Select committee reports
Much of the work of the House of Commons and the House of Lords takes place in committees, made up of around 10 to 50 MPs or Lords. These committees examine issues in detail, from government policy and proposed new laws, to wider topics like the economy.
Select committees work in both Houses. They check and report on areas ranging from the work of government departments to economic affairs. There is a Commons Select Committee for each government department, examining three aspects: spending, policies and administration.
Some select committees have a role that crosses departmental boundaries such as the Public Accounts or Environmental Audit Committees. Depending on the issue under consideration they can look at any or all of the government departments
When House of Commons select committees conduct enquiries they call for written memoranda and take oral evidence (commonly in public). On completion of an enquiry the committee publishes a report with recommendations, including the oral evidence and many of the written memoranda submitted.
Government responses to select committee reports must in most cases be made within 60 days. They have in the past often appeared as Command Papers, but nowadays are frequently issued as Special Reports of the committee concerned. Government replies can also sometimes emerge in a debate or as an answer to a Parliamentary Question.
Reports from the following committees are detailed in the full guide (see panel, right):
- Culture, Media and Sport Committee Reports
- The Public Accounts Committee
- The Transport Committee
- Welsh Affairs Committee