Written submissions

Public Bill Committees - guidance on submitting written evidence

Background

The House of Commons has given certain Public Bill Committees the power to receive written submissions - known as memoranda - from outside organisations and individuals.

These notes are intended to help you if you wish to make a written submission to a Public Bill Committee.

Which Public Bill Committees can receive submissions?

If a Government Bill is referred to a Public Bill Committee, you will be able to submit written evidence.

Examples of Bills which do not follow this procedure are:

  • the Finance Bill;
  • Bills that will be examined by the whole House (because they are very uncontroversial, need to pass very quickly through the House or make major constitutional changes) and
  • Bills introduced by an individual backbench MP, known as Private Members' Bills.

If you are uncertain whether the Committee on the Bill you are interested in is likely to be receiving written submissions, please contact the Scrutiny Unit for advice (see contact details below).

Timescale for submitting

Submissions can be accepted after the second reading debate on the bill. The sooner you send the evidence to us, the better. If you are in doubt about the timing of your submission, please contact the Scrutiny Unit.

Submissions received will be circulated to Committee Members as soon as the Committee is nominated.

Please be aware that the Government Minister in charge of the Bill is a member of the Committee and will therefore see all written submissions.

Content

Your submission should address matters contained within the Bill that the Committee is examining and concentrate on issues where you have a special interest or expertise, and factual information of which you would like the Committee to be aware. Your submission should generally include only material specifically prepared for the Committee, although, of course, it is perfectly acceptable to quote from other sources for critical or illustrative purposes. It is helpful if the submission includes a brief introduction about you or your organisation. It should not have been previously published or circulated elsewhere. If you have any queries about the extent to which submissions will be protected by Parliamentary privilege, please contact the Scrutiny Unit (details below).

Format

Ideally, submissions should be in electronic form: Word, WordPerfect or rich text. A summary should be provided. Paragraphs should be numbered, but there should be no page numbering. Essential statistics or further details can be added as annexes, which should also be numbered. To make publication easier, please avoid the use of coloured graphs, complex diagrams or pictures unless absolutely essential. As a guideline, submissions should not exceed 3,000 words.

Data protection

For data protection purposes, you should also include a separate covering letter or email containing the name, address, telephone number and email address of the person responsible for the submission. The submission should be dated.

You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.




Delivery of submissions

Your submission should be emailed to scrutiny@parliament.uk, making it clear to which Bill it relates.

Please note that submissions sent to the Government department in charge of the Bill will not be treated as evidence to the Public Bill Committee.

Any queries?

The Scrutiny Unit can help with any queries about submitting a memorandum to a public bill committee and about the evidence-taking stages of Public Bill Committees. Contact details are as follows:

Telephone: 020 7219 8387

e-mail: scrutiny@parliament.uk

Fax: 020 7219 8381

By post:

Senior Committee Assistant, Scrutiny Unit, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA




Members of the House of Commons