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Scrutiny Unit

The Scrutiny Unit forms part of the Committee Office in the House of Commons and exists to strengthen the scrutiny function of the House.


It provides specialist expertise to select committees, especially (but not exclusively) on financial matters and on draft bills.

The Scrutiny Unit has a staff of around 25 including lawyers, accountants, policy specialists, an economist and a statistician, as well as House of Commons Clerks and a small team of administrative staff.

Further information is available at About the Scrutiny Unit and at Reports and Publications.

Public Spending Debates 

Information on the new debates on public spending can be found in this library paper and here.

Guidance on the production of Estimates Memoranda

Most public spending requires annual authorisation of Parliament through a process known as supply.  The supply process requires government departments, other public bodies and pension funds to present their plans for spending in documents known as EstimatesMain Estimates set out initial plans at the start of the year; Supplementary Estimates set out any proposed changes to those plans, later in the year.  

Each Estimate must be accompanied by an explanatory Estimates Memorandum.

A new webpage has been published which provides resources and guidance on the production of those Estimates memoranda.

Related information

What do Select Committees do?

What do Select Committees do?

Much of the work of the House of Commons and the House of Lords takes place in committees, which examine issues in detail, from government policy to proposed new laws.

Find out more