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Scrutiny Unit

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many people were employed by the Scrutiny Unit, in each year since its inception broken down by (a) age, (b) sex and (c) grade; and if he will make a statement. (97871)

The Scrutiny Unit was set up in the autumn of 2002 and did not reach full strength till late 2003. The unit comprises a mixture of permanent staff and people recruited from outside, either on secondment or on short-term contracts. Information on staffing is set out in the following tables. Information about age is summarised in broad age bands to protect the privacy of the individuals.

Individual staff by sex and pay band

Male

Female

Total

October 2006

SCS Band 1

1

0

1

Band A

3

4

7

Band B

0

4

4

Band C

1

3

4

Band D

1

0

1

Total

6

11

17

November 2005

SCS Band 1

1

0

1

Band A

1

7

8

Band B

0

2

2

Band C

0

1

1

Band D

1

0

1

Total

3

10

13

November 2004

SCS Band 1

1

0

1

Band A

2

1

3

Band B

4

6

10

Band C

0

2

2

Band D

1

0

1

Total

8

9

17

November 2003

SCS Band 1

1

1

2

Band A

2

1

3

Band B

2

3

5

Band C

0

3

3

Band D

1

0

1

Total

6

8

14

Age Ranges

October 2006

November 2005

November 2004

November 2003

20-29

4

3

6

5

30-39

9

5

6

5

40-49

2

3

3

3

50-59

0

1

2

1

60-65

1

0

0

0

Unknown

1

1

0

0

Total

17

13

17

14

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will list the (a) projects undertaken and (b) reports issued by the Scrutiny Unit in each Session since the Unit's inception; and if he will make a statement. (97872)

Major projects undertaken by the Scrutiny Unit in each session from 2002-03 to date (except where a particular session is indicated) have included:

Staffing of joint committees on draft bills (draft Civil Contingencies, Corruption and Mental Incapacity Bills 2002-03; draft Charities, Disability Discrimination, Gambling and Mental Health Bills 2003-04; draft Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill 2004-05; draft Legal Services Bill 2005-06).

Assisting select committees and the Joint Committee on Human Rights with the scrutiny of draft bills and associated Regulatory Impact Assessments (draft Electricity (Trading and Transmission), Gender Recognition and Housing Bills 2002-03; draft Animal Welfare, Criminal Defence Service, Regional Assemblies and School Transport Bills 2003-04; draft Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill 2004-05; draft Corporate Manslaughter and Coroners Bills 2005-06).

Assisting all departmental select committees with scrutiny of Departmental Reports, Estimates and Supplementary Estimates and resource accounts, and advising on best practice on content of Departmental Reports and Estimates Memoranda.

Assisting select committees and the Joint Committee on Human Rights with committee inquiries (the work ranging from contributions to briefing to the carrying out of whole inquiries).

Supporting the Parliamentary Observer on the Financial Reporting Advisory Board (FRAB).

Conducting an inquiry into the financial and performance management of the Electoral Commission for the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission (session 2005-06).

Provision of training to Members, their staff and staff of both Houses on topics such as Estimates, Resource Accounts, Departmental Reports and Handling Statistics.

Scrutiny of draft bills sometimes continues from one session to another; the sessions given here are when scrutiny began.

The work undertaken by the Scrutiny Unit from its inception in November 2002 to the end of 2004 is described in appendices to the Liaison Committee's annual reports:

First Report, 2003-04, HC 446, Appendix 3

(http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmliaisn/446/44613.htm);

First Report, 2004-05, HC 419, Appendix 4

(http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmliaisn/419/41914.htm

I am placing in the Library a full list of tasks carried out from the unit's inception to date.

The unit does not issue reports. However, a paper by the unit reviewing departmental reports for 2005 was reported to the House by the Liaison Committee on 12 May 2006 and is on the Liaison Committee's website:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmselect/cmliaisn/review/revo2.htm.

Further information can be found on the Scrutiny Unit’s own website:

http://www. parliament.uk/about_commons/scrutinyunit.cfm.