Environmental Audit Committee
38.67The Environmental Audit Committee was first appointed in November 1997.1 Its role, set out in Standing Order No 152A, is to consider to what extent the policies and programmes of government departments and non-departmental public bodies contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development; to audit their performance against such targets as may be set for them by Ministers; and to report thereon. The Committee is appointed and nominated for the duration of a Parliament and consists of 16 members.
The Committee's two distinct duties of audit and scrutiny are reflected in its structure. The constitution is similar to that of the Committee of Public Accounts, reflecting its audit function: by convention, the Chair is drawn from the Opposition and its membership includes a Minister, in practice ex officio and non-attending. Its cross-government remit also distinguishes it from the departmentally-related select committees.
The Committee's day-to-day operation, however, is more akin to that of the departmentally-related committees than to the Committee of Public Accounts. It has the same powers and resources and operates under the same arrangements as the departmental committees, relying on government memoranda and reports rather than the reports of statutory officers.