Web links: Chapter 16

For a nice overview of the work of Commons select committees, see this YouTube video (see here for an even shorter 1 minute version).

Finding select committee information

The committees section of Parliament’s website is a hub for all information regarding select committees and their work. Here you can see a quick selection of committee news and current inquiries as well as select committee business such as oral evidence sessions which are taking place in parliament.  It also hosts a handy A-Z list of select committees which allows you to filter for Commons committees, Lords committees and Joint committees. Helpfully, the site also keeps a record of former committees and this means that it is possible to see formal minutes, inquiries and reports from committees such as the Modernisation Committee (which sat in the 2005 Parliament) or the Joint Committee on House of Lords Reform (which met only in the 2001-02 and 2002-3 sessions).

Committee membership

Each committee has its own page where you can find information about its members, inquiries and associated evidence sessions or publications. See for example the homepage of the Lords Communications Committee and its list of members.  The individual profiles of MPs and Peers also list current and former select committee memberships. See for instance the profile page of new Labour MP Laura Pidcock or the extensive list of committees in which longstanding Conservative MP Sir William Cash has participated.  The oldest select committee is the Public Accounts Committee. Traditionally chaired by a member of the Opposition, you can find a list of all of its Chairs since 1861 here.

Since 2010 the chairs of select committees have been elected. See here for an explanation of how this all works. The Commons Library has compiled a useful list of Chairs since 2010. The Institute for Government has put together some interesting data on select committee appointments, the composition of committees and resignations from committee.

Evidence Sessions

The transcripts of oral evidence sessions are published on the relevant committee page. There is often a link to watch the session alongside the transcript, but these can also be found using Parliament TV.  You can watch for example:

Brexit Minister David Davis’s appearance before the Exiting the European Union Committee on 6 December 2017 to answer questions on the publication of sectoral impact assessments.

Oral evidence given by Rupert Murdoch, James Murdock and Rebekah Brooks as part of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into phone hacking in July 2011.

The Public Account’s Committee’s questioning of HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver as part of its inquiry into tax avoidance and evasion in March 2015.