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Liaison Committee Report

Volume 805: debated on Wednesday 29 July 2020

Motion to Agree

Moved by

That the Report from the Select Committee New special inquiry committees 2020–21 (2nd Report, HL Paper 102) be agreed to.

My Lords, I beg to move that the Second Report of the Liaison Committee be agreed to. I am once again very grateful indeed to all the Members of the House who put forward proposals for new special inquiry committees. The Liaison Committee has had an excellent range of topics to choose from—24 in total—and the proposals underlined the range and breadth of expertise in your Lordships’ House. The Liaison Committee always has a difficult task in choosing which committees to recommend, and this year was no exception.

The process through which that choice is made has been modified for this year, as a result of Member feedback and changes agreed during the review of committees. A new stage in the decision-making of the Liaison Committee has been introduced, at which each Member who has succeeded in having their proposal shortlisted for further scoping was invited to attend and make their case to the committee. These exchanges with Members promoting individual topics were vital in informing our decision-making.

I hope all will agree that the committee’s initial recommendations cover subjects which will make excellent use of Members’ talents and contribute to debate and policy-making in highly topical and cross-cutting areas. Our timescales for decision-making and appointment have also been modified, as a result of the parliamentary response to Covid-19 and the extension of reporting deadlines for previous special inquiries. We are proposing two committees for appointment in the report before the House today, but intend to revisit this and potentially recommend further committees for appointment before the end of the year.

We agreed the following proposals for special inquiry committees: first, National Plan for Sport and Recreation, proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan; and, secondly, Risk Assessment and Risk Planning, proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Rees of Ludlow.

As the report details, the UK is due to host several large international sporting events in the coming years, and the 10th anniversary of the London Olympics is also on the horizon. Sport will be at the forefront of many headlines, and a committee with this focus will be topical and of public interest. The committee could examine issues including the strategy-making of Sport England, the part played by the Government in delivering sport and recreation, and the role of national governing bodies.

An inquiry focused upon risk is highly pertinent given our current circumstances, and would allow an opportunity to focus upon the risk identification process, risk ownership, the national risk assessment and risk register, and the work of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat.

We considered all proposals received against our published set of criteria, considering which could: make best use of the knowledge and experience of Members of the House; complement the work of Commons departmental Select Committees; address areas of policy that cross departmental boundaries; and confine the proposed inquiry to one Session.

The committee took care and time in coming to its conclusions. I hope the House will agree with me that our initial recommendations will provide a timely and manageable set of inquiries. I end on a note of gratitude for the work of all our committees. The enthusiasm with which Members from all sides of the House approach this aspect of our work is exemplary. We should all be proud of their work. In that vein, I beg to move.

Motion agreed.