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Ecc Reports: Publicity

Volume 593: debated on Thursday 3 September 1998

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asked the Leader of the House:Whether the reports of the House of Lords' Select Committee on the European Communities receive adequate publicity and are circulated widely enough; and, if not, what action she intends to take to increase publicity for and increase circulation of the reports.

The Select Committee on the Committee work of the House (the "Jellicoe Committee") considered these questions in its report (HL Paper 35—I, Session 1991–92). The committee recommended that there should be greater promotion of European Communities Committee reports (paragraph 143) and that committees generally should do more to encourage coverage of their reports (paragraphs 159–161).These recommendations have been actively pursued. The role of the Information Officer, appointed in October 1996, includes the provision of advice and assistance to committees. She has introduced new procedures for dissemination of press information. Since the start of the present Session the text of all reports has been available to the Internet (http://www.parliament.uk). These initiatives have met with considerable success in relation to some reports, but it must be emphasised that some reports on important but technical subjects are unlikely to attract wide coverage except in the specialist press. The European Communities Committee and its Chairman are keen to secure increased publicity for its reports, and the committee and its staff continue actively to seek to ensure that the publication of reports is made widely known and that copies reach those who are likely to be influential in the European legislative process. In particular, in recent years the committee has made increased use of contacts within the Commission and within the other national parliaments of the European Union. The committee's participation, since 1989, in the Conference of European Affairs Committees (COSAC) has ensured that the committee's reports are circulated widely among the national parliaments and governments of the other member states.