PPS' can sit on Select Committees but must avoid "associating themselves with recommendations critical of, or embarrassing to the Government", and must not make statements or ask questions on matters affecting their minister's department. As a part of this, the PPS in the Department for Communities and Local Government, the PPS is prevented from being involved with making planning decisions or in the consideration of planning cases.
PPSes are not members of the government, ie, the cabinet, and all efforts are made to avoid these positions being referred to as such. They are instead considered more simply as normal Members, however their close confidence with ministers does impose obligations on every PPS. The guidelines surrounding the divulging of information to PPSs are rigid.
PPSes are expected to act as part of the payroll vote, voting in line with the government on every division, and regarded as members of the government for purposes of collective responsibility. Similarly, they must not appear as a representative for any special policies.
When on official Departmental business, PPSes' travel and subsistence allowances are paid out of government funds, as with formal members of the government. This makes the PPS the only type of unpaid advisor who receives reimbursement in the course of their duty.
As a last resort for ministers who must pull out of an event for whatever reason, a PPS may stand in for the minister at the event. This will only happen in exceptional circumstances and must be justified by the minister in charge of the department. If this event is overseas it again requires the Prime Minister's consent.
The use of PPSs has in the past been a source of comedy as seen in the series, Yes Minister:
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