Head of Scrutiny Unit, Committee Office, House of Commons
I was born in Shropshire and read English at Balliol College, Oxford. I joined the House of Commons service in 1987. Since then I have worked on several select committees, including over six years as clerk of the Education Committee in the 1990s, and in procedural offices, dealing with legislation in the Public Bill Office and parliamentary questions and motions in the Table Office. I spent 2001-2004 on secondment to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, heading its parliamentary relations and devolution department. From October 2004 to 2006 I was Clerk of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, an all-party committee of 14 MPs which monitors the work of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Since October 2006 I have been head of the Scrutiny Unit in the House of Commons. The Unit provides specialist help to select committees in the scrutiny of the Government’s financial and performance reporting and draft bills, and in particular provides support for ad hoc joint committees on draft bills. The Unit supports the evidence-taking work of Public Bill Committees. It also carries out other work for committees as resources permit.
The Scrutiny Unit has 19 staff. They include two legal specialists, a statistician, four financial analysts (two from the National Audit Office), an economist and a Home Affairs/Public Policy Specialist. In addition, there is a core team of the Head of Unit and two Deputy Heads (Finance and Legislation), an assistant clerk and six support staff.