The role of Parliament in scrutinising government has gained new prominence during the 2010-15 Parliament. The circumstances of coalition government together with developments such as Speaker Bercow’s increased propensity to grant Urgent Questions and high profile select committee inquiries on phone hacking, banking standards and tax avoidance have combined to keep the media spotlight on this important constitutional role.

This briefing note – based on literature review and the experience of parliamentary practitioners – looks at what we mean by scrutiny of government and where parliamentary scrutiny fits within the wider landscape. 

It explores the good and bad impacts scrutiny can have, what good scrutiny looks like and suggests a framework for assessing its impact.

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