable powers.
  • This includes the power to ‘CALL FOR PERSONS AND PAPERS’
slide15

Example: Group 4 Security chief faces intense questioning after massive failures to provide security for London Olympics as promised in their multi million pound contract. In the end the army were drafted in

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=11263&st=12:03:00

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18866153

slide16

Example: SKY broadcastings Rupert and James Murdoch appear in the wake of the News of the World phone scandal

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=8910

slide17

Role of Select Committees

  • To investigate the work of Government departments- have they acted efficiently /effectively
  • To Consider:
    • departmental policy – has it been well considered?
    • Proposed Legislation – is it likely to be effective?
    • Matters of public concern
  • To investigate errors or omissions
  • To propose future Legislation
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Role of Select Committees

  • There is a wide range of responsibilities
  • MP’s often adopt a very adversarial approach to questioning – (David Kelly weapons inspector example)
  • They also develop a high degree of specialist knowledge on their departments. (They often become more expert than the Ministers, who are often temporary)