Political accountability and transparency
Robin Cook, when Leader of the House of Commons, succinctly described the purpose of parliamentary scrutiny functions saying: ‘Good scrutiny makes for good government’. We wholeheartedly agree, and a key component of the Parliament & Government programme's work examines how Parliament can best perform its scrutiny role and hold government accountable. Accountability does not apply solely to government however, and another aspect our work will consider is the accountability and transparency of Parliament itself.
Political Accountability and Transparency briefing papers
The Parliament & Government programme are currently working on a series of briefing papers examing various issues around Good Government. The first paper examines issues of interests and allowances in the House of Lords, and makes recommendations for restoring trust in the system. The second paper will examine the progress that has been made on the scrutiny of government money since the publication of our Fiscal Maze report in 2006 (see below).
Reform of MPs' expenses
The programme gave written and oral evidence to the Committee on Standards in Public Life's investigation into MPs' expenses in 2009 (click here) and gave evidence to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority's 2010 consultation on the new expenses system (click here).
The Fiscal Maze
The Fiscal Maze (2006) project analysed the relationship between Parliament,
government and public money looked at how the present system of
financial scrutiny can be strengthened. It argues that Parliament could and should do more to secure full
financial accountability from government, particularly in scrutinising the Budget and Pre-Budget reports and the Comprehensive Spending Reviews. It also recommended select committees pay greater attention to departmental spending, and that increased resources should be provided to enhance this specialised area of their scrutiny function.
This research prompted the Liaison Committee to examine the issue, and its 2008 report referenced our work extensively. The Fiscal Maze was also runner-up in the 'Think Tank Publication of the Year' category at Prospect Magazine’s annual Think Tank of the Year
The project also included an interim discussion paper, Inside the Counting House.
PASC inquiry on Good Government
The programme submitted written evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee's inquiry on Good Government. Our evidence paper looks at our proposals in two specific areas, parliamentary scrutiny of government finance and government legislation, drawing from our recent publications The Fiscal Maze and Law in the Making. For more information click here, and to download a copy of the paper click here.
The programme also submitted evidence to the PASC inquiry on Lobbying in 2007.
Cabinet Office consultation on Effective Consultation
The Parliament & Government and eDemocracy programmes jointly submitted evidence to the Cabinet Office's consultation on Effective Consultation. We made a number of practical recommendations on how the current consultation process can be improved and called for a greater role for Parliament and pre- and post-legislative scrutiny in the consultation process.