Public Bill Committees

What are Public Bill Committees? After the second reading of a bill, it is customary for the bill to be referred to a public bill committee for further scrutiny.

Committees are named after the relevant Bill, e.g. the Equality Bill Committee. This makes it clear that the Committee is established purely to consider a particular bill.

Further information can be found through the House of Commons Library Standard Note: Public Bills in Parliament

Evidence-taking powers

Public Bill Committees have the power to receive written evidence from outside organisations and members of the public, and to take oral evidence from interested parties, in the same way as Select Committees do, as part of their consideration of the Bill.

Written evidence

Anyone can submit written evidence to a Public Bill Committee. Further information on how to submit evidence is available.

Once the Committee has sat for the last time, no more evidence can be received.

The written evidence that the Committee decides to publish will be available on the internet as soon as possible after the Committee has started sitting, and will also be printed in hard copy at the end of the Committee's deliberations.

Oral evidence

Public Bill Committees normally take oral evidence at the start of proceedings, starting with evidence from the relevant Minister or Ministers and Departmental officials.

Further witnesses may also be called, in a programme which will be agreed by the Committee at its first meeting. These are likely to include related agencies, interested non-governmental organisations and lobby groups and even individuals with an interest.

If you think you or your organisation should be considered to give evidence to a Public Bill Committee, your first point of contact should be the Departmental officials responsible for the Bill.

All meetings of Public Bill Committees take place in public, except for a brief private session in which MPs on the committee discuss the line of questioning to witnesses.

Meetings will be recorded by Hansard, with the official record available the following day in hard copy and on the Parliamentary website.

Anyone can attend to watch proceedings, and no notice need be given. Please note that seats cannot be reserved.

Debating the Bill

After the Committee has taken oral evidence, it goes through the bill, debating each clause of the Bill and any amendments proposed to the text. Once the Committee has gone through the Bill, it reports the Bill - in its amended form, if changes have been made - back to the House.

Further information

Members of the House of Commons