In this section we reflect on the different ways in which Parliament ‘scrutinises’ the work of Government and the State. Scrutiny, and the associated concept of accountability, have become more and more prominent in the work of Parliament in the last half-century. It might, superficially, be thought that the increased emphasis on ‘scrutiny’ is a consequence of the diminished significance of other roles, reflecting a decline in the power and prestige of Parliament. That may be an over-simplification but it does give us a clue to the meaning of ‘scrutiny’ in the Parliamentary context because it draws on what scrutiny is not. It is not to control, but to review; not to countermand, but to comment; not to command to do, but to invite to reflect. It is logically dependent upon action taken, policy announced or intended – even the apparent exception of pre-legislative scrutiny is the scrutiny of a document (the draft bill) produced by the government.
KeywordsPrime Minister Select Committee Question Time Parliamentary Commissioner Supplementary Question
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 2.A. L. Lowell, The Government of England. 1919, Vol 1, p. 332Google Scholar
- D. N. Chester and N. Bowring, Questions in Parliament. Clarendon Press, 1962, p. 269.Google Scholar
- 3.Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967. For an authoritative history of the Office, see Roy Gregory and Philip Giddings, The Ombudsman, the Citizen and Parliament. Politico’s, 2002.Google Scholar
- 4.See W. B. Gwyn, ‘The British PCA: Ombudsman or Ombudsmouse?’, Journal of Politics. 35, 1973.Google Scholar
- 10.Philip Collcutt and Mary Hourihan, Review of the Public Sector Ombudsmen in England. Cabinet Office, April 2000; Third Report from the Select Committee on Public Administration, 1999–2000, HC 612, July 2000.Google Scholar
- 21.See Mark Franklin and Philip Norton, Eds. Parliamentary Question. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), pp. 52–59.Google Scholar
- 23.See Procedure Committee, Parliamentary Questions. Third Report of Session 2001–02, HC 622, TSO, 2002.Google Scholar