31 October 2002

The Transport Committee has decided to undertake an inquiry into the Department for Transport's Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Bodies (referred to collectively as "Agencies" of which a full list can be found at The Committee intends to take evidence from the Agencies throughout the year and will issue specific calls for evidence on an ad-hoc basis.  The programme of evidence will begin on Tuesday 26th November with evidence from the Strategic Rail Authority. In relation to the Strategic Rail Authority, the Committee will be particularly concerned with:

  • The financing of the railway industry

  • The future of passenger franchises and infrastructure upgrades

  • Rail freight policy

The Committee will wish to consider the following general aspects of all of the Agencies:

  • The purpose of the Agencies and whether the current division of responsibilities is appropriate?

  • How the Agencies contribute to Departmental objectives and policy?

  • Whether the level of accountability and transparency of the Government's relations with the Agencies is appropriate?

  • Whether the Agencies' performance is satisfactory and whether they are sufficiently accountable?

  • How the Agencies' funding arrangements relate to Government accounts?

  • Whether there is sufficient co-ordination of systems and sharing of information between Agencies and with Government?

Witnesses are invited to submit memoranda to the Committee regarding the SRA before Thursday 21 November.  Memoranda on the wider terms of reference should be submitted before Monday 2 December.  It is unlikely that memoranda submitted after this date will be published. Witnesses who wish their memoranda to be treated in confidence should contact the Committee Clerk in advance.  The programme for subsequent hearings, and the deadlines for evidence relating to those hearings will be issued in due course.

Witnesses are requested to submit memoranda of up to six A4 pages on computer disk in either ASCII, Word or Word Perfect 8 with a single additional hard copy; witnesses without access to a computer are respectfully requested to take particular care that submissions are legible. Memoranda submitted to the Committee should be kept confidential until published by the Committee.