During recent years an increasing proportion of the work of the House of Commons has been centred on its select committees. Unlike the standing committees, which are appointed solely to consider specific Bills or statutory instruments and are not able to call witnesses, the select committees are appointed by resolution of the whole House usually for the lifetime of a Parliament and with wide terms of reference giving the committees a continuing role in the activity of the House. Some of the select committees supervise the facilities and administrative arrangements of the House itself, including the arrangements for sound broadcasting; other select committees play a general role with regard to legislative proposals, such as the select committees on Statutory Instruments or the joint committee (with the House of Lords) on Consolidation Bills. This chapter is less concerned with the work of these particular select committees compared with the long-established Committees on Privileges and on Public Accounts, the Select Committee on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, and the new department-related select committees. In general terms, however, all select committees have the same form of operation, no matter how widely their activities may vary in accordance with their terms of reference and subjects of inquiry.
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