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The work of the Treasury Select Committee. Departmental Select Committees In existence since 1979 Shadow Government departments Around 11 members in proportion.

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Presentation on theme: "The work of the Treasury Select Committee. Departmental Select Committees In existence since 1979 Shadow Government departments Around 11 members in proportion."— Presentation transcript:

1 The work of the Treasury Select Committee

2 Departmental Select Committees In existence since 1979 Shadow Government departments Around 11 members in proportion to party composition of the House – the TSC has 13 Across all the Committees, Chairs are allocated in proportion to party strength Chairs elected by the House and Members elected by their parties since 2010 Generally aim for collaborative, consensual working

3 Purpose and tasks To examine the “expenditure, administration and policy” of the relevant Department and its associated public bodies Most of this work is done through inquiries and one-off public hearings Other specific tasks: – Scrutinise draft Bills – Scrutinise implementation of legislation – Pre-appointment hearings Committees meet in private as well as in public for certain purposes

4 Setting the Committee’s agenda Ideas for inquiries or one-off evidence sessions come from a variety of sources, including: MPs’ interests New policy proposals from Government/EU The public – eg. inquiry into the future of cheques Breaking news – eg. LIBOR

5 Treasury Committee – specific tasks Budget – report produced in time to inform parliamentary scrutiny of the Finance Bill Autumn Statement Spending Rounds Quarterly Inflation Reports of the Monetary Policy Committee Six-monthly Financial Stability Reports of the Bank of England Pre-appointment hearings – including the Governor of the Bank of England

6 Departmental scrutiny and scrutiny of other public bodies Annual session with HMT on the Treasury’s Annual Report and Accounts Sub-committee regularly examines the performance of the Chancellor’s Departments, such as HM Revenue & Customs or the Crown Estate Regular sessions with Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Office of Budget Responsibility

7 Gathering evidence Committee staff undertake background research Written evidence received: – from any organisation or individual, including the Department – quantity and quality varies considerably; important to try to fill gaps and reach beyond ‘the usual suspects’ – usually published online with report – guides the lines of enquiry and selection of witnesses for oral evidence – research can be commissioned, e.g. from NAO Devising and agreeing the programme of oral evidence and visits

8 Gathering evidence – oral evidence sessions Oral evidence session with the Chancellor, 12 December 2013

9 Oral evidence sessions Usually held at Parliament Committee can insist on witnesses’ attendance Held in public, webcast and broadcast Witnesses appear individually or in panels Question and answer format MPs given briefings and suggested questions Witnesses are often given some warning of questions The last session of an inquiry will usually be with the Secretary of State or other Ministers Evidence has the protection of Parliamentary privilege Transcript is published

10 Other ways of gathering evidence The format of formal oral evidence sessions can be restrictive… Study visits – home or abroad Informal or private meetings Web forums Oral evidence away from Westminster Other formats for meetings: public discussion, presentations

11 Producing and publishing a report Discussion within Committee about main themes and arguments Conclusions and recommendations based on written and oral evidence Chairman’s draft Consideration and agreement – Committees aim for consensus Press notice and publication – some Committees have launch events Timing is important

12 Response and follow-up Government must respond within 60 days Response usually published by the Committee Responses vary; they can be formulaic and a ‘direct hit’ is rare Opportunities for debate in main chamber or Westminster Hall Reports can be ‘tagged’ as relevant to other debates Follow-up sessions or even further inquiries may be held later

13 TSC reports and impact Financial Services Bill (2012) – recommendations implemented in legislation Office for Budget Responsibility (2011) – Committee given veto in law over appointment/dismissal of members of the Budget Responsibility Committee The future of cheques (2011) – new payments regulator now established

14 Treasury Committee: examples of follow-up work Current inquiry into PF2 follows on from 2011 report on PFI Continuing work on accountability of the Bank of England following 2011 Committee report TSC has taken on responsibility for assessing how Government and regulators have responded to the work of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards

15 Select Committees and local government scrutiny: common issues and themes Quality of scrutiny ultimately dependent on members Chairman in particular is very influential Members’ interests, expertise and time vary The reputation a Committee establishes is important, as is the level of consensus Sensitivity of agreeing recommendations in a p/Political context Having an impact on the executive’s policy Ability to highlight issues Monitoring impact in the long term

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