A NEW standing committee system for running the legislature could be introduced if a proposal from the Democratic Party is passed. The council's largest political party wants to merge the chamber's two major bodies - the panels and bills committees - into various standing committees in an attempt to improve the executive-legislative relationship. Under the proposal put forward by party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming, there would be a new panel to mirror each of the 15 government policy branches, with no cap on the number of potential panel members. However, each legislator would be permitted to chair no more than one panel. The plan, which will be discussed by Legco's House Committee tomorrow, suggests each of the new panels would be responsible both for scrutinising specific bills and for monitoring government policy and activities within its jurisdiction. 'The system would encourage greater co-operation between Legco and the Government and make the executive more accountable to the elected representative of the people,' Mr Lee said in a council paper yesterday. Under the current system, bills committees are on an ad hoc basis. Once a bills committee completes its task on particular legislation, it is dissolved. Meanwhile, Legco panels scrutinise government policies and activities. Mr Lee also proposed that when reviewing bills, the new panels be able to give advice on amendments while preserving the rights of non-committee members to introduce amendments at regular Legco sittings. The present two-tier structure hampered legislators' scrutiny of government policy and bills. The proposed system would save time and resources as well as make legislators more effective.