Responses to select committee reports

As regular readers will know, the House of Lords recently agreed a proposal that I put to the Leader of the House, namely that Government Departments that failed to publish their responses to Select Committee reports within two months of publication should be named and shamed in House of Lords Business.  (This already happens with Departments that are overdue in answering written questions.)  You can find the details in my earlier post.

The results of the change can be seen in today’s Business, where one finds the following:


Reports awaiting a Government response after two months

The Government has undertaken to respond in writing to the reports of select committees, if possible, within two months of publication. Only in exceptional circumstances should a response be deferred for more than six months after the report’s publication. If it appears likely that a response may be received later than two months of publication, the department concerned should write to the Committee explaining the reasons and indicating the likely timetable.

Communications Committee UK advertising in a digital age (1st Report, HL Paper 116), (response due 11 June, response expected 30 June) [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport]

Citizenship and Civic Engagement Committee The Ties that Bind: Citizenship and Civic Engagement in the 21st Century (HL Paper 118), (response due 18 June, response expected 28 June) [Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government]


I hope this will have the desired salutary effect.  The fact that Departments have indicated when they expect to produce their belated responses – dates that are now in the public domain – is useful and Departments are unlikely to want to have a reputation for tardiness on the public record.

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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