House of Lords: Select Committees

(asked on 6th March 2024) - View Source


To ask His Majesty's Government what is their policy on civil servants giving evidence to House of Lords committees, and under what circumstances a request for such evidence may be declined.

Answered by
Lord True Portrait
Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
This question was answered on 19th March 2024

The Government, including the Civil Service, is committed to being as accommodating as possible when requests are made by Select Committees. The Cabinet Office has dedicated guidance for Civil Servants about giving evidence to House of Lords Select Committees. Officials will always carefully consider requests to give evidence. When they do accept such invitations, they require Ministerial agreement and are there to represent the Minister's views.

In the event that a Select Committee requests a named civil servant from a department and the department feels that they are not the most appropriate person to represent the Minister, the department has the right to suggest an alternative to the Committee. There may be rare examples where the Department and Ministers feel an official is unable to attend, but the guidance is clear that if a Department considers it is unable to meet any requests from the Select Committee, they should inform the Committee as soon as practicably possible and set out the reasons why.

As Leader of the House of Lords, I have made it clear to my Ministerial Colleagues, that Ministers in both Houses should make every effort to facilitate Select Committee requests, including evidence session attendance.

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