COMMONS

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development discuss Government spending

18 April 2016

The Procedure Committee holds an oral evidence session with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD states that "parliamentary capacity for financial scrutiny in the UK...has tended to be relatively weak" and is happy to assist in the parliamentary budget review process.    

Witnesses

Wednesday 20 April 2016, Committee Room 5, Palace of Westminster

At 2.45pm

  • Dr Joachim Wehner, Associate Professor in Public Policy, Department of Government, London School of Economics
  • Ronnie Downes, Deputy Head
  • Scherie Nicol, Analyst, Parliamentary Scrutiny, Budgeting and Public Expenditures Division, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

OECD letter to Chair

Alongside a written evidence submission, Jón R. Blöndal, Head of Budgeting and Public Expenditures Division, OECD, wrote to Mr Charles Walker MP, Chair of the Procedure Committee, as follows:

"Dear Mr Walker,

The OECD was pleased to provide a submission to the Procedure Committee inquiry into how the Commons authorises Government spending. We very much welcome this initiative.

As you may be aware we follow oversight procedures in our member countries with great interest and we have over the past few years had the privilege of working with staff in the House of Commons Scrutiny Unit through our Network of Parliamentary Budget Officials and Independent Fiscal Institutions (PBO Network).

Although there has been a resurgence of legislative roles and responsibilities in budgeting among OECD member countries, it is notable that parliamentary capacity for financial scrutiny in the UK, and in Westminster based systems more generally, has tended to be relatively weak.

The OECD stands ready to assist the UK Parliament in identifying a set of inter-connected and mutually supporting actions to improve budget and estimates oversight, through our parliamentary budget review mechanism (for a recent example of a similar exercise, see The OECD Review of Budget Oversight by Parliament: Ireland (2015) provided alongside this letter). An in-depth review of this nature would involve detailed consideration of the existing arrangements in light of international best practice and allow more specific recommendations on possible changes to the House’s procedures and practices to be put forward.

I would be happy to speak to you further about our parliamentary budget review process at your convenience and my team stands ready to assist in any way we can."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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