Commons Committee Chairs give evidence

23 May 2012

The evidence session is the first in the Committee’s inquiry into the accountability of civil servants


At 10.15am, Wednesday 23 May 2012, Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster

  • Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP, Public Accounts Committee
  • Bernard Jenkin MP, Public Administration Committee
  • Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP, Justice Select Committee

The Committee will this week take evidence from Sir Alan Beith MP, Margaret Hodge MP, and Bernard Jenkin MP, chairs of the House of Commons Justice Committee, Public Accounts Committee, and Public Administration Committee respectively.

It will focus on the relationship between civil servants and Parliament, and in particular whether they should be answerable to Parliamentary select committees.  The guidance for civil servants appearing before committees is currently set out in the ‘Osmotherly Rules’  and the Committee will ask the witnesses whether those rules should be changed.

Other areas likely to be covered in the session include:

  • Is the convention of ministerial responsibility still the most appropriate way of holding the government to account?
  • Has the expansion of government activity weakened the ability of ministers to hold civil servants to
  • account?
  • Should ministers have a role in the appointment of civil servants? What are the constitutional risks and benefits of allowing them to have such a role?
  • In what circumstances might it be appropriate for civil servants to be directly accountable to Parliament?

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright

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