The committees

Departmental committees

There are 19 of these (number of members on each committee in brackets):

  • • Business, Innovation and Skills (11)
  • • Communities and Local Government (11)
  • • Culture, Media and Sport (11)
  • • Defence (12)
  • • Education (11)
  • • Energy and Climate Change (11)
  • • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (11)
  • • Foreign Affairs (11)
  • • Health (11)
  • • Home Affairs (11)
  • • International Development (11)
  • • Justice (12)
  • • Northern Ireland Affairs (14)
  • • Science and Technology (11)
  • • Scottish Affairs (11)
  • • Transport (11)
  • • Treasury (13)
  • • Welsh Affairs (12)
  • • Work and Pensions (11).

The departmental committees have a very broad remit: ‘to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of [the relevant government department] and associated public bodies’. They are thus concerned not only with the doings of ‘their’ department, but also with any related executive agencies, and with regulators and inspectorates that operate in their field. All the committees have power to set up a sub-committee.

Because each committee shadows a government department, the system of committees has to change to match alterations in the structure of government. Thus, the Justice Committee followed on from the Constitutional Affairs Committee, which was itself a successor to the Committee on the Lord Chancellor’s Department. Similarly, when particular responsibilities move from one government department to another, the task of monitoring them moves from one committee to another.

 
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