Legislative Committees at Westminster: The Case for Reform
The legislative process in the UK House of Commons has long been criticised, in particular with relation to its committee stage. Almost uniquely amongst established, developed parliamentary democracies this is taken in non-specialist and temporary (‘public bill’) committees, rather than specialist, permanent committees. In contrast the Commons ‘select committees’, responsible for oversight of other aspects of policy, are specialist and permanent, and are well-respected.
The central objective of this project is to contribute to the evidence base in support of reform of the way in which the House of Commons deals with legislation, by investigating how legislative committees function in other jurisdictions. We will focus on how best practice can be built upon, adapted and incorporated into the British parliament. A report has been produced to inform the work of reformers, both inside and outside the House of Commons.
This project also shares many themes with our ongoing research into the policy impact of the British parliament, which Dr Russell is concurrently pursuing in other projects. For more information, click here.
- The final report for this project is being launched on 10th June 2013.
- For more information, please contact Dr Meg Russell at email@example.com
• Russell, M, Morris, B and Larkin, P Fitting the Bill: Bringing Commons Legislation Committees Into Line With Best Practice, June 2013
The report summarises the perceived difficulties with current arrangements, reviews previous reform proposals, and looks for inspiration to legislation committees in other parliaments. It concludes that the House of Commons' legislation committees are increasingly out of step, not only with international best practice, but also with the chamber's own well-respected select committees. The report therefore makes proposals for reform, suggesting some immediate changes plus piloting of three different models of legislative committee.