How do I engage with the UK Parliament and how do parliaments work?

The main functions of parliaments which need expert input are the scrutiny of government policy and delivery, and the scrutiny and passing of legislation. Linked to this, there are several functions within the UK Parliament that would be valuable to engage with.

How does the UK Parliament work?

Resources from UK Parliament include:

Submitting evidence to a Select Committee

Select Committees scrutinise government work: policy design, delivery and spending. They do this through inquiries. Inquiries seek evidence and expertise from academics and researchers, and professionals. Evidence can be submitted as written evidence or oral evidence (directly to the committee). Written submission is often the first stage of contributing to an inquiry. Based on the submission you may then be contacted to provide oral evidence.

Resources from UK Parliament include:

Houses of Parliament Libraries

The House of Commons and the House of Lords have teams of researchers who provide written briefings for parliamentarians to use. They often focus on upcoming debates or current issues.

They are a valuable source of research and analysis which help to inform parliamentary debates, discussion and decisions. The libraries are interested in relevant research to inform their research briefings and debate packs:

The libraries also offer placements for DPhil students and early career researchers. Available opportunities can be found here on our Opportunities page.

Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) provides a similar function to the libraries: they provide research briefings to parliamentarians, but focus on scientific areas. The main difference is that they often have a longer horizon in their research, focusing on issues that may come up in the next few years, rather than the next few weeks.

Broadly speaking, the research that POST conducts fits into four teams or ‘work programmes’:

  • Biology and Health
  • Energy and Environment
  • Physical and digital science
  • Social science

POST regularly looks to engage with experts on the research briefings that they are developing. You can consult the most recent topics for collaboration, as well as their broader list of notes.

POST also offer placements for DPhil students and early career researchers. Available opportunities can be found here on our Opportunities page.

All Party Parliamentary Groups

Member of the House of Commons and the House of Lords have set up subject specific groups which look to develop thinking on their area of interest. As a more informal grouping, the ways in which you can engage with these All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) may differ. Some may prefer written briefings for members, some may prefer you to attend an APPG meeting or even host a visit of members.

The best way to engage with an APPG is through their secretariat. You can consult the most up-to-date list of APPGs and their secretariat contact details

UK Devolved legislatures

The UK is made up of several nations, each of which has a devolved government and parliament. The devolved legislatures also have functions which researchers and academics can engage with.

UK Parliament, Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly:

COVID-19 Areas of Research Interest

In October 2020 the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology published 20 COVID-19 Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) for the UK Parliament. Each ARI comes with a series of questions aiming to further break down each broad area. The ARIs focus on the impacts of the global pandemic and range from economic recovery and growth, to surveillance and data collection, long-term mental health effects, education, vaccine development, and the NHS.

See also Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) for the UK Government

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