In November 2013, the Committee on Standards recommended changes to the rules on the registration of all-party groups. The Committee's report is scheduled to be debated on 13 May 2014.Jump to full report >>
Several inquiries have been conducted in the past by the House of Commons (Services) Committee, the Administration Committee and the Committee on Standards and Privileges on All-Party Groups. Each inquiry has tried to address issues such as transparency, funding and the influence of these Groups. Particular attention has also been drawn to the rising numbers of APGs during each parliamentary session, and the effect this could have on the House and its facilities.
In November 2011 the Speakers of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons created a bicameral Working Group chaired by the former Leader of the House of Commons, Rt Hon Jack Straw, to examine these core issues. The Working Group held informal meetings with relevant Committee or APG Chairs; conducted surveys with current Members from both Houses and accepted written contributions from Members, Lords and other relevant organisations and groups. Both Speakers announced the publication of the Working Group Report in June 2012, they went on to confirm the recommendations would be submitted to the Standards and Privileges Committee, the Administration Committee and the Liaison Committee.
The Committee on Standards (successor to the Committee on Standards and Privileges) launched its inquiry into APGs as soon as it was established in January 2013.
Whilst the Committee’s inquiry was underway, the House of Commons Commission agreed to withdraw the passes of APG staff, following allegations that a Member was trying to set up an APG at the request of a political consultant.
In November 2013, the Committee on Standards’ report on APGs was published. It reviewed the role and regulation of APGs, their activities and also concerns about APGs. It recommended a revised regulatory regime and outlined key principles behind the rules.
The House is expected to debate a motion to approve the Committee’s report on 13 May 2014, to agree that Chairs of APGs are responsible for ensuring that groups comply with the rules on registration and to give the Committee on Standards some powers to amend the rules.
Commons Briefing papers SN06409
Authors: Richard Kelly; Siama Yousaf