COMMONS

Inquiry into All-Party Groups

31 January 2013

The new Committee on Standards launches an inquiry looking at All Party Groups.

The Speakers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords appointed a Working Group on APGs which reported  on 11 June 2012. The Speaker asked the Committee on Standards and Privileges to consider that Report, and it produced a preliminary reply (PDF PDF 129 KB).

The Committee on Standards and Privileges noted that “the Committee expects soon to be replaced by the Committee on Standards, we expect our successor Committee will take forward those recommendations which are in its remit, and Report to the House in due course.”

The responsibility has now passed to the new Committee on Standards, which is considering what should be done to implement the Working Group Report.

It would welcome views on the preliminary approach set out in the letter to the Speaker (appended to this press notice), and in particular on the following points.

  • The House’s regulatory system is based on transparency, and enforced through the Code of Conduct. Would the rules in the attached letter require adequate transparency from APGs?
  • What resources would be required to implement the proposals in that letter effectively?
  • The Speaker’s working group recommends the abolition of Associate APGs. What are the advantages or disadvantages of this recommendation and is it possible to treat all such groups in the same manner? Are there other ways of resolving concerns about the external influence on these groups?
  • Views are sought on the implications of requiring APGs to produce statements of income and expenditure and the valuation of benefits in kind. 

Are there other options which might

  • Make a clearer distinction between All Party Parliamentary Groups and Select Committees;
  • Provide a reasonable way of restricting the number of All Party Parliamentary Groups without a restriction on Members’ freedom to pursue matters of interest to them or an administrative burden on the House?

Each submission should:

  • be no more than 3,000 words in length;
  • have numbered paragraphs; and
  • be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to [email protected] and marked “All Party Group Inquiry” by Wednesday 13 March 2013. 

Please also note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organization submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives.  If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. 
  • Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

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