• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How effectively do select committees perform their functions?

Extracts from this document...


How effectively do select committees perform their functions? There have been select committees in the House of Commons since the nineteenth century. However, it wasn't until 1979 that additional departmental select committees were set up with enhanced powers. The departmental select committees are a vital check on the government. In typical parliamentary style, the making of committees is complicated. Committees are formally recreated at the start of each parliament, and the membership of each committee is voted on by all MPs soon after the Commons starts sitting. Members are appointed for the full parliamentary term, though changes are fairly common - for instance, when members become ministers or frontbenchers. ...read more.


for questioning. The questioning is not a court of law, papers and person can be called for, but they don't have to appear. Unlike question time for ministers in the main chamber of the House, committees are free to ask as many questions as they feel neccessary. Also, they can challenge questions just as freely as they ask them. The select committee system has several obvious strengths. At the end of an investigation by a committee, private deliberations follow before a report is issued to all of the house. These reports can sometimes prove to be controversial, embarrasing for the Government and sometimes prompt the changes in policy. ...read more.


There are numerous examples of departmental select committees making an impact. In the recent past, Mrs Dunwoody made determined attacks on both the management of Railtrack and government plans for the privatisation of the air traffic control system. Mr Anderson hit the headlines with a devastating report into the arms-to-Africa affair. Further back, in the 1992-97 parliament, Tory Quentin Davies gave then minister David Willetts a notorious grilling over his attempts to rig another committee's inquiry, which ultimately led to the latter's resignation as paymaster general. Also, from non-departmental select committees, the Public Accounts Committee issued a report in 1994 leading to a major investigation into civil service procedures. These examples show that the select committees do perform their functions very effectively. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. "Parliament now legitimates rather than legislates." With reference to the role and functions of ...

    Policy is essentially the ideas and goals put forward at the beginning of the legislative process on which legislation is formulated upon. Bill Jones (pp537- 544) identifies three main stages of policy becoming an act of Parliament; initiation, formulation and implementation.

  2. Legislators have three essential functions: representation, law-making and control of the executive. How does ...

    Another very important function of the Bundestag, probably the most important one, is law-making. In fact, it is the supreme federal law-making body in Germany and provisions for that are contained in the Basic Law, which is the German constitution.

  1. Consider the contribution of select committees to the House of Commons' scrutiny of government ...

    Her husband wanted to claim back. The Commission thought no power for sale and decline to investigate his request. This matter brought to Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and the Parliamentary Secretary request report from Land Commission. The official in charge was instructed not to approach previous owner

  2. Government functions.

    Filipinos lose faith in the election procedures, and feel that their votes are not even worth the cost of going to the voting precinct or having to take time off from working. In the context of Philippine elections nowadays, using this perspective to evaluate our electoral system shows a lot of disadvantages in our procedures.

  1. Belfast Air Raid Investigation

    It was John MacDermott, the newly appointed Minister of Public Security who made this discovery. Therefore, sources A and B do not contain a lot of specific information. Source B plays down the second raid saying, 'small number of people were killed.'

  2. How effectively does Parliament carry out its functions?

    It is not uncommon for those on standing committees to not participate unless in a crucial vote, thus undermining the effectiveness of scrutiny to the Government. The only opposition to the Government, it seems, is the House of Lords- ironically the undemocratic part of Parliament.

  1. Malta at the turn of the 19th Century.

    Printing material could be imported without any examinations. The demand for the freedom of the press was an important demand of the Maltese liberals. In 1836 the Secretary of state said that he was in favour of the withdrawal of censorship.

  2. "Debates, Question Time, and Select Committees all give Parliament Teeth." Do you agree?

    What's more, there is the involvement of 'greasers', who are Government MPs who 'suck up' to the Prime Minister by asking questions that are easy to answer and improve the public appearance of the PM. Also this can be seen as simply an opportunity to 'score points' against opponents by humiliating in them in the public eye.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work