Select Committee Inquiries

Select Committees are composed of either MPs or Members of the House of Lords, and have the power to launch inquiries into any issue or Government actions. Evidence is received by the inquiry and the Committee publish a report of their findings.




A (12)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
9 Apr 2020 A new UK research funding agency View sample
Science and Technology Committee (Commons) (Commons select committee)

The December 2019 Queen’s Speech set out the Government’s intention for:

a new approach to funding emerging fields of research and technology. It will provide long term funding to support visionary high-risk, high-pay off scientific, engineering, and technology ideas

The October 2019 Queen’s Speech briefing note explained that this would be “broadly modelled” on the US ARPA. The US Government’s ‘Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’ (DARPA), which evolved from ARPA, employs ‘programme managers’ on 3–5 year contracts to fund high-risk, high-reward research. Its budget in financial year 2019–20 was approximately £2.65bn.

The March 2020 Budget stated that the Government would “invest at least £800 million” in this “blue skies” funding agency, which would fund “high risk, high reward science”.

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee will inquire formally into the nature and purpose of this new UK research funding agency.

This will include:

  • What gaps in the current UK research and development system might be addressed by an ARPA style approach?
  • What are the implications of the new funding agency for existing funding bodies and their approach?
  • What should be the focus be of the new research funding agency and how should it be structured?
  • What funding should ARPA receive, and how should it distribute this funding to maximise effectiveness?
  • What can be learned from ARPA equivalents in other countries?
  • What benefits might be gained from basing UK ARPA outside of the ‘Golden Triangle’ (London, Oxford and Cambridge)?

The Committee would therefore welcome written submissions by Friday 31 July on the above points to inform the Government’s thinking behind the nature and purpose of ARPA and how it fits into the existing research and innovation ecosystem.

In light of the current circumstances, the evidence submission deadline for this inquiry is longer than usual and is subject to change.

16 Jan 2020 Access to UK fisheries post-Brexit View sample
EU Environment Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

This inquiry examines the negotiations on EU access to UK fishing waters after the transition period, by considering the likely points of contention and how a deal can best protect fishers in different parts of the UK.

17 Mar 2020 Accountability hearings View sample
Education Committee (Commons select committee)

The Education Committee holds regular hearings with the Secretary of State for Education and other key figures directly accountable to Parliament. This forms part of the Committee’s ongoing scrutiny of the Department for Education and its associated public bodies.

29 Apr 2020 Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s past: The UK Government's New Proposals View sample
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

The Committee has launched an inquiry to examine the UK Government’s proposals to address the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. On 18 March, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP, outlined the Government’s new approach to addressing the legacy of the past in a written statement to the House of Commons. The statement also set out that these would include some “significant” changes from the Stormont House Agreement. The inquiry will examine whether the Government’s proposals deliver for victims, survivors and their families.

 

Terms of reference

The Committee is particularly interested in receiving written evidence that addresses:

  • Whether the Government’s proposed approach will meet the needs of victims, survivors and their families;
  • What steps the Government can take to ensure that the proposed new legacy body is independent, balanced and open, and complies with the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and ECHR commitments;
  • The differences between the Government’s new proposals and the draft Stormont House Agreement Bill;
  • Whether and how the Government’s proposals will promote reconciliation in Northern Ireland;
  • The potential merits of consolidating the bodies envisaged in the Stormont House Agreement into a single organisation;
  • The equity of the Government’s proposed approach to the re-investigation of cases;
  • What legislative steps the Government can take to address what have been described as vexatious claims against veterans.

26 Mar 2020 Adult skills and lifelong learning View sample
Education Committee (Commons select committee)

The Education Committee is relaunching their inquiry into adult skills and lifelong learning (ASALL). The Committee's inquiry will examine the state of adult skills and lifelong learning (ASALL) provision. The inquiry will explore key themes such as participation in ASALL, the balance and range of different forms of provision, and the role of employer-led training. The inquiry will also examine the role played by local authorities/combined authority areas in providing adult education.

 

Terms of reference

  • The individual, social and economic benefits of adult skills and lifelong learning (ASALL).
  • Levels of participation in lifelong learning, and how to address the barriers to participation faced by disadvantaged groups.
  • The role of ASALL in addressing skills needs of workers whose jobs are at risk, and those experiencing in-work poverty.
  • The role of community learning providers, and whether enough is being done to support them.
  • Regional disparities in ASALL provision across local and combined authorities, and how well devolution of the Adult Education Budget is working.
  • What measures would be effective in supporting employers to invest in training and reskilling, particularly for low-skilled workers.
  • The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on ASALL provision and demand.

15 Apr 2020 Ageing prison population View sample
Justice Committee (Commons select committee)

No description available

25 Jul 2019 Ageing: Science, Technology and Healthy Living View sample
Science and Technology Committee (Lords) (Lords select committee)

While life span has increased over recent decades, health span, the period of time people live in good health, has generally not kept pace, and so older people are living longer with ill health. This inquiry will investigate how approaches from science and technology could be used to increase health span, to mitigate some of the negative effects of ageing, and to support older people living with poor health.

4 Mar 2020 Agriculture Bill: Trade Standards View sample
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

The Government has frequently stated that the UK will not compromise on high standards of food safety and animal welfare in future trade agreements.

As new international agreements are negotiated, the production standards for imported food are to come under Parliamentary scrutiny. The EFRA Select Committee is to take evidence from senior representatives from the agriculture, animal welfare and trade sectors. Areas likely to be considered include consideration of production standards under the WTO and GATT, the extent to which international standards currently compare to the UK's, the efficacy of tariffs, the impact on food security, and the impact of policy changes on both farmers and consumers.  

27 May 2020 Agrifood and the Northern Ireland Protocol View sample
EU Environment Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

This inquiry examines what the Northern Ireland Protocol will mean for the agrifood industry in Northern Ireland and the trade of agrifood products between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

12 Jun 2020 Air Quality View sample
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

Air pollution has been classified as the largest environmental risk to UK public health. In 2016, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Physicians estimated about 40,000 people in the UK die every year due to outdoor air pollution, with disadvantaged communities disproportionately affected. It also estimated it costs the country £20 billion a year.

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought air quality into sharper focus. Emerging research suggests that poor air quality is correlated with higher death and infection rates from COVID-19. The lockdown led to a significant short-term improvement in air quality in many areas, but there are concerns that policies to discourage the use of public transport to limit transmission of the virus may now lead to increased road traffic pollution in cities.

In this context the EFRA Committee is revisiting its 2018 Improving Air Quality report and whether the Government’s 2019 Air Quality Strategy and the Environment Bill will deliver the national leadership necessary to deliver the “step change” in how air pollution is tackled in the UK.

12 Oct 2020 All-Party Parliamentary Groups View sample
Committee on Standards (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
20 Nov 2020

The Committee is undertaking a wide-ranging inquiry into the rules for and regulation of All-Party Parliamentary Groups.

30 Sep 2020 Artificial Intelligence Committee – follow-up View sample
Liaison Committee (Lords) (Lords select committee)

The Liaison Committee will be holding a one-off evidence session to follow-up on the recommendations of the Artificial Intelligence Select Committee. The report of the Committee and the government response can be found on the former Committee’s webpage.

B (8)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
26 May 2020 Beyond tariffs: facilitating future UK-EU trade in manufactured goods inquiry View sample
EU Goods Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

This inquiry will consider the impact that non-tariff barriers may have on future UK-EU trade in manufactured goods and how any adverse effects could be minimised, particularly through the UK-EU trade agreement.

13 Jul 2020 Biodiversity and Ecosystems View sample
Environmental Audit Committee (Commons select committee)

  1. The Environmental Audit Committee is launching a new inquiry into biodiversity and ecosystems. The inquiry will examine how best to protect and enhance biodiversity whilst considering nature-based solutions to climate change (ctions that protect, manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems to address societal challenges and enhance human wellbeing[1]) and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
  2. The inquiry will review the UK Government’s performance on achieving international and domestic targets in preparation for the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is now due to be held in autumn 2021 in Kunming, China.
  3. Concerns about a mass extinction crisis began in the 1980s[2], but biodiversity is continuing to decline faster now than at any time in human history.[3] The UK has seen a 13% decline in average species’ abundance and 15% of species within the UK are threatened with extinction.[4] The UK’s Overseas Territories are home to 94% of British endemic species.[5]
  4. Ecosystems are critical in providing food, energy, medicines, sustaining air, water and soil quality and being the sole sinks for anthropogenic carbon emissions. These provisions are vital for human existence and good quality of life, however 14 of the 18 categories of ‘contributions of nature’ assessed in the IPBES Global Assessment Report have declined since 1970.[6]
  5. The main pressures on nature in the UK are climate change, urbanisation, pollution, hydrological change, invasive non-native species and aspects of agricultural and woodland management.[7]
  6. The costs of biodiversity loss are being evaluated within the up-coming Review of the Economics of Biodiversity: the Dasgputa Review, commissioned by the HM Treasury.[8] Incorporating the multiple values of ecosystem functions into economic incentives can result in better ecological, economic and social outcomes, if set at a level that conservation of ecosystems can compete with the production of commodities such as cattle, crops and timber.[9] However, nature also has intrinsicvalue and its non-material benefits must be recognised.
  7. 2020 was named “the super year for nature” by the UN Environmental Programme because of the range of conferences covering climate change and biodiversity that were scheduled to take place this year. When these conferences will go ahead is now uncertain given the COVID-19 pandemic. However, 2020 remains a crucial year to link climate strategies with promoting sustainable development and tackling biodiversity loss.
  8. The UK has commitments under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to promote sustainable use of terrestrial and marine ecosystems and to halt biodiversity loss (Goal 14 ‘Life below water’ and Goal 15 ‘Life on land’). The UK is also a signatory to the 2010 Aichi Biodiversity Targets which committed the UK to at least halving the rate of loss of natural habitat and preventing the extinction of all known threatened species by 2020.
  9. In addition, the UK has its own domestic targets set out in the 25 Year Environmental Plan. New landmark environmental legislation is set to deliver important conservation mechanisms. The Agriculture bill commits to establishing an Environmental Land Management scheme and the Environment Bill provides for the creation of a new biodiversity net gain requirement for developments. The Environment Bill also commits to creating or restoring 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat as part of a Nature Recovery Network. This will require active participation from local authorities.

 

[1] IUCN [accessed May 2020] Nature-based solutions

[2] Wilson (1988) Biodiversity. National Academy of Sciences. Washington, DC

[3] IPBES (2019): Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

[4] Hayhow et al., (2019): The State of Nature 2019. The State of Nature partnership.

[5] Churchyard et al., (2014): The UK’s wildlife overseas: a stocktake of nature in our Overseas Territories. RSPB

[6] IPBES (2019): Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

[7]  Hayhow et al., (2019): The State of Nature 2019. The State of Nature partnership. Pg. 10

[8] UK Government (2019): The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review

[9]  IPBES (2019): Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

 

19 May 2020 Biosecurity and national security View sample
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee) (Joint select committee)

Following up the previous Committee’s partially completed inquiry into biosecurity in 2019, and the continued salience of such pandemic risks with Covid-19, the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy is examining how biosecurity is addressed in national security planning and resilience implementation.

1 Jul 2020 Black people, racism and human rights View sample
Human Rights (Joint Committee) (Joint select committee)

In response to the awful killing of George Floyd in the US, Black Lives Matters protests in the UK have highlighted once again that racism and inequality exists here too.

Concerns about racial inequalities in the protection of human rights include the right to liberty (Article 5 ECHR); the right to a family life (Article 8 ECHR); the right to a fair trial (Article 6 ECHR), the right to life (Article 2 ECHR) and the prohibition on non-discrimination (Article 14 ECHR).

Whilst these topics have been the focus of a number of reviews and reports in recent years, the Joint Committee on Human Rights will investigate what has impeded progress, and ask whether changes are required.

10 Sep 2020 Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol View sample
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
31 Dec 2020

The Northern Ireland Protocol comes into force from 1 January 2021. The Protocol is a solution designed to reconcile the UK’s decision to leave the EU with the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland. It reflects the specific challenges Brexit poses for Northern Ireland, due to its land border with the Republic of Ireland (an EU Member State) and its position as part of both the UK and the island of Ireland.

The Protocol is a significant change for Northern Ireland. On 1 January 2021, the UK will cease to apply EU laws, but under the Protocol some EU laws will continue to apply in Northern Ireland. The Protocol therefore creates new areas of legal divergence between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK. The Protocol also creates entirely new mechanisms, such as the requirement that Northern Ireland must periodically renew its consent to parts of the Protocol. The Protocol will therefore form an important part of Northern Ireland’s legal and constitutional architecture.

The Committee has launched an inquiry on the Northern Ireland Protocol to scrutinise the Protocol’s implementation and to examine its consequences for government, people and businesses.

 

Terms of reference

The Committee would welcome the submission of evidence that addresses:

  • the preparedness of government, public services and businesses for the Protocol taking effect on 1 January 2021;
  • the implications of the Protocol for intra-UK Government and public service co-operation, and for intra-UK trade;
  • the implications of the Protocol for intergovernmental and public service co-operation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and for trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland;
  • the implications of the Protocol for citizens’ rights and access to public services on the island of Ireland;
  • the implications of the Protocol for the Northern Ireland economy and for investment in Northern Ireland;
  • the implications of the Protocol for devolution, including:
    • Northern Ireland’s position in the UK internal market;
    • Northern Ireland’s ability to benefit from the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy; and
    • how the Protocol interacts with the UK’s new system of common policy frameworks;
  • the implications of new legislation on the operation of the Protocol;
  • the interaction between the Protocol and the future relationship between the UK and the EU;
  • how the Protocol can be implemented effectively, including in a scenario where no UK-EU future relationship is agreed;
  • potential mechanisms to facilitate parliamentary scrutiny of the operation of the Protocol, including:
    • scrutiny of any new UK or EU laws that would create divergence between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK after the end of the transition period; and
    • scrutiny of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee and its specialised committees.

4 Mar 2020 Brexit and trade: implications for Wales View sample
Welsh Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
30 Oct 2020

The Welsh Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry that will look into the implications of the UK-EU trade negotiations for Wales.

Having paused this inquiry in April, to focus on COVID-19, the Committee has resumed this inquiry, written evidence submissions will be accepted until the autumn and oral evidence sessions will take place once the House returns from the Summer recess.

29 Jan 2019 Brexit: future UK-EU cooperation on asylum and international protection View sample
EU Security and Justice Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

No description available

3 Mar 2020 Broadband and the road to 5G View sample
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (Commons select committee)

MPs launch an inquiry into Broadband and road to 5G to examine Government’s pledge to ensure every home and business in the UK has gigabit-capable broadband by 2025.

The inquiry will focus on how realistic the ambition is, what is needed to achieve it, and what the Government’s target will mean for businesses and consumers. It will also look at what role 5G technology might play, and what initiatives such as the Shared Rural Network mean for improving mobile connectivity across the UK.

The inquiry will also consider the impact of Covid-19 on the roll-out of full-fibre and 5G infrastructure - please see the call for evidence for details of this  and the revised deadline for submissions.

C (16)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
26 Mar 2020 Changing the perfect picture: an inquiry into body image View sample
Women and Equalities Committee (Commons select committee)

Awareness of the impact of advertising and media consumption on people’s body image has increased in recent years. Negative body image is widely perceived as solely a young women’s problem. But more recently, research has shown that this is a wider issue:  

  • Recent studies report that over a third of adults feel anxious or depressed about their body image, and nearly half (44%) want to see greater diversity in the mainstream media.
  • NHS studies have shown that 57% of young men felt pressured by social media to look good, and 23% believed there to be a ‘perfect male body.’ 
  • The Mental Health Foundation reported in a recent study that 40% of LGBT+ adults felt shame because of their body image. 
  • 80% of disabled people surveyed by Trailblazers said that their body image has a direct impact on their mental well-being.

The Women and Equalities Committee want to hear from a range of people and organisations on what causes poor body image and how people’s body image is impacted by companies, adverts, social media and Government policy.

The written evidence published as part of this inquiry will be used to inform the work of the Committee. Publication of written evidence does not equate to an endorsement of the views it contains by the Committee.

More information on the inquiry

6 Aug 2020 Channel crossings, migration and asylum-seeking routes through the EU View sample
Home Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

This inquiry will examine the reasons behind the growth in migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats. It will look at the role of criminal gangs in facilitating the growth of this form of illegal immigration and the response of UK and French authorities to combat illegal migration and support legal routes to asylum.

2 Jun 2020 Children and young people in custody View sample
Justice Committee (Commons select committee)

No description available

27 Feb 2020 Climate change and COP26 View sample
EU Environment Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

House of Lords committees are coming together to examine some of the ways climate change will affect specific policy areas, and what action the Government is taking to prepare for COP26, the UN climate change conference the UK is hosting in November 2021.

21 Sep 2020 Code of Conduct View sample
Committee on Standards (Commons select committee)

The Committee on Standards has announced that it will carry out a comprehensive and far-reaching inquiry into the operation of the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament. It will do this in liaison with the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards who will carry out an independent review of the Code. The Committee’s inquiry will include a series of public oral evidence sessions, to be held in autumn 2020. This will be the first stage in a multi-stage process of preparing a new text of the Code, and the associated Guide to the Rules, for approval by the House.

9 Apr 2020 Commercial genomics View sample
Science and Technology Committee (Commons) (Commons select committee)

Genomic testing seeks to offer health benefits and can provide other useful services. However, some have raised concerns regarding the potential risks associated with genomic tests being made directly available to consumers, including on the tests’ reliability and accuracy, the support available to consumers for understanding and acting on results, and the impact of these commercial tests on the NHS.

In the context of new regulations due to apply to health-related genomic tests from 2022, the Committee is completing an inquiry examining:

  • any health or other benefits that consumers can derive from using commercially available genomic testing;
  • the industrial strategy opportunity for genomics within the UK biotechnology sector, and how the Government could support UK growth (including for exports);
  • the extent to which currently available genomic sequencing and interpretation can provide accurate and unambiguous health results, for healthy and ill sections of the population;
  • the counselling or other support offered for those receiving, or considering asking for, commercial genomic test results, and whether this is to the standard required;
  • the potential benefits and risks for the NHS that arise from the increasing availability of commercial genomic testing;
  • what data obtained from genomic testing could be used for and if sufficient protection is in place for consumers using commercial genomic tests;
  • the regulations or standards that commercial genomic tests are currently subject to, and if any new or strengthened regulations or standards should be introduced to mitigate any perceived risks associated with commercial genomic testing;
  • the potential benefits and risks, for individuals and for the NHS, and the ethical implications of the NHS offering genomic testing to healthy individuals willing to pay and share their data anonymously; and
  • the extent to which the ‘in-vitro diagnostic medical device’ regulation will address concerns about the validity of genomic test results and the provision of counselling alongside such tests.

This inquiry builds upon our predecessor Committee’s inquiry, and will make use of evidence submitted to that inquiry. Please only submit new evidence if you want to update or supplement information that the previous Committee had received, or to provide specific evidence on the ‘in-vitro diagnostic medical device’ regulation.

If you would like to submit evidence of further written evidence to this inquiry, the Committee would welcome written evidence submissions on any of these points. Submissions should be sent to the Committee by Sunday 31 May 2020.

 

 

13 May 2020 Constitutional implications of COVID-19 View sample
Constitution Committee (Lords select committee)

Submit Evidence
18 Nov 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic and the Government’s measures to respond to it have significant constitutional implications, as well as health, social and economic ones. These include:

  • The ability of Parliament to hold the Government to account 
  • Scrutiny of emergency powers
  • The operation of the courts 

The Constitution Committee is considering these issues and exploring questions such as:

  • What can Parliament do to maximise its scrutiny of the emergency regulations and to hold the Government to account effectively during lockdown? How are adjustments to procedures and processes working in the House of Lords?
  • What emergency powers has the Government sought during the pandemic and what powers has it used and how? What lessons are there for future uses of emergency powers, their safeguards and the processes for scrutinising them?
  • How is the court system operating during the pandemic? What has been the impact of virtual proceedings on access to justice, participation in proceedings, transparency and media reporting?

The Committee has so far published calls for written evidence for the courts and the Parliament strands of the inquiry and is taking oral evidence from experts, stakeholders, ministers and others.

31 Mar 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19): The impact on prison, probation and court systems View sample
Justice Committee (Commons select committee)

12 May 2020 Coronavirus and Scotland View sample
Scottish Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

The Committee will be inquiring into the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the four-nation approach, intergovernmental communication, scientific advice, policy divergence, and the impact of coronavirus on various sectors in Scotland.

Read the inquiry launch news story

12 Mar 2020 Coronavirus: FCDO response View sample
Foreign Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

No description available

12 Mar 2020 Coronavirus: FCO response View sample
Foreign Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

No description available

18 Mar 2020 Coronavirus: implications for transport View sample
Transport Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
29 Oct 2020

The Transport Committee is asking transport workers, stakeholders and members of the public to write to them about the transport issues they face during the coronavirus outbreak.

MPs will explore the impact felt by the industry, its workers and passengers in a rolling programme of work to monitor the impact of coronavirus on UK transport, sector by sector.

Read the key points on the impact of coronavirus on the aviation sector in an interactive summary of our initial report

Read the inquiry launch news story

6 Oct 2020 Coronavirus: lessons learnt View sample
Science and Technology Committee (Commons) (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
30 Nov 2020

The Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee are holding a joint inquiry into lessons to be learned from the response to the coronavirus pandemic so far.

The two Select Committees will jointly conduct evidence sessions examining the impact and effectiveness of action taken by government and the advice it has received. Each Committee will draw on specialist expertise and call witnesses to consider a range of issues including:   

• the deployment of non-pharmaceutical interventions like lockdown and social distancing rules to manage the pandemic;   

• the impact on the social care sector;   

• the impact on BAME communities;   

• testing and contact tracing;   

• modelling and the use of statistics;   

• Government communications and public health messaging;   

• the UK’s prior preparedness for a pandemic; and   

• the development of treatments and vaccines.   

30 Jul 2020 Court Capacity View sample
Justice Committee (Commons select committee)

The Commons Justice Committee has published a report on the significant crisis in delays to court cases – and therefore justice - caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The report is Coronavirus (Covid-19): The impact on courts.

The Committee has also announced an inquiry into how these delays could be addressed. It will review the practical experience of delays in the courts for lawyers, witnesses, victims and defendants. It will investigate whether the increase of 4,500 court sitting days will be sufficient to clear the backlog of cases and what long term solutions to the delays, including digital hearings, may be possible.

The deadline for written submissions is 7 September. The first oral evidence session is expected to be in late September.

 

19 Mar 2020 COVID-19 and food supply View sample
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

The Committee today is enquiring into food supply during the Coronavirus pandemic, including access to healthy food during periods of self-isolation, and how disruptions in the food supply chain should be managed. The Committee will initially identify current problems and strategies for mitigating potential risks.

Read the key points on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on food supply in an interactive summary of our report

7 Sep 2020 Cross-border co-operation on policing, security and criminal justice after Brexit View sample
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

Brexit will change the UK’s policing, security and criminal justice arrangements with the Republic of Ireland. The basis for the UK and the Republic of Ireland’s close co-operation in these areas currently relies on agreements at an EU level, such as the use of the European Arrest Warrant and access to EU data and information-sharing arrangements.

When the transition period ends, the UK will lose access to many of the agreements on which such co-operation is based. If similar arrangements are not agreed between the UK and EU in the future relationship talks, this could pose significant challenges to maintaining the current high level of security and criminal justice co-operation between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The Committee has launched an inquiry to scrutinise how Brexit will affect cross-jurisdictional criminality between the UK and the Republic of Ireland and identify alternative mechanisms that may need to be established to facilitate effective long-term co-operation on policing, security and criminal justice after Brexit.

 

Terms of reference

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee would welcome the submission of written evidence that addresses:

  • what effects Brexit will have on cross-jurisdictional criminality between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,
  • what effects Brexit, and the new customs arrangements under the Northern Ireland Protocol, could have on criminality between the island of Ireland and Great Britain;
  • what new barriers will be created to cross-border security co-operation between the UK and the Republic of Ireland when the transition period ends, including if no deal on the UK-EU future relationship is agreed;
  • what steps need to be taken by the UK Government, in collaboration with the Irish Government, to replace any loss of access to the European Arrest Warrant as a tool for law enforcement co-operation between the UK and the Republic of Ireland in the context of:

(a) a future relationship deal agreed between the UK and EU that includes arrangements for security and judicial co-operation; or

(b) there being no deal agreed between the UK and EU before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020;

  • what steps the UK can take to replace any loss of access to existing EU data and information-sharing arrangements;
  • how Brexit will affect co-operation between the PSNI and Garda, as well as UK and Irish crime agencies, in tackling cross-border crime; and
  • what scope exists for the UK and the Republic of Ireland to pursue alternative approaches to policing, security and criminal justice co-operation outside the EU acquis.

D (16)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
16 Sep 2020 Data Transparency and Accountability: Covid 19 View sample
Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
30 Oct 2020

The Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted how important data is to Government for decision making, and the significance of data transparency for the public and Parliament in holding Government to account.

This inquiry will focus on decision making and transparency in response to Covid 19, using this as a case study to draw out recommendations that can be applied more broadly.

In July the Prime Minister announced that "responsibility for government use of data has transferred from the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to the Cabinet Office. DCMS will retain responsibility for data policy for the economy and society. This change will help ensure that government data is used most effectively to drive policy making and service delivery."

Questions:

1. Did Government have good enough data to make decisions in response to Coronavirus, and how quickly were Government able to gather new data?

2. Was data for decision making sufficiently joined up across Departments?

3. Was relevant data disseminated to key decision-makers in: Central and Local Government; other public services (like schools); businesses; and interested members of the public?

4. Were key decisions (such as the “lock downs”) underpinned by good data and was data-led decision-making timely, clear and transparently presented to the public?

5. Was data shared across the devolved administrations and local authorities to enable mutually beneficial decision making?

6. Is the public able to comprehend the data published during the pandemic. Is there sufficient understanding among journalists and parliamentarians to enable them to present and interpret data accurately, and ask informed questions of Government? What could be done to improve understanding and who could take responsibility for this?

7. Does the Government have a good enough understanding of data security, and do the public have confidence in the Government’s data handling?

8. How will the change in responsibility for Government data impact future decision making?

3 Mar 2020 Decarbonisation and Green Finance View sample
Treasury Committee (Commons select committee)

The Treasury Committee has re-launched an inquiry into the decarbonisation of the UK economy and green finance. This inquiry will scrutinise the role of HM Treasury, regulators and financial services firms in supporting the Government’s climate change commitments. It will also examine the economic potential of decarbonisation for the UK economy in terms of job creation and growth.

Read the terms of reference press notice for the inquiry

2 Oct 2020 Decarbonising heat in homes View sample
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
13 Nov 2020

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has launched an inquiry examining the path to decarbonising heating in homes.

The BEIS Committee will examine the Government’s ‘Buildings and Heat Strategy’, due in November, and investigate the policies, priorities and timelines which are needed to decarbonise heating in residential buildings and help ensure the UK gets on track to deliver Net Zero by 2050.

The Committee’s inquiry on decarbonising heat follows a successful pitch by Dr Jan Rosenow, Principal and European Programme Director, Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), at the Committee’s “MyBEIS” evidence hearing in July and is part of the BEIS Committee’s ongoing work on net zero and its follow-up to the findings of the Climate Assembly.

The decarbonising heat in homes inquiry is likely to examine areas such as the technological challenges to decarbonising heat including issues related to the future of hydrogen, network capacity and the distribution of costs, incentives, consumer engagement and protection, and how to co-ordinate and deliver low-carbon heating.

Witness details for the Committee hearings will be confirmed at a later date.

19 May 2020 Defence Capability and the Equipment Plan 2019-29 View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

In two reports published earlier this year, the National Audit Office found that for the third successive year, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) ten-year Equipment Plan “remains unaffordable”, and that the Ministry is “struggling to deliver key parts of the UK’s planned defence capabilities programme”.

The NAO’s report ‘The Equipment Plan 2019-2029’ assesses the affordability of the MoD’s Equipment Plan, how it is addressing funding shortfalls and the consequences for the development of military capabilities. 

This year’s Equipment Plan sets out the MOD’s equipment and support budget for 2019-2029. The Plan includes equipment already in use, such as the Typhoon combat aircraft, as well as equipment in development, such as four new nuclear-armed submarines. For the next 10 years, MoD will allocate more than 40% of its total budget to its equipment and support programmes (£183bn over the next 10 years).  

The report finds that the Equipment Plan remains unaffordable – for the 3 year in a row – and the financial challenge facing MOD is increasing. It concludes that the MoD has again failed to make strategic decisions to develop an affordable investment programme and is locked into a cycle of managing short-term financial pressures. As a result, the MoD’s approach has led to examples of poor value for money and is affecting the Armed Forces’ ability to develop the capabilities that they need in the future. 

The NAO’s report ‘Defence capabilities – delivering what was promised’ examines whether the MoD’s processes for delivering military capabilities into service represent value for money.  

A large proportion of the MoD’s budget is spent on delivering defence capabilities, and in the last two years a number of reforms aimed to speed up delivery of capabilities have been introduced. 

But the report finds that delays to the delivery of capabilities which are central to the MoD’s requirements are endemic, and delayed projects often have factors in common.

It also finds that when declaring milestones in the delivery of capabilities, there is a culture of overstating what has been achieved. The NAO concludes that the MoD’s ability to oversee the acquisition of individual capabilities and manage the whole programme is hampered by poor management information and a lack of key personnel.  

On Thursday 28 May 2020 the Committee will question officials from the MoD on the Ministry’s defence capabilities, progress to tackle funding pressures, and the affordability of its 2019-2029 Equipment Plan. It will also question the officials on delays in delivery of capabilities (including F-35 and Carrier Strike) and cost over-runs, issued raised in the Committee’s recent inquiry  Defence Nuclear Infrastructure.

If you have evidence on any of the questions raised in these NAO reports please submit it here by Monday 25 May 2020

12 May 2020 Defence contribution to the UK’s pandemic response View sample
Defence Committee (Commons select committee)

This inquiry will focus on the Ministry of Defence’s and the Armed Forces’ contribution to the United Kingdom’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The scope will include: assessing the MoD’s planning and preparedness for a pandemic; understanding how the Armed Forces have supported the civilian authorities during the pandemic; evaluating the effectiveness of the specific actions and activities undertaken by military and civilian personnel, and; exploring how the MoD has ensured that potential adversaries have not taken advantage of the need to focus on the pandemic response. It will not address the longer-term impacts of Covid-19 for the UK’s defence posture, which the Committee will address in the future.

5 Mar 2020 Defence industrial policy: procurement and prosperity View sample
Defence Committee (Commons select committee)

This inquiry was postponed due to the General Election and is now being revisited by the newly constituted Defence Committee.

In 2015, the Strategic Defence and Security Review introduced a new National Security Objective to “Promote our Prosperity”. The Defence Industrial Policy refresh published in 2017 reaffirmed that “competition and strategic choice remain at the heart of our approach to defence procurement”, whilst committing to taking measures to protect freedom of action and operational advantage on national security grounds. It also laid out a three-pronged refresh to industrial policy, including:

  • Improving the way defence delivers wider economic and international value, and national security objectives;
  • Helping UK industry in its plans to be internationally competitive, innovative and secure; and
  • Making it easier to do business with defence.

Supporting exports is now a core task of the MoD and has been incorporated into the National Shipbuilding Strategy (2017) and the Combat Air Strategy (2018).

Philip Dunne MP was commissioned by the then Defence Secretary to produce a report on “Growing the Contribution of Defence to UK Prosperity” which was published in 2018. He recommended that the MoD produce clearer, practical guidance on the prosperity factors defence is most likely to consider, the reasons for their importance and the primary metrics which might be used in assessing their value and relevance.

The Commitee will condsider new evidence, which can be submited till the deadline Thursday 23 April 2020. There is no need to resubmit previous written evidence.

10 Feb 2020 Defence Nuclear Infrastructure View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

The Ministry of Defence currently has a number of large and complex construction projects for facilities at nuclear-regulated sites. In January 2020 the NAO published a report examining the building or replacing of three nuclear-regulated sites – with a current value of £2.5bn. The report finds that the three projects experienced problems in their earlier and riskier stages, with a cumulative £1.35bn cost increase and delays of between 1.7 and 6.3 years. The report also expresses disappointment that the challenges affecting these projects are not unique, and have been experienced by the Ministry of Defence for decades.

The Committee will ask officials from the Ministry of Defence what lessons it has learnt as it completes these projects, and how the Government will be revising the projects’ commercial, regulatory and governance arrangements to ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

18 Mar 2020 Delivering audit reform View sample
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Commons select committee)

No description available

22 Apr 2020 Delivering Core NHS and Care Services during the Pandemic and Beyond View sample
Health and Social Care Committee (Commons select committee)

The Committee held its last oral evidence session in connection with this inquiry on Tuesday 30 June 2020. The Committee will therefore not be accepting any further written evidence submissions to this inquiry. If you have any queries or would like to bring particular information relating to this inquiry to the Committee’s attention then please email hsccom@parliament.uk.

13 Jun 2019 Democracy and Digital Technologies View sample
Democracy and Digital Technologies Committee (Lords select committee)

No description available

22 Jul 2019 Discontinuing seasonal changes of time View sample
EU Internal Market Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

The inquiry will examine the implications for the UK of the European Commission's proposal to end seasonal clock changes in the EU. It will consider what preparations the Government should make for the possibility that the Directive is adopted, and what factors should inform its approach. This will include the implications of non-alignment, especially for Northern Ireland, or how the Government should approach the choice between permanent summer-time or winter-time, if it is required or decides to align with the proposal.

5 Feb 2020 Draft Finance Bill 2019 View sample
Finance Bill Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

The Sub-Committee will focus on the Government's proposal to extend the off-payroll working rules –  which were introduced for the public sector in 2017 – to large and medium-sized organisations in the private sector from April 2020. The proposal would mean that businesses will be responsible for deciding whether contractors they hire are liable to pay income tax and national insurance contributions, and if so, for paying those sums.

The inquiry is accepting written submissions until 25 February 2020. Please read the call for evidence.

11 Sep 2020 Draft Finance Bill 2020 View sample
Finance Bill Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

No description available

11 Sep 2020 Draft Finance Bill 2020-21 View sample
Finance Bill Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

In scrutinising the draft Bill, the Committee will focus on three areas of the Bill, all related to the powers of HMRC:

  • New proposals for tackling promoters and enablers of tax avoidance schemes;
  • New tax checks on licence renewal applications; and
  • Amendments to HMRC’s civil information powers.

The inquiry is accepting written submissions until 7 October 2020. Please read the call for evidence

5 Mar 2020 DWP's response to the coronavirus outbreak View sample
Work and Pensions Committee (Commons select committee)

The Work and Pensions Committee wants to hear about how coronavirus is affecting people who need to rely on the benefits system. We’re interested in finding out about the experiences of people who are having to claim benefits for the first time, the experiences of people who were already claiming benefits, and the experiences of people who need support but find they can’t claim any benefits.

If you’re someone with personal experience of the benefits system, you might prefer to complete our short survey. 

Complete our survey

If you’re responding on behalf of an organisation, or you’re an individual who wants to send us a longer written submission, we’d welcome your evidence.

You don’t need to answer all of the questions below, and you can tell us anything relevant, even if it isn’t covered by these questions. The deadline for sending your views is 11am on Thursday 16 April.

Some of the questions the Committee is interested in are:

  • How well is the Universal Credit system working for the unprecedented numbers of new claimants?
  • Has there been any improvement in the significant delays that new UC claimants were experiencing in the second half of March?
  • How quickly are people who ask for Advance payments of Universal Credit receiving their payments?
  • What lessons can be learned from the changes that have been made to the processes for verifying the identity of UC claimants? Are there any particular changes that should stay in place after the outbreak ends?
  • How do the needs of people claiming UC for the first time now differ from the needs of groups who’ve claimed UC in the past? How well is Universal Credit working for these new groups of people?
  • Are there any indications of how well the UC system will work for these claimants as they move into work in the short- to medium-term?
  • How well is the benefits system working for self-employed people who aren’t able to access the Government’s Self-employment Income Support Scheme? Is there a case for temporarily suspending the capital limits in UC during this period? 
  • How effective have DWP’s communications with the public been during this period? 
  • How easy is it for people to understand what they’re entitled to claim? For example:

- Is it clear enough how the benefits system interacts with other forms of Government support during this period, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

- Is it clear enough how public health guidance interacts with the benefits system?

  • How is the assessment process for Employment Support Allowance working? Have there been any difficulties with obtaining medical evidence to support claims?
  • What impact has the outbreak had on people who were waiting for a Mandatory Reconsideration of a decision, or who were going through the appeals process?
  • Have people who were already claiming benefits when the outbreak began seen any changes to the support they receive from DWP?
  • Are people who are claiming benefits receiving enough money to cover their basic living costs during this period?
  • Are there groups of people who need support but aren’t able to access it through the benefits system? What should DWP be doing to support those people?
  • Are support organisations and charities able to access the resources they need from DWP to support vulnerable people? What more could DWP be doing to facilitate that support?

14 May 2020 DWP’s preparations for changes in the world of work View sample
Work and Pensions Committee (Commons select committee)

The Work and Pensions Committee is launching an inquiry to look at how prepared DWP and its Jobcentre Plus network is for changes in the world of work brought about by new technology.

The Committee would like to hear about the challenges DWP faces as a result of technological change, the extent to which it is already prepared for these, and what further changes might be needed to best support claimants in the future world of work.

More information on this inquiry can be found here.

e (1)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
21 Apr 2020 e-scooters View sample
Transport Committee (Commons select committee)

e-scooters: pavement nuisance or transport innovation?

The Transport Committee is launching an inquiry to explore the safety and legal implications of electric scooters, their impact on congestion, and potential contribution to reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, ahead of the Government’s obligations to reach net zero by 2050. The Transport Committee’s short inquiry on this emerging policy area will complement a consultation launched by the Department for Transport on micromobility vehicles.

The deadline for submissions was 2 June 2020. 

Read the inquiry launch news story

E (11)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
23 Oct 2020 Economic crime View sample
Treasury Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
27 Nov 2020

The Treasury Committee has launched an inquiry to review what progress has been made in combatting economic crime since it completed its inquiry in the previous Parliament.

Like the inquiry in the previous Parliament, this inquiry will have two strands:

• Anti-money laundering systems and the sanctions regime

• How consumers are affected by economic crime

The deadline for submitting evidence is 5pm on Friday 27 November.

It should be noted that the Committee will not take up individual cases, and any suspected criminal activity should be reported to the appropriate authorities.

19 Mar 2020 Economic impact of coronavirus View sample
Treasury Committee (Commons select committee)

The Treasury Committee launched the first stage of this inquiry on 18 March when it issued a call for evidence on the speed, effectiveness and reach of the Government’s and Bank of England’s immediate financial responses to coronavirus. The Committee will continue to highlight gaps in support to the Treasury.

The terms of reference for the next stage are set out in the call for evidence. In this stage, the Committee will examine the operational effectiveness, cost and sustainability of the Government’s and Bank of England’s support packages.

The Committee will also examine the impact on the economy and different sectors, the implications for public finances, and how the Government can work towards a sustained recovery.

Read the key points in an interactive summary of our new interim report on gaps in support

The deadline for submitting your written evidence has been extended until 26 June 2020. However please note that given the pace of change, earlier submissions will be of more use to the Committee.

15 Oct 2020 Economics of music streaming View sample
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
16 Nov 2020

MPs will examine what economic impact music streaming is having on artists, record labels and the sustainability of the wider music industry.

With streaming currently accounting for more than half of the global music industry’s revenue, this inquiry will look at the business models operated by platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Google Play. Music streaming in the UK brings in more than £1 billion in revenue with 114 billion music streams in the last year, however artists can be paid as little as 13% of the income generated.

The Committee will also consider whether the government should be taking action to protect the industry from piracy in the wake of steps taken by the EU on copyright and intellectual property rights.

The inquiry is seeking the perspectives of industry experts, artists and record labels as well as streaming platforms themselves.

Terms of Reference:

The DCMS Committee is inviting written submissions to be submitted by 6pm on Monday 16 November 2020.

  • What are the dominant business models of platforms that offer music streaming as a service?
  • Have new features associated with streaming platforms, such as algorithmic curation of music or company playlists, influenced consumer habits, tastes, etc?
  • What has been the economic impact and long-term implications of streaming on the music industry, including for artists, record labels, record shops, etc?
  • How can the Government protect the industry from knock-on effects, such as increased piracy of music? Does the UK need an equivalent of the Copyright Directive?
  • Do alternative business models exist? How can policy favour more equitable business models?

9 Mar 2020 Effectiveness of UK AID View sample
International Development Committee (Commons select committee)

Interim Report published

The International Development Committee has launched an inquiry into the role of UK aid and the work of the Department for International Development (DFID). The inquiry is aimed at the fundamentals of what UK aid is spent on and who spends it.

Terms of reference: Effectiveness of UK Aid

13 Jun 2019 Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 View sample
Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 Committee (Lords select committee)

The inquiry is accepting further written submissions until 4pm on 4 March 2020. Please see the call for evidence.

13 Mar 2020 Electronic Waste and the Circular Economy View sample
Environmental Audit Committee (Commons select committee)

The Environmental Audit Committee re-launched an inquiry into Electronic Waste and the Circular Economy on Friday 13 March. This inquiry will explore how the UK could reduce its environmental impact, create economic opportunities and maintain access to critical materials by better managing and minimising its e-waste.

Evidence submitted to the inquiry in the previous Parliament will be carried forward, but the Committee welcomes any additional written evidence on some, or all, of the following points:

Implementing a Circular Economy for Electronic Goods

  • What steps are being taken to move towards a circular economy for electronic goods? How can the UK Government support this transition?
  • What is the environmental and human health risk from e-waste? How significant is it and who is most at risk?
  • How can secondary markets for electrical goods be improved? What incentives are required to implement these markets?
  • Why does recovering materials from electronic waste pose a significant challenge? What support is required to facilitate the adoption of recovery technologies?

UK’s Electronic Waste Sector

  • Are UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) collection targets achievable? What challenges do UK producer compliance schemes and WEEE reprocessors face in meeting the collection targets?
  • What causes fraud in the UK’s e-waste system? How can this be addressed?
  • What action can the UK Government take to prevent to the illegal export of e-waste to the developing world?
  • What proposals does the UK Government need to consider as part of its consultation on WEEE?
  • Is UK public awareness of e-waste recycling satisfactory? If not, how can it be improved?

 

3 Aug 2020 Employment and COVID-19 View sample
Economic Affairs Committee (Lords select committee)

The Committee will examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labour market and consider what urgent measures should be taken to protect and create jobs. It will also examine how the labour market may change as a result of the pandemic in the longer term. The Committee intends to make recommendations to the Government. The deadline for submitting written evidence is 10 September 2020.

18 May 2020 Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes View sample
Environmental Audit Committee (Commons select committee)

Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes

The UK has around 29 million homes with considerable potential to improve their energy efficiency. Homes account for just under 30% of energy use and around 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. It is one of the few sectors where emissions reductions have stalled.

Space heating is the dominant driver of energy consumption in existing homes (making up 63% of annual energy consumption), followed by hot water demand and appliance demand. Interventions to improve energy efficiency will bring down energy bills, provide greater thermal comfort, prevent overheating, improve indoor air quality, relieve pressure on the NHS and welfare provision, and provide benefits in reducing annual and peak electricity demand.

The Government has pledged £9.2bn in its manifesto to improve the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals. Decarbonising our existing homes presents an opportunity to build a domestic supply chain and skills base and deliver on the Government’s levelling up ambitions. Driving widespread improvements in energy efficiency is notoriously difficult. Yet energy efficiency investments could be particularly relevant to kick starting the economy in the aftermath of Covid-19 by making it a national infrastructure priority.

The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy (2017) set new aspirations for energy efficiency and has a stated ambition for all homes to be EPC rated ‘C’ by 2035 where cost effective, affordable and practical. Currently 19 million homes are EPC rated D or worse and uptake of energy efficiency measures has stalled. The Committee on Climate Change has stressed that widespread deployment of energy efficiency measures across the UK’s building stock will be crucial to any credible and cost-effective strategy to meeting net zero. This includes improvements to around 6 million cavity walls, 6 million solid walls and 21,000 loft insulation measures. There are over 10 million owner occupied households below the EPC band C. This is the market where the largest carbon savings can be made yet there are no incentives for this market to grow.

In addition to improving household incomes, energy efficiency is key to alleviating fuel poverty. Around 2.53 million households are in fuel poverty in England alone. Current fuel poverty targets are expected to be missed and when compared with 30 other European countries it was found that the UK has the sixth-worst long-term rate of excess winter deaths. Improving the energy efficiency of buildings plays a crucial role in tackling fuel poverty and will help bring down energy bills for the most vulnerable customers. The Government’s manifesto included a commitment to invest £2.5bn over five years providing Home Upgrade Grants for fuel poor homes.

As part of the inquiry, the Committee will follow up on the findings of the former BEIS Committee’s inquiry into energy efficiency, which concluded that major policy gaps still exist, and consider whether its recommendations have been implemented.

 

27 May 2020 Environment and the Level Playing Field View sample
EU Environment Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

This inquiry explores what is at stake on the environmental and climate level playing field in the UK-EU future relationship negotiations, with a particular focus on the objectives of any level playing field provisions, and how they should be constructed and enforced.

3 Mar 2020 Environmental diplomacy View sample
Foreign Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

This inquiry will examine how the FCO conducts environmental diplomacy, what the UK’s strategy is bringing all government departments together, and the FCO’s management of the tension between environmental goals and other diplomatic objectives. 

In particular, the Committee will focus on preparations for COP26, speaking to other recent host countries and attempting to learn from their experiences.  

Additionally, the Committee will ask how environmental diplomacy can be employed to address the governance of the polar regions. 

5 Mar 2020 EU Exit: Get ready for Brexit Campaign View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

On 1 September 2019 the government launched the Get ready for Brexit public information campaign, to prepare the public for a ‘no-deal’ exit from the EU across a range of issues. The campaign was stopped on 28 October when the government and EU agreed an extension to the UK’s membership of the EU to 31 January 2020. The campaign was led by the Cabinet Office, and had a budget of £100 million - including £57 million for an air campaign (targeting everyone), and £26 million for the ground campaign (targeting specific groups required to take specific actions). By the end of October, at the point at which the campaign was stopped, £46 million had been spent against an expected spend of £53 million by that point.

The NAO’s report on the campaign found that the Cabinet Office worked at great pace to prepare and launch a large, complex campaign. It established a dedicated team to coordinate and work closely with departments to integrate messages from across government, getting them to work together effectively to coordinate what needed to be communicated to their respective target audiences.

The NAO’s report also found that as a result of the campaign, the public was more aware of some of the things they might need to take action on. However, the Cabinet Office could not demonstrate that the air campaign resulted in significantly better preparedness. The impact of the campaign is likely to have been reduced by the public’s reading of political events in the weeks leading up to 31 October and the likelihood of a no-deal exit.

The Committee will be questioning the Cabinet Office on the performance metrics for the campaign. The Committee will also explore what lessons the Government has learnt from the campaign, and how the Cabinet Office will ensure value for the taxpayer by targeting resources in future campaigns.

F (10)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
8 Sep 2020 F-35 and Carrier Strike update View sample
Defence Committee (Commons select committee)

The Committee is holding an evidence session with expert commentators on the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces’ progress on the F-35 and Carrier Strike programmes. 

18 Jun 2020 FCO-DFID merger View sample
Foreign Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

No description available

29 Jan 2020 Financial services after Brexit View sample
EU Services Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

The Committee conducted an inquiry in early 2020 and published its findings in a long letter to the Minister on 27 March 2020.

The Government response was received on 27 May 2020. 

The Committee has since held an oral evidence session with the Minister on 2 July 2020 and all subsequent correspondence can be found under publications.

9 Jun 2020 Fisheries Negotiations View sample
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

No description available

25 Jul 2019 Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 View sample
Constitution Committee (Lords select committee)

The inquiry will consider the operation and implications of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. It will explore how the Act has worked in practice, how the 14-day period following a successful no confidence motion would work in practice, the Act's effect on the concept of the House of Commons having 'confidence' in the Government, and what the consequences of repealing or amending the Act might be. Following recent developments, the inquiry has been expanded to consider the potential constitutional implications of the recent court judgment on the proroguing of Parliament.

6 Oct 2020 Fixing fashion: follow up View sample
Environmental Audit Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
13 Nov 2020

The Environmental Audit Committee will follow-up work on its 2018 inquiry, Fixing fashion: clothing consumption and sustainability. The Committee has chosen to revisit the issue to monitor progress due to continued concerns around the environmental impact of the fashion industry and working conditions in UK garment factories.

The Government rejected most of the Committee’s recommendations in 2019, which ranged from a producer responsibility charge to pay for better clothing collection and recycling to requiring due diligence checks across fashion supply chains to root out forced or child labour. However, the Government has identified textile waste as a priority area to address its Resources and Waste Strategy.

Fashion production has a considerable impact on climate and biodiversity. The global fashion industry is estimated to have produced around 2.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018; the equivalent to the combined emissions of France, Germany and the UK.

Fast fashion also creates a waste problem in the UK and developing countries. UK citizens buy more new clothes than any other European country and throw away over a million tonnes of clothing every year. While two thirds of clothing is either donated or collected for resale or low quality recycling, around 336,000 tonnes is disposed of in household bins destined for landfill or incineration.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on garment factories in Leicester. Reports of poor working conditions suggests there has been little improvement since the Committee’s report, which recommended regular audits and for companies to engage with unions for their workers.

The Committee’s follow-up work will consist of gathering written evidence and a one-off oral evidence session.

 

The Committee is inviting written evidence on the following:

  1. What progress has been made in reducing the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry since the Fixing Fashion report came out?
  2. What impact has the pandemic had on fashion waste?
  3. What impact has the pandemic had on the relationship between fashion retailers and suppliers?
  4. How could employment law and payment of the minimum wage be more effectively enforced within the UK fashion industry?
  5. What are the pros and cons of proposals to license factories or more strongly regulate purchasing practices?
  6. What would be the most effective measures industry or Government could put in place to ensure that materials or products made with forced or prison camp labour are removed from the supply chain?
  7. How can any stimulus after the Coronavirus crisis be used to promote a more sustainable fashion industry?
  8. Is the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan adequate to address the environmental impact of the UK fashion industry? How ambitious should its targets be in its next phase?
  9. What actions could Government take to improve the collection of fashion waste?
  10. What actions could the Government take to incentivise the use of recycled or reused fibres and materials in the UK fashion industry?
  11. How could an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for textiles be designed to incentive improvements in the sustainability of garments on sale in the UK?

4 Mar 2020 Flooding View sample
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

Summary and objective 

Recent events have brought the challenges of managing flood risk back to national attention, and climate change means these events are likely to become more frequent. Building on the previous Committee’s interim report on coastal flooding and adaptation to climate change, this inquiry would focus on the Government’s approach to managing the risk of inland flooding in England.  

The inquiry will also take into account evidence received and questions raised during the coastal flooding inquiry.

If you are attempting to submit evidence once the submission period has closed, please contact efracom@parliament.uk

13 Jun 2019 Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment View sample
Food, Poverty, Health and Environment Committee (Lords select committee)

No description available

18 Sep 2020 Forced labour in UK value chains View sample
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Commons select committee)

The BEIS Committee is holding an inquiry which will explore the extent to which business in the UK are exploiting the forced labour of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region of China.

The Committee will investigate the risks that UK based businesses face when engaging supply chains that originate in China and what more the Government can do to ensure that business and consumers in the UK do not perpetuate the forced labour of Uyghurs.

In advance of the hearing the Committee is inviting written submissions. In particular, the Committee wishes to investigate the extent to which the products of forced labour in Xinjiang are reaching the supply chains of UK businesses and to examine how aware businesses are of the risk that their activities may support forced labour.

The Committee also welcomes views on whether existing legislative and audit requirements for businesses in the UK are sufficient to prevent them from contributing to the human rights abuses experienced by Uyghurs. The Committee is also keen to understand what action stakeholders believe the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy should take to eradicate forced labour from the supply chain of goods and services sold in the UK.

30 Jul 2020 Foreign Involvement in the Defence Supply Chain View sample
Defence Committee (Commons select committee)

The inquiry and planned Sub-Committee will scrutinise the vulnerabilities of the UK’s defence supply chain following the Covid-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on the impact on SMEs and mid-sized companies. The Committee will assess the current level of foreign ownership, particularly ownership by companies with links to states which could have “ulterior motives”. Additionally, the Committee will explore the current and planned regulatory regime for government intervention to prevent foreign ownership of defence, or defence related, companies. This inquiry will examine the proposed National Security Investment Bill, due to be debated in Parliament later this year.

Proposed Chair of the planned Sub-Committee on Foreign Involvement in the Defence Supply Chain, Richard Drax MP, said:

“The global economy is more interconnected than ever, and the defence supply chain is no exception to this rule.

“Our Armed Forces, and the wider population, rely on equipment and technology manufactured overseas and by foreign-owned companies within the UK. Through this reliance on international companies, we forfeit a degree of control, and must ask ourselves whether we are inadvertently allowing foreign actors access, or leverage, that compromises our national security.

“It is no secret that state actors are employing increasingly creative and covert methods to gain intelligence and to exert influence.

“Covid-19 has exacerbated vulnerabilities in the defence supply chain. In the wake of the pandemic, many small and medium-sized companies are struggling to stay afloat, and a foreign buy out may be the only available lifeline.

“This inquiry will scrutinise the kinks in the defence supply chain, attempt to understand its frailties, as well as where there may be heightened exposure to manipulation by states with ulterior motives.”’

G (3)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
17 Apr 2020 Gambling regulation: problem gambling and protecting vulnerable people View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

Gambling can have significant adverse effects on people which can include addiction, mental health problems, financial loss, and in some cases crime or suicide.

Excluding the National Lottery, gambling operators earned £11.3bn in 2018-19. All gambling in Britain is regulated by the Gambling Commission with the aim to “ensure gambling is fair and safe”. It is funded by licence fees from industry, which amounted to £19 million in the same period.

Overall responsibility for the policy and regulatory framework lies the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), which has an objective to ensure gambling is socially responsible. The industry is increasingly complex, with new risks emerging from online and mobile gambling and games that share features with gambling but are not regulated as such.

The NAO’s report ‘Gambling regulation: problem gambling and protecting vulnerable people’ examines how well gambling regulation protects people from gambling-related harms and addresses new risks from social and technological developments.

The report finds that there are an estimated 395,000 problem gamblers in Great Britain, with 1.8 million more gamblers at risk who may also be experiencing harm. The report finds that the Gambling Commission is improving its regulation but has more to do including taking a more strategic approach to influencing gambling operators to raise standards.

The NAO concludes that even with improvements, the Commission’s ability to protect gamblers faces constraints in the regulatory framework, including inflexible funding and gaps in redress arrangements, and that the Commission is unlikely to be fully effective in addressing risks and harms to consumers within the current arrangements.

This will be the first time the Committee has examined gambling regulation in recent years. The Committee will question officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Gambling Commission, on how well the current regulatory framework protects gamblers.

The Committee will also ask officials about how current restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic could affect those susceptible to the negative impacts of gambling.

The Committee is inviting views from any interested parties on the issues raised by the NAO report – please submit your evidence by Wednesday 22 April.

16 Oct 2020 Global health security View sample
Foreign Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
2 Dec 2020

This inquiry will scrutinise the FCDO’s role in delivering the Prime Minister’s vision of a “new global approach to health security”. It will build on the Committee’s previous report ‘Viral Immunity—The FCO’s role in building a coalition against COVID-19’ and our work on multilateral organisations including the WHO. 

 

13 May 2020 Greening the post-Covid recovery View sample
Environmental Audit Committee (Commons select committee)

Greening the post-Covid recovery

In May the Committee held a session on the environmental implications of the Covid-19 crisis. Witnesses stressed how critical it would be to align the post-crisis recovery stimulus with the UK’s goals on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development – given the short window of opportunity remaining to keep global temperature rises to a manageable level. The Committee has since agreed to launch an inquiry looking at how to align any post-pandemic economic stimulus package with the UK’s climate and environment goals.

Economic impact and policy response

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a global macroeconomic shock unprecedented in peacetime. UK Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 10.4% in the three months from February to April – with monthly output collapsing by 20.4% in April after the lockdown was introduced. As the UK emerges from the initial public health crisis, the economic challenges may intensify as the Government tapers its employee and business support packages.

In Oct 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that time is running out to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C. In this context, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2010-2016, explained to the Committee how critical it is that climate change mitigation is at the heart of the post-COVID recovery:

"Those rescue packages, US$10 trillion to US$20 trillion, will not only be defined but very likely allotted over the next 18 months. Because of the scale, they will determine the characteristics of national economies and of the global economy for several decades. It is exactly this decade, between 2020 and 2030, where climate science has been lucidly clear that we need to halve our emissions, reduce to 50% the emissions that we have right now."

The Committee also heard from Professor Cameron Hepburn, Director of the Economics of Sustainability Programme at the Oxford Martin School, about the potential for green investment to boost the economy, providing more jobs; delivering higher short-term returns per pound spent by Government, and leading to increased long-term cost savings.

Global leadership

In 2021 the UK will be hosting COP26 and will also hold the G7 Presidency. This provides a platform for the UK to take an international leadership role and galvanise a green and climate-friendly global response to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

The Committee’s inquiry will consider how the post-pandemic recovery can be aligned with the UK’s climate and environment goals and the role that the UK can play in driving a green recovery internationally. Please submit evidence by 14th August, by clicking on the button below.

H (7)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
10 Feb 2020 High Speed 2: Spring 2020 update View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

The National Audit Office published its progress update on High Speed 2 in January (its fourth report on the project). The report finds that optimistic estimates have been used to set budgets and delivery dates for the project. In not fully and openly recognising the programme’s risks from the outset, the report finds that the Department and HS2 Ltd have not adequately managed the risks to value for money. The report also welcomes the recent increased realism on the estimated cost and schedule for the programme.

The Committee will ask officials from HS2 Ltd and the Department of Transport about the Government’s current vision for the project, the challenges in getting Phase One into construction, and what it is being done to manage the cost and schedule estimates for Phase Two of the project.

30 Sep 2020 Home Education View sample
Education Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
6 Nov 2020

The inquiry will seek to understand the extent to which current arrangements provide sufficient support for home educated children to access efficient, full-time and suitable education, and establish what further measures may be necessary in order to facilitate this.

It will also explore the impact of COVID-19 on home education, and any particular needs arising from the pandemic that need to be addressed.

11 Mar 2020 Home Office preparedness for Covid-19 (Coronavirus) View sample
Home Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

The Home Affairs Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the Home Office’s preparations for and response to Covid-19 (Coronavirus).  

3 Jul 2020 How UK aid learns View sample
International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (Commons select committee)

The Sub-Committee on the work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) is launching an inquiry to consider ICAI’s findings on how UK aid learns and the implications for the future Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). 

Summary 

In 2019, ICAI published three reviews which provided a retrospective assessment of the ability of UK government departments to apply learnings to their Official Development Assistance (ODA) programmes and respond better to development challenges: 

  • ‘The current state of UK aid: A synthesis of ICAI findings from 2015 to 2019’ (‘The Synthesis review’);  
  • ‘ICAI follow-up review of 2017-18 reports’ (‘The Follow-up review’); and 
  • ‘How UK Aid Learns’ 

Disruptions to the parliamentary calendar prevented the predecessor ICAI Sub-Committee from taking oral evidence on these reviews in 2019 within the usual timeframe. The Sub-Committee is today launching an inquiry to consider ICAI’s key findings and recommendations and their implications for the recently announced merger of the Department for International Development (DFID) with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).  

The Sub-Committee will examine the areas where previous performance and ability to act on ICAI’s recommendations could suggest challenges lay ahead for the future FCDO and other ODA departments in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals and other crucial development targets. 

2 Apr 2020 Humanitarian crises monitoring: coronavirus in developing countries: secondary impacts View sample
International Development Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
30 Oct 2020

Written evidence requested

Second phase of the inquiry

During the first phase of the inquiry into the pandemic’s impact on the Global South, the Committee looked at the risks and threats faced by countries going into the pandemic. The Committee received evidence on a range of potential secondary impacts – largely expected to arise from the measures and restrictions perceived as necessary to combat the spread of infection. The IDC has agreed a second coronavirus inquiry aimed at assessing these secondary impacts. It will consider the effectiveness of measures and interventions aimed at tackling them.

Terms of reference: Humanitarian crises monitoring: coronavirus in developing countries: secondary impacts 

First phase of the inquiry

The International Development Committee has launched an inquiry, Humanitarian crises monitoring, which will start by considering the impact of coronavirus on developing countries around the world and the UK’s response. Countries with on-going humanitarian crises, or other dependencies on development aid, face significantly different challenges than higher income countries in tackling coronavirus. Where local agencies and infrastructure, including healthcare, is limited, and the provision of aid supplies and personnel is restricted, mounting an effective response to the pandemic will be extremely challenging.

Terms of reference: Humanitarian crises monitoring: impact of coronavirus 

2 Apr 2020 Humanitarian crises monitoring: impact of coronavirus View sample
International Development Committee (Commons select committee)

Oral evidence ongoing

 

The International Development Committee has launched an inquiry, Humanitarian crises monitoring, which will start by considering the impact of coronavirus on developing countries around the world and the UK’s response. Countries with on-going humanitarian crises, or other dependencies on development aid, face significantly different challenges than higher income countries in tackling coronavirus. Where local agencies and infrastructure, including healthcare, is limited, and the provision of aid supplies and personnel is restricted, mounting an effective response to the pandemic will be extremely challenging.

Terms of reference: Humanitarian crises monitoring: impact of coronavirus 

16 Mar 2020 Humanitarian crises monitoring: the Rohingya View sample
International Development Committee (Commons select committee)

Written Q&A on the Rohingya Crisis

Report published

As part of its work monitoring humanitarian situations, the International Development Committee (IDC) conducted a series of written Q&A with selected witnesses on the Rohingya crisis, where over 800,000 people are displaced and living in camps in Bangladesh.

Due to current restrictions on meeting, the Committee sought updates through correspondence with organisations, including UNHCR, Burma Campaign UK, Save the Children and the Department for International Development (DFID).

I (9)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
19 Jun 2020 ICAI's review on the changing nature of UK aid in Ghana View sample
International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (Commons select committee)

The Sub-Committee on the work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) is launching an inquiry to consider ICAI’s first country portfolio review, The changing nature of UK aid in Ghana.

Ghana became a lower-middle income country in 2011. Its economy is changing and, as a result, so is the nature of the UK’s aid portfolio. Despite the progress achieved, some development challenges remain.

The UK committed approximately £2.8 billion in bilateral aid to Ghana between 1998 and 2017. Lately, the UK has responded to Ghana’s desire to move beyond aid by reorienting the UK’s aid portfolio towards helping Ghana overcome its economic and governance challenges, and towards mobilising the resources to help Ghana finance its own development.

Terms of Reference: ICAI's review on ICAI’s review on the changing nature of UK aid in Ghana

20 Apr 2020 ICAI's review on the Newton Fund View sample
International Development Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (Commons select committee)

Report published

The Newton Fund, which has a total budget of £735 million (2014-2021) from the Department.

Sub-committee on ICAI Chair, Theo Clarke MP, said:

“With scrutiny on UK aid spend more prominent now than ever before, this is an important time to chair the sub-committee on ICAI. ICAI spends months investigating UK Aid projects, and with our work scrutinising their findings, we are providing an additional layer of scrutiny on government ODA.

“The Newton Fund has received critical attention for years, with accusations that it is wasteful with spending and not offering value for money for the British taxpayer. It has a substantial budget, and our work is looking closely at whether it is fit for purpose.”

1 Sep 2020 ICAI: Performance in 2019-20 and Future Role View sample
International Development Committee (Commons select committee)

The International Development Committee will consider the Independent Commission for Aid Impact’s (ICAI) performance between 2019 and 2020. The evidence session discussed the key questions that the Government’s recently announced review of the Commission should be addressing, and the intended reforms. The newly merged Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced the review of ICAI on 29 August.

The Committee also be explored ICAI’s future relationship with Parliament following the establishment of the FCDO and possible changes to parliamentary scrutiny of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget.

15 Jun 2020 Immigration Enforcement View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

The Home Office is responsible for preventing abuse of immigration rules, tracking immigration offenders and increasing compliance with immigration law. A series of NAO reports have identified some of the long-standing challenges it faces in managing enforcement activity, removing foreign national offenders and overseeing the immigration detention system and facilities. The Immigration Enforcement directorate also depends on effective collaboration with other parts of the wider border and immigration system, as well as law enforcement and international partners.  

The NAO’s report ‘Immigration enforcement’ examines whether the Department is achieving its aim to reduce the size of the illegal population and the harm it causes, and doing so in a way that delivers value for money.  

It finds that the Home Office does not know how many people currently reside in the UK illegally: its last estimate, made 15 years ago in 2005, was around 430,000 people. More recent estimates from other organisations suggest that number might have doubled.  

While the Home Office collects a large amount of performance data on its activities, these do not allow it to demonstrate the impact of its work or policies. For example, the NAO found that the Home Office is unable to assess whether its measures to prevent people from accessing government funded services – the “No Recourse to Public Funds” policy that is a central plank of the “hostile environment” - have any meaningful impact on how likely a person is to return to their country of origin. 

The Home Office is stopping increasing numbers of people from entering the country illegally, but it doesn’t know if this is because it’s catching more of these attempts or there are simply more attempts. 

The Home Office returned, or helped to return, just over 13,100 people without leave to remain in the year to November 2019, of which 5,600 people returned voluntarily: although the numbers returning voluntarily  have dropped from an average of 1,200 a month in 2015 to approximately 460 a month in 2019.  

The other 7,400 were enforced removals, of which 5,000 were foreign national offenders, but that was less than half - 48% -of the planned enforced removals for that period, often as a result of late legal challenges to removal.  

As a result, the Home Office released 14,900, or 62%, of immigration detainees from immigration removal centres last year. It believes many of these late legal challenges are used to delay removal but did not provide any evidence that it has tried to actively understand and manage these challenges. 

The Home Office is currently considering its response to the Windrush review and has commissioned a review of the wider border and immigration system. The NAO argues that these reviews give the Home Office an opportunity to address many of the issues identified in its report. 

On Monday 13 July the Committee will question officials from the Home Office on the performance of  its core immigration enforcement activity, to establish what progress the Department has made in dealing with these enduring, ongoing challenges. 

If you have evidence on the questions raised in this inquiry please submit it here by 5.30pm on Thursday 9 July 2020.

16 Apr 2020 Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on homelessness and the private rented sector View sample
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
27 Nov 2020

The HCLG Committee has launched an inquiry into the Impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on homelessness and the private rented sector. It will consider both the immediate and long-term impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the homeless, rough sleepers and those in the private rented sector.

The Committee expects to hold an evidence session in early May onwards to hear directly from stakeholders and Government about what is being done and what further support is needed.

4 Jun 2020 Improving the prison estate View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

In the 2015 Spending Review the Government committed £1.3bn in to provide up to 10,000 prison places as part of the Prison Estate Transformation Programme (PETP), to be partially funded from the sale of prisons. The Ministry of Justice contracted out facilities management of prisons to private companies Amey and Carillion, the latter replaced by GFSL, a government company, when Carillion collapsed. 

In August 2019, the Government committed to creating another 10,000 prison places, to meet expected higher demand from the planned recruitment of 20,000 police officers.   

The NAO’s report ‘Improving the prison estate’ examines the condition and capacity of the prison estate, its approach to maintaining prisons, and progress it has made in transforming the estate. 

The report finds that the Prisons and Probation Service (HMPPS) has not maintained its estate to the necessary standard, so that prisoners are held in unsafe, crowded conditions. Government tried to improve prison conditions and capacity by contracting out facilities management services and replacing old unsuitable accommodation with new prisons places. However, these programmes have not delivered.  

The report concludes that contractors have not performed as hoped, expected savings from outsourcing have not materialised, and there are severe maintenance backlogs. The report also finds that the Prison Estate Transformation Programme now expects to create only 3,566 prison places against an original target of 10,000 new-for-old places.  

It concludes that HMPPS has been slow to formulate a long-term strategy, instead focussing on reacting to immediate population and maintenance problems. It faces a significant challenge to meet the new commitment to create 10,000 additional prison places. 

The Committee will question officials from the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, on the current condition of the prison estate, and how they intend to deliver on the Government’s pledge to create an additional 10,000 prison places.  

The Committee is inviting views on the issues raised by the NAO report, and any extra implications arising from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – please submit your evidence here by close of Thursday 25 June 2020.

1 Nov 2018 International Development Cooperation after Brexit View sample
EU External Affairs Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

This inquiry will consider the impact of Brexit on UK-EU international development cooperation. It will cover:

The reasons for and against cooperation in specific areas

Formal and informal arrangements through which the UK could continue to cooperate with the EU

The impact of Brexit on UK-based NGOs

30 Jun 2020 International development cooperation after Brexit View sample
EU Security and Justice Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

No description available

7 Apr 2020 Introductory Session with the Defence Secretary View sample
Defence Committee (Commons select committee)

No description available

L (6)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
13 Mar 2020 Labour in the food supply chain View sample
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

There is a high demand for non-UK workers in agriculture and in the wider food supply chain. Veterinarians, who provide certification for the import and export of animals to third countries and provide official controls at food exporting premises, abattoirs and border inspection posts, are currently on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

In February 2020, the Government published a policy statement on a points based immigration system, to take effect from 1 January 2021. The statement was clear that the Government would “not implement a route for lower-skilled workers”, because “we need to shift the focus of our economy away from a reliance on cheap labour from Europe and instead concentrate on investment in technology and automation”.

In 2017, the EFRA Committee conducted an inquiry on Feeding the nation: labour constraints, focusing on agriculture and horticulture, and took further evidence in 2018. In 2018, the UK Government announced a two-year Seasonal Workers pilot scheme to allow 2,500 non-EU nationals to come to the UK for 6 months each year to provide seasonal, agricultural support for fruit and vegetable farms. In February 2020, the Government confirmed the expansion of the pilot to allow farmers to hire up to 10,000 workers in 2020

17 Apr 2020 Left behind white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds View sample
Education Committee (Commons select committee)

The Education Committee is to investigate the issues faced by disadvantaged groups, with an initial inquiry into the educational underachievement of white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds including white working class pupils.

This inquiry will examine the extent of the achievement gap between this group and their peers and how it is measured, alongside a consideration of the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. It will also look at what the priorities should be for tackling this issue.

14 Feb 2020 Level playing field and state aid View sample
EU Goods Sub-Committee (Lords select committee)

This short inquiry will explore how the level playing field and state aid rules will feature in negotiations of the future relationship between the UK and the EU. Building on a previous inquiry, Brexit: competition and state aid, it will consider what the level playing field means in practice, how it operates in current EU free trade agreements, the EU’s goals with its state aid policies, and the opportunities that are open to the UK in formulating its own state aid policy, in particular for supporting wider UK Government objectives such as "levelling up" the country and meeting climate targets.

1 Jun 2020 Life beyond COVID View sample
COVID-19 Committee (Lords select committee)

In its first inquiry, the Committee is inviting people to share their hopes and fears about what the pandemic might mean in the long-term for our home and working lives, and for how we function as a society – what might it mean for social cohesion, for (in)equality, for our environment or for arts and culture?

17 Apr 2020 Local authority commercial investment View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

Local authorities have invested in commercial property for a long time, but there has been a recent step-change in the scale of activity. Estimated commercial property purchases for 2013-14 to 2015-16 were £460m; compared to an estimated £6.6bn for 2016-17 to 2018-19.The NAO’s report ‘Local authority commercial investment’ assesses whether MHCLG has effective oversight of the risks to the financial sustainability of local authorities due to their investments in commercial property.

The report finds that there has been a significant increase in out-of-area commercial property acquisition. There has also been an increase in acquisitions that are outside the acquiring authority’s LEP area. The report also finds that changes made by CIPFA and MHCLG to statutory guidance have not stopped some authorities borrowing large sums, to invest in commercial property. Commercial property acquisition is concentrated in a relatively small proportion of authorities. The NAO conclude that local auditors have raised concerns about the governance and risk management arrangements for investment activity in some authorities. The data MHCLG collects has limited usefulness for monitoring commercial activity and assessing its risks.

The Committee will question officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government on gaps in commercial skills in local government, and the extent to which the Department formally monitors commercial activity and long-term exposure to risk.

The Committee will also ask officials about the Ministry’s response to COVID-19, and what impact the pandemic has had on local government finances.

The NAO’s February 2020 report on ‘Local authority commercial investment’ assesses whether MHCLG has effective oversight of the risks to the financial sustainability of local authorities due to their investments in commercial property.

4 Mar 2020 Long-term delivery of social and affordable rented housing View sample
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee (Commons select committee)

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has re-launched its inquiry to examine the long-term delivery of social and affordable rented housing. 

The Government has set a target of delivering 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s. However, current expectations mean that as little as 3% of this target could be social homes built by local authorities. Housing charity Shelter has warned that over 3 million new social home would need to be built over a 20 year period to address social housing need. Amounting to 150,000 new social homes per year this is significantly higher than the Government’s current plans. 

The re-launched inquiry will investigate the effectiveness of the Government’s current strategies to boost social and affordable rented housing provision. This will include the adequacy of funding levels, as well as programmes and incentives for key stakeholders, such as local authorities and housing associations, to stimulate delivery. 

The Committee will also look at the challenges facing different areas of the country and consider what lessons can be learnt from successful schemes in other countries.

Evidence received for the inquiry in the previous Parliament can be found here.

M (5)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
27 May 2020 Management of tax reliefs View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

The Committee has opened an inquiry into the UK’s management of “tax expenditures”: tax reliefs which are granted on certain activities or goods.

There are two broad categories of tax reliefs: structural tax reliefs that are integral parts of the tax system - like the basic rate of income tax relief - and non-structural tax reliefs or “tax expenditures” where the government opts not to collect a portion of tax for social or economic objectives -  like tax credits for companies’ research and development costs, or income tax relief on pension contributions.

Some tax expenditures simply reflect a policy choice by ministers to support particular groups or sectors, like the housing market, while others are designed to incentivise behaviour by making a choice more or less expensive. 

In the UK the largest tax expenditures are the reliefs on pension contributions, not charging VAT on food and new dwellings, and not charging capital gains tax on people’s main home. Tax “expenditures” reduce the amount of tax collected, rather than allocating tax resources after they’re collected as in the traditional idea of public spending.

The UK tax system has over 300 of this kind of tax reliefs, which cost the Government an estimated £155 billion of foregone tax revenues in 2018-19, but National Audit Office evaluations have shown that the impact of applying different tax reliefs is not guaranteed, and many require careful monitoring to ensure the tax expenditure, the tax revenue given up, is “money well spent”.

In a report published in February this year the NAO repeated previous concerns about the effectiveness of HM Treasury’s and HM Revenue & Customs management of tax expenditures. It found that there is no formal framework governing the administration or oversight of tax expenditures, and that while HMRC and HM Treasury have begun welcome steps to increase their oversight of tax expenditures and more actively consider their value for money, these will not be sufficient on their own to address value-for-money concerns.

To do that, the NAO found that the departments must formally establish their accountabilities for tax expenditures and enable greater transparency, pointing to lessons that can be learned from other countries that have established clear arrangements for evaluating and reporting on tax expenditures, and calling on HM Treasury and HMRC to follow suit by clarifying arrangements for value for money and improving the evaluation and public reporting of tax expenditures.

Later in June the Committee will question officials from HM Treasury, and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, on management of tax reliefs, the number of reliefs and the Government’s understanding of whether they represent value for money. 

The Committee is now inviting evidence on the questions of accountability and value for money in tax expenditures raised by the NAO report: please make your submissions here before close of Friday 5 June 2020

3 Mar 2020 Management of the Coronavirus Outbreak View sample
Health and Social Care Committee (Commons select committee)

The inquiry is considering the management of the coronavirus epidemic by the Government and its agencies. MPs are looking at measures to safeguard public health, options for containing the virus and how well the NHS is dealing with the outbreak.

Preparations of community services, the likely impact on routine NHS services and risks to patients and staff are also being examined.

On the 22nd April 2020, the Committee launched a separate inquiry which is investigating the delivery of core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond. For more information, and details on submitting written evidence please visit the inquiry’s webpage.

 

Among witnesses who have given evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee inquiry are:

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England (5th March 2020)

Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser (17th March 2020)

Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England and Improvement (17th March 2020)

Professor Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director, Public Health England (26th March 2020)

James Bullion, Vice-President, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (26th March 2020)

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing (17th April 2020)

Professor Anthony Costello, Professor of Global Health andSustainable Development, UCL (17th April 2020)

Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (17th April 2020)

 

5 Mar 2020 Military Exercises and the Duty of Care: Further Follow-Up View sample
Defence Committee (Commons select committee)

The Defence Committee is holding an evidence session on military exercises and the duty of care. This session was postponed due to the General Election and is now being revisited by the newly constituted Defence Committee.

In 2016 the Defence Committee published a report "Beyond Endurance? Military exercises and the duty of care". This report examined the overarching policies and guidance of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Armed Forces in respect of the health and safety of service personnel during training, exercises and selection events and whether effective processes existed for learning the lessons from accidents and deaths that occurred during such events.

An initial follow-up evidence session was held in November 2016. This second follow-up session will focus on what has been achieved since the publication of the Committee’s report in 2016. It will consider whether the actions taken have addressed the concerns raised in the initial report, whether lessons have been learnt, whether a culture of continual learning exists and what scope there is for further improvement.

The Commitee will condsider new evidence, which can be submited till the deadline Thursday 9 April 2020. There is no need to resubmit previous written evidence.

 

5 Mar 2020 My BEIS inquiry View sample
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Commons select committee)

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee launches the ‘My BEIS Inquiry’, inviting stakeholders and the wider public to come forward with suggestions for issues the Committee should investigate over the course of this Parliament.

The BEIS Committee is open to looking at issues from across the policy remit of the Department, including areas such as business, Industrial Strategy, consumer protection, corporate governance, jobs and working conditions, energy policy, clean growth and climate change.

How to take part? 

Submit your proposals

The Committee wants to hear your ideas about areas it should look into. 

proposals for inquiries should outline briefly:

 - the nature of the issue that the Committee should explore;

 - why it deserves attention;

 - how Government policy in this area could be developed or improved.

A selection of the proposals will be shortlisted for an opportunity to give a five minute 'pitch' to the Committee in person at a public evidence session in Westminster later this year. Members of the Committee will have the chance to ask questions about the proposal at the end of each 'pitch'. The aim of the meeting would be for Committee Members to learn more about the issue you have raised before taking a final decision on subjects to launch an inquiry on.

The Committee will be selecting submissions based on merit, in particular it will be looking for inquiries that:

 - are within the Committee's remit;

 - are timely;

 - have potential for high impact;

 - bring a new issue to the forefront or a fresh perspective to an existing problem.

The Committee is not able to take up individual complaints or cases. 'Pitches' will take place in public evidence sessions to ensure participants' concerns reach a wider audience and be entered into the permanent parliamentary record.

The Committee values diversity and encourages proposals from people it wouldn't normally hear from, and suggestions for work in areas that it has not previously considered.

The deadline to submit inquiry ideas is Friday 29 May 2020.

Read our FAQs

6 Jul 2020 My Scottish Affairs 2020 View sample
Scottish Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

The Scottish Affairs Committee embarks on an engagement mission that will see the ideas and concerns of the public in Scotland become an inquiry. The Committee wants to hear your ideas about what areas it should look into.

Suggestions should be submitted via this short form, where you can outline briefly

- what policy area your idea relates to and;

- why it deserves attention

A selection of the proposals will be shortlisted for an opportunity to present to the Committee later this year. This will help the Committee Members learn more about the issues you have raised before taking a final decision on subjects to launch an inquiry on.

The Committee will be selecting submissions based on merit. It will be looking for inquiries that are within the Committee’s remit, are timely, have potential for high impact, bring a new issue to the forefront or a fresh perspective to an existing problem.

The Committee values diversity and encourages proposals from people it wouldn't normally hear from, and suggestions for work in areas that it has not previously considered.

The deadline to submit inquiry ideas is Monday 31 August 2020.

Read the FAQs here. If you have any questions, please contact scotaffcom@parliament.uk

Good luck!

N (4)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
6 Mar 2020 Net zero and UN climate summits View sample
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Commons select committee)

The BEIS Committee has launched a standing inquiry on the UK’s ‘Net Zero’ target and the UN Climate Summits. The Committee expects this inquiry to run for the duration of this Parliament. It will consider issues including:

  • Progress in delivering the UK’s 2050 net zero target; 
  • Progress in cutting emissions to meet the UK’s five-yearly Carbon Budgets; 
  • The role of BEIS in leading climate change mitigation policy across Government; 
  • The potential role of business and industry in the net zero agenda; 
  • Preparations for the 2021 Climate Summit in Glasgow, and the UK’s performance as Summit host; 
  • The ongoing role of the UK in international climate talks and initiatives to tackle climate change. 

Background

On 27 June 2019 the UK’s ‘Net Zero’ target came into force, setting a new goal to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050. The Net Zero target replaces the UK’s previous goal to reduce UK emissions by 80% by 2050, established by the Climate Change Act 2008.

The net zero target aligns UK legislation with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, as agreed by the world’s nations at the 2015 UN Climate Summit (COP21). The Paris Agreement sets an aim to limit global temperature rise to "well below 2°C" above pre-industrial levels and to "pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C".

In September 2019 the UK was awarded the Presidency of the next UN Climate Summit (COP26), in partnership with Italy. The Summit will now take place in Glasgow in November 2021.

Calls for evidence

The Committee is working with the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) on a survey of priorities for COP26, the results of which will feed into this inquiry.  As part of this exercise POST is also creating a database of COP26 experts.  This is an invitation to anyone with expertise in areas relating to COP26 to provide feedback. For more information and to take the survey please visit https://post.parliament.uk/horizon-scanning/cop26-expert-database/.

We are not currently inviting written submissions for this inquiry. As the inquiry progresses, we may issue a targeted call for evidence on a specific issue. If you would like to provide any information or have any queries regarding this inquiry please email us at beiscom@parliament.uk

9 Mar 2020 New Decade, New Approach Agreement View sample
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

The New Decade, New Approach agreement provided the basis for restoration of the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland following a three-year period without an Executive or functioning Assembly.

The New Decade, New Approach agreement includes measures and consequent funding commitments that are intended to transform public services in Northern Ireland. It also includes initiatives to improve the scrutiny and transparency of the Northern Ireland Executive, as well as changes to improve the sustainability of the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland.

As part of the New Decade, New Approach Agreement, the UK Government has made financial commitments to support government in Northern Ireland. Those measures include funding to help the Executive transform public service provision and support the health service in Northern Ireland. The UK Government has committed to providing funding of £2 billion, £1 billion of which it has described as “Barnett-based investment”.

 

Terms of reference

The Committee would welcome the submission of written evidence that addresses:

  • whether the UK Government’s commitment of £2 billion is sufficient to transform public service provision in Northern Ireland;
  • what evidence and calculations underpin the £2 billion commitment;
  • how UK Government funding should be allocated to Northern Ireland and whether it should be linked to the functioning of devolved institutions in Northern Ireland;
  • the potential merits and/or demerits of establishing an Independent Fiscal Council in Northern Ireland to assess the Executive’s use of public money;
  • the potential effect of the New Decade, New Approach agreement on the future sustainability of devolved institutions in Northern Ireland; and
  • whether the deal excludes other measures that might improve good governance in Northern Ireland.

5 May 2020 NHS capital expenditure and financial management View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

From 2014-15 the Department for Health and Social Care transferred funds from its capital to its revenue budget, with £1bn switched in 2017-18: effectively foregoing longer-term investments in buildings and assets to support day-to-day spending on current health and care services.

The Department plans to end this practice in 2019-20, but there is no discernible strategy yet in place to ensure that organisations will have sufficient access to capital to deliver the transformed services set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019 and setting how the NHS aims to achieve the range of priorities set by the government in return for the long-term funding settlement.

The NAO’s report ‘Capital expenditure in the NHS’ concluded that the current system of allocating funds for capital is not strategic or transparent, and that planned, multi-year transfers out of the DHSC capital budget and into day-to-day operational budgets is pushing the current capital regime to the limit of its effectiveness. The report also found that:

-  Parts of the NHS estate  - including Victorian-era buildings - do not meet the demands of a modern health service. The growth in the estate maintenance backlog – standing at around £6.5 billion in October 2019 including a high-risk backlog of £1.1 billion, which grew by 139% between 2014-15 and 2018-19 - indicates that there is an increased risk of harm to patients and to patient care.

- In the five years from 2014-15 to 2018-19 the Department transferred a total of £4.3 billion from capital to revenue spending, using budget flexibilities granted to it by the Treasury. This allowed the Department to prioritise day-to-day spending on current services at the cost of foregoing longer-term investment in buildings and other long-term assets. In March 2019 the Department was unable to give a definitive measure of the impact on patients’ services of repeatedly making these transfers.

- Capital investment budgets have not been fully used. There have been particular years where noticeable underspends have occurred. Between 2010-11 and 2012-13, there was an average underspend of £677 million (12%) against the capital spending limit. In 2017-18, £360 million (6%) was unspent. These underspends have occurred at a time when the UK has had lower levels of medical equipment per population than other countries.

- Some NHS providers are in surplus and some are in deficit and have had to borrow to fund capital plans. The current capital regime means that the availability of cash, and ability to spend capital without approval from the Department (for example, in those trusts delivering surpluses and foundation trusts), does not necessarily match where there are the most urgent capital needs.

- NHS providers have increasingly sold their assets to fund day-to-day activities, with overall proceeds from asset sales rising by 99% (from £222 million to £441 million) between 2016-17 and 2018-19.

- NHS providers owe the government £10.9 billion in interim revenue and capital debt. Cash shortages affect the ability of NHS providers to invest in new capital assets.

Ahead of the evidence hearing on 22 May, the Committee invites written submissions on any of the issues and questions raised above. Please submit your evidence here by Friday 15 May 2020.

15 Jun 2020 NHS nursing workforce View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

Despite a range of actions to resolve the long term issue of workforce shortages in nursing, including tackling worsening retention rates, problems have persisted.  

The NHS Long Term Plan signalled the need for an increase in the number of nurses, and in December 2019 the government confirmed its pledge of 50,000 more NHS nurses by 2024. It also announced the reintroduction of maintenance grants for nursing students from September 2020. 

The NAO’s report ‘NHS nursing workforce’ sets out the scale of the NHS nursing workforce challenge, and the challenges that any future plan must address. 

The report finds that despite overall increases in the numbers of nurses over the last 10 years, the NHS does not have the nurses it needs: it now has around 40,000 nursing vacancies, or 12% of posts.  

It also finds that the NHS Long Term Plan acknowledged that “the biggest shortfall [is] in nursing” - but did not include any detailed plans on what nursing workforce was needed to deliver on its ambitions.  

Planning to secure the workforce needed to meet the Long Term Plan commitments has been delayed, with the plan originally promised in 2019 now scheduled for Spring 2020. 

The Committee will question officials from the Department for Health and Social Care, NHS England and Improvement, and Health Education England, on what action is now being taken to address these long term problems in the NHS nursing workforce,  and what impact the Covid-19 pandemic has on current and future plans.  

If you have evidence on the issues raised in this inquiry please submit it here by 5.30pm Thursday 16 July 2020.

O (4)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
22 Sep 2020 One off session: The impact of coronavirus on children’s education View sample
Women and Equalities Committee (Commons select committee)

No description available

16 Sep 2020 OneWeb View sample
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Commons select committee)

No description available

14 Sep 2020 Online harms and the ethics of data View sample
Sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation (Commons select committee)

No description available

24 Sep 2020 Open Skies and New START View sample
International Relations and Defence Committee (Lords select committee)

The Committee held an evidence session on the importance of the Open Skies Treaty, the prospects for the extension of New START and the effectiveness of the UK Government’s advocacy on these issues.

P (19)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
22 Sep 2020 Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Scrutiny 2019-20 View sample
Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) is launching its annual scrutiny session into the work of the PHSO in the financial year 2019/20.

According to the House of Commons Standing Order 146, PACAC's role in relation to the PHSO is:

to examine the reports of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and the Health Service Commissioner for England, which are laid before this House, and matters in connection therewith

PACAC therefore scrutinises the PHSO's annual report and other reports that the Ombudsman chooses to lay before Parliament. Where these reports highlight failures in the quality and standards of Civil Service administration, PACAC may use them to hold the government to account.

The Committee cannot review the PHSO's adjudications on individual cases. This includes the PHSO's decisions on whether or not to accept a case. As the office of the PHSO is independent, adjudications cannot be overruled by a government minister or any parliamentary committee.

11 Aug 2020 Police conduct and complaints View sample
Home Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

This inquiry will examine the role and remit of the Independent Office for Police Conduct in relation to the police conduct and discipline system. It will look at how the IOPC and police forces around the country work to resolve complaints and at progress in reforming the system following criticisms of the time taken to resolve complaints. It will also investigate what reforms are required to secure public confidence in the police conduct and disciplinary system.

15 Oct 2020 Political Polling - follow-up View sample
Liaison Committee (Lords) (Lords select committee)

The Liaison Committee will be holding a one-off evidence session to follow-up on the recommendations of the Political Polling Select Committee. The report of the Committee and the government response can be found on the former Committee’s webpage.

4 Mar 2020 Post Office and Horizon View sample
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Commons select committee)

No description available

23 Oct 2020 Post-Brexit common frameworks View sample
Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee (Lords select committee)

Submit Evidence
30 Nov 2020

The Common Frameworks Scrutiny was appointed on 17 September 2020 to scrutinise and consider matters relating to Common Frameworks.

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union will result in a number of powers that are currently held by the EU being returned to the UK. Many of these powers currently intersect with the competences of at least one of the Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish governments.

Common frameworks are a mechanism for the UK and devolved governments to mutually agree some amount of regulatory consistency for policy areas where returning EU powers are within devolved competence.

The Committee is considering how the common frameworks programme will operate and relate to other initiatives, how it could be reviewed and improved in the future, and the role for parliamentary scrutiny across the UK.

3 Jun 2020 Post-pandemic economic growth View sample
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Commons select committee)

Our Post-Pandemic Economic Growth inquiry will look at the options available to Government to secure our economic recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic; covering investment, industrial strategy, jobs, skills, exports and sustainable growth. 

This inquiry is likely to run through the Parliament and will include a series of sub-inquiries examining issues such as devolution and the 'levelling-up' agenda, the the role Government might play as a shareholder or investor in businesses in the future, and the measures needed to rebuild consumer confidence and stimulate economically and environmentally sustainable growth.

We want to hear your views on these issues. Read the call for evidence and submit.

Sign up to our Post-Pandemic Economic Growth mailing list to receive updates about this inquiry as it progresses.

23 Jul 2020 Post-pandemic economic growth: Industrial Strategy View sample
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Commons select committee)

In our inquiry into Post-pandemic economic growth: Industrial strategy we will look at the options available to Government to secure our economic recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

We will want to examine whether the Government’s current industrial strategy is fit for purpose, whether it is genuinely strategic, and whether it is focused on the right sectors, issues and policy areas. We want to look at whether the Government’s Industrial Strategy is properly designed and implemented to encourage the growth of a more productive, inclusive and sustainable economy which generates wealth, innovation and high-quality jobs.

We want to hear your views on these issues. Read the call for evidence and submit.

Sign up to our Post-Pandemic Economic Growth mailing list to receive updates about this inquiry as it progresses.

24 Jul 2020 Post-pandemic economic growth: Levelling up - local and regional structures and the delivery of economic growth View sample
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (Commons select committee)

This sub-inquiry - Levelling up: local and regional structures and the delivery of economic growth - forms part of the Committee’s overall ‘super-inquiry’ into Post-Pandemic Economic Growth.

Our ‘levelling up’ inquiry will look at how local and regional government structures (including the role of powerhouses, local enterprise partnerships and growth hubs, city and regional mayoralties, and councils) could be reformed or better equipped to deliver growth locally.

We want to hear your views on these issues. Read the call for evidence and submit.

Sign up to our Post-Pandemic Economic Growth mailing list to receive updates about this inquiry as it progresses.

4 Mar 2020 Pre-appointment hearing for the role of Chair of NICE View sample
Health and Social Care Committee (Commons select committee)

The Committee will hear from Sharmila Nebhrajani OBE, the Government's preferred candidate for the role of Chair of NICE, to assess her suitability for the role in accordance with the Liaison Committee’s guidance.

23 Jun 2020 Private prosecutions: safeguards View sample
Justice Committee (Commons select committee)

This inquiry will examine whether there are sufficient safeguards in place to limit the likelihood of injustices resulting from private prosecutions brought by organisations that act as the investigator and the prosecutor but are also the victim of the alleged offence.

The Justice Committee has set up this short inquiry following a request from the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). The CCRC asked, on 3 June, if the Committee would, following the referral of 47 Post Office Horizon cases for appeal, undertake a review of the “circumstances and safeguards where an organisation is allowed, as the Post Office was in these cases, to act a prosecutor when it is also the victim and the investigator of an alleged offence”.

The Committee will focus on the effectiveness of existing safeguards and the merits of additional safeguards that could be used to limit the potential for the right to bring private prosecutions by large organisation to cause miscarriages of justice.

The Committee will not be investigating individual cases, nor will it investigate Post Office and Horizon which is the subject of an ongoing inquiry by the Business, Energy Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee and a forthcoming independent review.

The deadline for written evidence is 23 July. If you wish to submit evidence after this date please contact the Committee by email: justicecom@parliament.uk

10 Apr 2020 Procedure under coronavirus restrictions View sample
Procedure Committee (Commons select committee)

The Procedure Committee is monitoring and evaluating the use of the temporary procedures and practices agreed to by the House of Commons on 21 and 22 April.These temporary changes have been introduced in consequence of the public health restrictions on movement and association introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

16 Jul 2020 Progress in delivering the British Army’s armoured vehicle capability View sample
Defence Committee (Commons select committee)

This inquiry will focus on the procurement and use of Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) and ask whether more must be done to ensure the Army’s ability to deploy an armoured devision.

This inquiry will attempt to understand how the Army envisages employing their AFVs in future operations. Additionally, it will examine the procurement of AFVs, including how much has been spent procuring AFVs over the last 20 years and how many vehicles have been acquired. The inquiry will ask which capabilities have been sacrificed in order to fund overruns in its core armoured vehicles and which key gaps are emerging with the Army’s armoured vehicle capability.

The Committee will ask whether the Army is currently on track to be able to field the Strike Brigades and armoured division in line with the recommendations of the 2015 SDSR, and how flexible the army can be in adapting its current armoured vehicle plans to the results of the Integrated Review. The Committee will ask whether the Army will be able to match the potential threat posed by peer adversaries by 2025.

15 Jun 2020 Progress in remediating dangerous cladding View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

After the Grenfell tower block fire tragedy that killed 71 people the Government established the Building Safety Programme, to “ensure that residents of high-rise residential buildings are safe, and feel safe from the risk of fire”. The Grenfell Inquiry said it was essential that similar cladding was removed from the exterior of high-rise buildings “as quickly as possible”. 

In May 2018 MHCLG made £400 million available for the remediation of dangerous cladding from high-rise flats in the social housing sector, and in May 2019 announced a further £200 million for the remediation of equivalent buildings in the private housing sector.  

Nearly three years later, the NAO report into remediating dangerous cladding on high-rise buildings finds that only about one third of the buildings which fit the specification for the work  - 18 metres and above with unsafe “aluminium composite material” (ACM) cladding systems  - had been fully remediated, leaving 307 of the total 456 where remediation was not yet finished, and work has not yet begun on 167 of those. The original deadline for completing all these buildings was this month, June 2020.  

Not all buildings with dangerous ACM cladding fall within scope of the government’s existing funding schemes for the social and private housing sectors, but the Department’s own Independent Expert Advisory Panel has advised that the most dangerous forms of ACM cladding are unsafe on buildings of any height, and that risks are increased in buildings with elderly and vulnerable residents.  

The Department now estimates that all buildings within the scope of its funding will now be remediated by mid-2022, but this new deadline does not take account of the impacts of COVID-19: there are early signs that the epidemic has slowed the pace of remediation, with up to 60% of projects that were under way paused by April 2020.  

The pace of remediation has been slowest in the private residential sector, with only 13.5% of private sector residential buildings fixed: by the end of April 2020, the Department had paid out £1.42 million (0.7%) from the £200 million private sector fund compared to £133 million (33.3%) from the £400 million social sector fund. It has been difficult to identify those legally responsible for private buildings, and they have “required more support than was expected”. 

The owners of 84 private sector residential buildings have committed to fund remediation, with a further 23 self-funded through warranty claims. The Government expects to pay for 94 projects out of 208 in the private sector, where the developer or building owner has not agreed to fund remediation themselves.  Seven buildings have not agreed a funding route.  In the social sector, the Department has committed to fund 139 out of 154 residential buildings.  

In March 2020 the Department announced a further £1 billion funding for the remediation of other unsafe cladding, not ACM, on high-rise buildings in the social and private residential sectors. The NAO reports that administration of this new scheme may present significant challenges, given the issues with the existing fund of around half the size.  

On Monday 6 July the Committee will question officials from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the Government’s progress on remediating dangerous cladding. If you have evidence on the questions and issues raised in this report, please submit it here by 5.30pm on Thursday 2 July.

4 Mar 2020 Progress of the negotiations on the UK’s Future Relationship with the EU View sample
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
31 Dec 2020

The Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union has launched an overarching inquiry looking at all aspects of the negotiations between the UK and EU, which began in Brussels the week of 2 March 2020. 

The Committee welcomes written evidence submissions to its inquiry, particularly those that address the following questions:

  • What are the priorities for the UK, and for the EU, in the negotiations on the future relationship? How should the interests of different sectors of the economy and parts of the UK be balanced?
  • How will the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement interact with the negotiations on the future relationship? What is the role of the Joint Committee, and what other mechanisms will be available for the UK and EU to resolve disagreements?
  • How prepared is the UK Government to negotiate and implement the future relationship with the EU, including in the event a free trade agreement is not secured? Which aspects of the future relationship could be negotiated after the transition period?
  • How effectively is the Government consulting with businesses, stakeholders, and the devolved institutions, to inform the UK negotiating position?

Launching the inquiry, Committee Chair Hilary Benn MP said:

“As negotiations between the UK and the EU begin, the questions that will define the next nine months are emerging. What are each side’s priorities? How can the competing interests of different stakeholders be balanced? How prepared are the UK and the EU for the range of possible outcomes?  

“These are complex questions, and if a future relationship that works for both parties is to be agreed, there is no time to waste.  

“Similarly, clarity is required regarding the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, particularly the implications of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Our inquiry will seek to hear from a range of voices, including from Northern Ireland.   

“The Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union may have a new name, but our task – scrutinising the progress of these critical negotiations – remains unchanged. I look forward to beginning our inquiry in our session with Michael Gove on Wednesday.”

9 Mar 2020 Progress on devolution in England View sample
Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee (Commons select committee)

Relaunched inquiry: Progress of Devolution in England

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has relaunched its inquiry into progress on devolution in England. The inquiry will scrutinise the impact of recently agreed devolution agreements and ask if the transfer of further powers to England’s regions can boost local economies and provision of public services.

Since 2014, cities and regions including Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Cornwall have successfully negotiated bespoke devolution deals with the Governments. London gained greater devolved powers following the establishment of an assembly in 2000.

Each devolution deal involves its own arrangements for funding and increased responsibilities, but can include greater powers over areas including business support, planning, transport and health. London, and eight of the ten areas with newly agreed devolution deals, established directly elected mayors to oversee the implementation of new powers.

The inquiry will examine the impact of devolving increased powers in the cities and regions where deals have been agreed, and consider how any benefits can be realised in more areas of the country. It will investigate the effectiveness of the current strategy of developing bespoke deals region by region, and ask if increasing available powers without wider systemic changes would produce similar benefits. The Committee will investigate the roles of directly elected mayors, quality of scrutiny in decision making and public accountability.

Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Clive Betts MP commented:

“The approach the Government has taken is to develop bespoke arrangements for different areas, both in terms of the powers devolved to them and the administrative systems to execute them. We have launched this inquiry to understand the impact of the current approach. Has tailoring devolution to each locality improved decision making, the local economy and public services?

“Most importantly, we want to discover what opportunities there are for improving outcomes across the country. Notably in areas such as transport and health where provision doesn’t match existing local government structures, but also in improving the local economy, environment and infrastructure. We will be looking to see how improved devolution can boost cities and regions, and how it can be implemented more quickly.”

Evidence received for the inquiry in the previous Parliament can be found here.

28 Jul 2020 Protecting pension savers – five years on from the pension freedoms: Pension scams View sample
Work and Pensions Committee (Commons select committee)

The Committee is looking at how savers are prepared and protected to move from saving for retirement to using their pension savings.  

This work will be in three parts. For the first part, we’ll be looking at pension scams and what more can be done to prevent them. We are interested in finding out how common pension scams are, what happens to people who are victims of scams, and what more public bodies could do to tackle scams. 

You can find out more about the inquiry here.

The deadline for sending your views is 9 September 2020. 

Where to get help

If you have any concerns about an offer you’ve received, or about a conversation you’ve had about transferring or accessing your pension, you can check with The Pensions Advisory Service.

They can also give you advice if you’ve been a victim of a scam.

You can speak to a pension specialist at The Pensions Advisory Service on their helpline on 0800 011 3797 (Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm) or use their webchat service or online enquiry form at www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk

If you’ve been a victim of a scam and need support:

  • You can contact Victim Support or Think Jessica if a scam has made you feel anxious, fearful or guilty. They provide emotional and practical help to victims of crimes and scams.
  • You can contact the 24-hour Samaritans helpline on 116 123 if you feel low or anxious and need someone to talk to.
  • You can contact Citizens Advice if you’re having trouble paying your bills and are worried about what to do.

 

6 Feb 2019 Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland View sample
European Union Committee (Lords select committee)

The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is one of the most significant elements of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement. Its purpose is to maintain "continued North-South cooperation" and avoid a "hard border" on the island of Ireland, while protecting the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement "in all its dimensions".

In this inquiry, the EU Select Committee will examine:

  • The political, legal and economic implications of the Protocol for Northern Ireland’s relationship with the rest of the UK, with Ireland, and with the EU as a whole
  • The practical operation of the Protocol, in particular for business based in or trading with Northern Ireland
  • The significance of the decisions to be made during 2020 by the UK-EU Joint Committee on the application of the Protocol
  • How Westminster and the Northern Ireland Assembly should seek to scrutinise the operation of the Protocol

18 Jun 2020 Public Sector Procurement of Food View sample
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Commons select committee)

Submit Evidence
31 Oct 2020

In 2014, Defra published “A Plan for Public Procurement,” which showed that in 2010, the UK public sector spent over £2.4 billion annually on procuring food for beneficiaries including schools, hospitals, prisons, government agencies, and care homes. The Plan outlined new standards and guidelines for food procurement by public bodies, focusing on economic competitiveness, nutrition, and the production process. The report established a revised Government Buying Standard (GBS) and a ‘balanced scorecard’ for public procurement as part of a toolkit for food procurers of public bodies. Recently, there have been calls for the National Food Strategy commissioned by Defra to address food procurement.

Public procurement is currently governed by EU rules. The 2019 Conservative Party manifesto stated: “When we leave the EU, we will be able to encourage the public sector to ‘Buy British’ to support our farmers and reduce environmental costs”. After the transition period ends, the UK can change procurement rules, though this will be subject to other agreements, including the future relationship with the EU.

29 May 2020 Public services: lessons from coronavirus View sample
Public Services Committee (Lords select committee)

In our first inquiry, the Committee will examine what the experience of the coronavirus outbreak can tell us about the future role, priorities and shape of public services. The inquiry will focus on four key areas: the integration of services; inequalities in access and outcome; the relationship between local and national services; and the role of civil society—the private sector, charities, volunteers and community groups—during coronavirus.

R (6)

Inquiry Opened Select Committee Status
4 Jun 2020 Readying the NHS and social care for the COVID-19 peak View sample
Public Accounts Committee (Commons select committee)

On Monday 22 June, in the next of our new series of work on NAO reports into the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will question the Permanent Secretary and Finance Director at the Department for Health and Social Care; the Chief Executive of the NHS; NHS England; Public Health England and the National Medical Director on the UK’s preparations for the peak of cases and deaths in England.  

The NAO’s report, the basis for our questioning, will provide a factual update on progress with key government actions across health and social care, including:  

  • increasing the availability of healthcare professionals and beds to treat COVID-19 patients while maintaining other essential health services;
  • securing adequate vital supplies, including PPE, testing equipment, and ventilators; and
  • protecting and supporting vulnerable groups, including those residentin care homes and healthcare professionals. 

Questions will focus on the methods used to select providers and award contracts for PPE provision,  the use of consultants and other private contractors in mounting the UK emergency response including building and supplying the Nightingale hospitals, the development of the UK’s testing capacity and contact tracing system, and what capacity the NHS has now to withstand a potential second peak later this year.   

If you have evidence on these questions please submit it here by close of Thursday 18 June 2020.

24 Jul 2020 Reforming public transport after the pandemic View sample
Transport Committee (Commons select committee)

The longer-term implications of the coronavirus pandemic for the UK’s public transport are to be examined by the Transport Committee. From the first weeks of lockdown, the Transport Committee has charted the impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s key transport sectors.  Transport workers, stakeholders, mayors and ministers working in aviation, local transport, freight and maritime described the immediate pressures they faced during an unprecedented period of profound upheaval. This inquiry will take a holistic look at how public transport is changing and the implications for current government strategies including the Williams Rail Review, bus strategy, walking and cycling, taxis and private hire vehicles. 

The deadline for submission is Thursday 24 September 2020.

Read the inquiry launch news story