Week ahead

This is a week where some of the most significant action could prove to be on the committee corridor - whether it's policy, key quango appointments or scrutiny of draft bills, the select committees could exert some real leverage in hearings this week.

Monday in the Commons begins (at 2.30pm) with questions to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and his team - and we can probably expect a statement from David Cameron on the G20 summit - and possibly one from Nick Clegg who's been representing Britain at the Rio +20 Climate Change summit.

Then MPs turn to their second day of consideration of the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill. This is being held on the floor of the House, rather than in a Public Bill Committee, because it's a measure with constitutional implications. The day ends with 30 minute adjournment debate on Policing in Devon and Cornwall, led by Lib Dem Dan Rogerson.

On the committee corridor, the National Security Strategy Joint Committee (at 4.30pm), an uber-committee of very senior parliamentarians quizzes the Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, about how his work dovetails with the UK's national security.

The spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee (at 3.15pm) looks at Assurance for High Risk Projects, such as the introduction of large IT systems, the construction of ships and helicopters and major changes to how services are delivered - a long running source of complaints. A report by the National Audit Office found that the changes that government has made to the central assurance system for such projects - in particular, the launch of the Major Projects Authority - have resulted in some significant impacts. However, the system is not yet 'built to last'.

In the Lords, proceedings begin with the introduction of a new occupant of the bishops' bench, the Rt Rev Dr John Inge, Bishop of Worcester. Then peers continue their detailed committee stage scrutiny of the Crime and Courts Bill.

On Tuesday, the Commons opens with questions to the Chancellor, George Osborne, before MPs debate two Opposition Day motions, on the NHS and on defence.

The Home Affairs Committee (at 11.15am) has invited Police Minister Nick Herbert to give evidence before Tom Winsor's pre-appointment hearing for the post of HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary. He will be questioned on the government's reasons for selecting Mr Winsor - a very controversial choice for a post which usually goes to a former Chief Constable - and the future role of HM Inspectorate. Committee chair, Keith Vaz, said: "The Committee feels that it will be most helpful to hear from Mr Herbert about why the government believes that Mr Winsor is the right person for the job. The minister has made a number of public statements and it would be good to have these expended before we hear from Mr Winsor."

With a clutch of major public sector appointments due, including the governor of the Bank of England and the Director General of the BBC, several select committees are pushing for full powers to approve or veto the candidates.

The Foreign Affairs Committee (time TBC) will take oral evidence on British policy on the future of the EU from Sir Howard Davies, who has a glittering CV as a former director of the London School of Economics, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Director-General of the CBI. Senior politicians including Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, will give evidence later in the inquiry

The Transport Committee (at 10.05am) quizzes an eminent panel of journalists who know the rail sector well - Christian Wolmar, Nigel Harris and John Nelson - on Rail 2020, the report by Sir Roy McNulty on improving efficiency in the rail industry and the government's proposals for reform, fares and decentralisation. In the light of what McNulty and other witnesses said at the first session, that the public subsidy cost of the railways now is no less than in 1996 at privatisation, the proceedings could make uncomfortable listening for ministers.

The Health Committee (at 10.30am) holds its second session on how on earth we pay for social care of disabled and elderly people - this time with a the focus on what is happening now, as money runs out in face of escalating demographic pressure....

The witnesses will be front line local authorities. This is one of the biggest long-term challenges confronting politics and the committee could be at least as influential in efforts to broker a long-term political agreement as it was over the coalition's NHS reforms.

The Defence Committee (at 2.30pm) talks to two heavyweight journos, Rob Fox and Francis Tusa, on how we are going to get out of Afghanistan.

In the Lords, peers warm up with questions about dentistry, international child poverty figures and the Rio+20 summit, before embarking on the marathon committee stage of the Financial Services Bill - which is expected to occupy eight days on the floor of the House (peers having rejected the idea of consigning it to Grand Committee).

The Treasury Minister, Lord Sassoon, will be batting for the government. Meanwhile in Grand Committee (at 3.30pm) there will be detailed debate on the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill - the bill that attempts to curb alleged squeezing of farmers by big monopoly buyers, including the big supermarket chains.

Wednesday in the Commons begins (at 11.30am) with questions to the Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan, with questions to the PM at (high) noon.

Then MPs polish off their consideration of the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill, with the end of the report stage and third reading. Again, the government is providing rather more time than used to be allocated for this kind of detailed debate.

More than six months after his appointment, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey makes his debut before his departmental committee (at 2.05pm) to talk about the Draft Energy Bill - this is supposed to provide a secure new financial framework to encourage investors to put money into new power stations, and the committee is concerned about several issues. In particular, the Lib Dem, Mr Davey, can expect criticism of what Committee chair Tim Yeo calls the "contortions" in the bill over whether it subsidises nuclear power - something the Lib Dems have promised to avoid. The committee is also keen to speak to a Treasury minister about the financial guarantees offered in the bill - and is rather miffed not to get one. Perhaps that has something to do with the monstering it handed out to Chloe Smith over feed-in tariffs last year. We may get some early feedback from this session in Thursday's Commons debate (see below).

Elsewhere, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (at 2.30pm) will be taking evidence on air quality issues in England and Wales, including a focus on air quality in London in the run up to the Olympics. The session will explore national and London performance against EU and national air quality targets....and why the Commission is now almost bound to refer them to the European Court of Justice for non-compliance and a whopping fine.

The Defence Committee (at 2.30pm) turns its attention to Cyber Security - the witnesses are the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and James Quinault, cirector, Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance, Cabinet Office.

The Education Committee (at 9.30am) is spotlighting school behaviour, in a follow up session to its report on the issue, last year. The committee made clear recommendations, and its members will be looking for progress on some of these or clear justification for any lack of progress. The main witness, at about 10.30am, is Schools Minister Nick Gibb.

The Lords convene at 3pm - for questions ranging from young people's understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood to the levels of discrimination against members of the armed forces. Then peers turn, briefly, to the report stage of the European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Bill, the measure to approve EU treaty changes relating to a stability mechanism for euro-zone states. Then peers move on to the Crime and Courts Bill which creates the National Crime Agency - this will be day four of seven allocated for detailed committee stage scrutiny.

Thursday in the Commons is dominated by backbench business debates. But first (at 10.30am) there are questions to the Transport Secretary, Justine Greening. Then there's a backbench debate led by the Conservative Laura Sandys, on how tax measures could be used to strengthen the green economy followed by a motion calling for a minister for older people to be appointed.

That debate follows on from the Grey Pride campaign and a supporting petition which has received more than 100,000 signatures - the campaign argues that responsibility for older people's issues is scattered across at least five government departments, and that a co-ordinated, integrated approach is needed. The debate will be led by the Conservative Penny Mordaunt.

On the committee corridor, the big event is the Business, Innovation and Skills session (at 9.20am) on executive pay, with star guest the Secretary of State Vince Cable. His announcement on curbing unjustified executive pay awards will be probed by committee members.

In the wake of the Rio+20 summit on climate change and environmental issues, the Energy and Climate Change Committee will hear the verdict of John Ashton, the outgoing UK Special Representative for Climate Change, at 10.05am; and the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee (at 10am) will examine the case for a Constitutional Convention for the UK, to respond to pressure for more devolution across the nations and the regions - they'll take evidence from Peter Facey, of the pressure group Unlock Democracy.

In the Lords (from 11am) peers open with questions on deficit reduction and official support for Armed Forces Day, before moving on to a series of backbench debates. The Conservative Lord Cormack leads a debate on the future of English cathedrals. The Liberal Democrat Lord Addington raises the question of education and training for those with hidden disabilities - and that is followed by a short debate on support for people with dementia led by Labour's Lord Touhig.

The Commons is not sitting on Friday, but peers will be in action to consider David Steel's House of Lords (Cessation of Membership) Bill.

This is his latest attempt to tidy up some of the worst anomalies in the composition of the Lords - and the new title of the bill should rule out any attempt to bolt on wider reforms. He will allow peers to retire (at the moment they are members for life) and be expelled if they are convicted of a serious criminal offence. That is followed by the second reading of the Conservative, Lord Ribeiro's Smoke-free Private Vehicles Bill.

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