Public Bill Committees
What are Public Bill Committees?
After the second reading of a bill, it is customary for the bill to be referred to a public bill
committee for further scrutiny.
Committees are named after the relevant Bill, e.g. the Equality Bill Committee. This makes it
clear that the Committee is established purely to consider a particular bill.
Further information can be found through the House of Commons Information Office
Factsheets, Legislative Series:
Public Bill Committees have the power to receive written evidence from outside
organisations and members of the public, and to take oral evidence from interested parties, in
the same way as Select Committees do, as part of their consideration of the Bill.
Anyone can submit written evidence to a Public Bill Committee. Further information on how
to submit evidence is available.
Once the Committee has sat for the last time, no more evidence can be received.
The written evidence that the Committee decides to publish will be available on the internet
as soon as possible after the Committee has started sitting, and will also be printed in hard
copy at the end of the Committee's deliberations.
Public Bill Committees normally take oral evidence at the start of proceedings, starting with
evidence from the relevant Minister or Ministers and Departmental officials.
Further witnesses may also be called, in a programme which will be agreed by the Committee
at its first meeting. These are likely to include related agencies, interested non-governmental
organisations and lobby groups and even individuals with an interest.
If you think you or your organisation should be considered to give evidence to a Public Bill
Committee, your first point of contact should be the Departmental officials responsible for
Contacting government departments
All meetings of Public Bill Committees take place in public, except for a brief private session
in which MPs on the committee discuss the line of questioning to witnesses.
Meetings will be recorded by Hansard, with the official record available the following day in
hard copy and on the Parliamentary website.
Anyone can attend to watch proceedings, and no notice need be given. Please note that seats
cannot be reserved.
Attending a Public Bill Committee evidence session
Debating the Bill
After the Committee has taken oral evidence, it goes through the bill, debating each clause of
the Bill and any amendments proposed to the text. Once the Committee has gone through the
Bill, it reports the Bill - in its amended form, if changes have been made - back to the House.
How Parliament works - Public Bills
Public Bills before Parliament currently under consideration by Public Bill Committees.