The Forum short course, part 2: Engaging with Parliament as a researcher

Engaging with Parliament

In part 2 of The Forum’s short course, we look at how researchers can engage with Parliament. We discuss the role of Parliament and opportunities for researchers to engage with select committees and all-party parliamentary groups. We also hear from Dr Julia Makinde about her experience of the Royal Society Pairing Scheme.

Parliament is made up of the House of Commons and House of Lords. It is responsible for making laws and scrutinising the Government.

The UK public elects 650 MPs to represent their interests in the House of Commons. MPs consider and propose new laws, and can scrutinise government policies by asking ministers questions about current issues either in the Commons Chamber or in Committees.

The House of Lords is the second chamber of the UK Parliament. It shares the task of making laws and scrutinising the work of the government. Members of the House of Lords are called Peers. They are not elected, but instead appointed. 

How to engage with Parliament

A good way to start is to find out more about MPs’ interests and Peers’ interests by looking at their individual webpages, which include their Select Committee membership and questions they have tabled. It is also a good idea to research whether your interest is relevant to particular issues in any MPs' constituencies.

There are a range of opportunities for scientists to undertake placements and work directly with Parliamentarians:

Tools for engaging with MPs and Peers

The tools below can help you to build long-term relationships with Parliamentarians. It is helpful to translate your research into an accessible and tailored format for readers, who may not be experts in your field of research.

Policy briefings

A policy briefing is a short note that summarises your research and the policies of actions you want to recommend is a good starting point. To find out more about how to write a policy briefing, please see our 'Writing a policy briefing' page.

Submitting evidence

Parliament will regularly call for evidence on current public policy priority areas. If you would like to find out more about responding to these calls, please see our 'Submitting evidence' page.

Contacting MPs and Peers

Get in touch with The Forum team if you would like to use your policy briefing or evidence submission to initiate contact with a relevant MP or Peer.

houses of parliament

Engaging with Parliamentary Select Committees

Select Committees in the House of Commons are charged with overseeing the work of a government department. Departmental Select Committees examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the principal government departments. They do this through inquiries, which involve inviting written submissions, hearing oral evidence and publishing a report to which the government must respond.

Lords Select Committees do not shadow the work of government departments. They consider specialist subjects in six main areas: Europe, science, economics, communications, the UK constitution and international relations. The Lords Science and Technology Committee is particularly well respected and its reports will invariably be debated in the House and receive a written response from the government.

If you think a Select Committee should be considering a particular issue, get in touch with The Forum team.

Open Parliamentary Select Committees calls

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

Forced labour in UK value chains - closes 23/10/2020

Decarbonising heat in homes - closes 13/11/2020

Democracy and Digital Technologies Committee

Currently no inquiries.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Currently no inquiries.

Economic Affairs Committee

Employment and COVID-19 - closes 11/12/2020

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Tree Planting and Woodlands - closes 19/11/2020

Environmental Audit Committee

Fixing Fashion: Follow Up - closes 13/11/2020

Food, Poverty, Health, and the Environment Committee

Currently no inquiries. 

Foreign Affairs Committee

Closes on 30/10/2020

Xinjiang detention camps

Health and Social Care Committee

Public Accounts Committee

Closes on 15/10/2020

Starter Homes

Closes on 29/10/2020

Covid-19: The Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

Science and Technology Committee

 

Closes on 11/09/2020

The role of technology, research and innovation in the COVID-19 recovery | See here

Transport Committee

Coronavirus: implications for transport | See here - closes 29/10/2020

Treasury Committee

Currently no inquiries. 

 

 

Engaging with All-Party Parliamentary Groups

All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament but are critical to building networks with relevant people interested in your research topic.

They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.

Many APPGs cover either a subject, for example aerospace, medical research or digital currencies, or a country of common interest. MPs and peers of any party can join. APPG members meet regularly to discuss the particular issue of concern. APPGs can be very receptive to contacts with outside bodies and individuals, and can provide a forum for well- informed discussion and analysis.

You can find the APPG most closely aligned with you research on the online register. Each APPG has their own page on which you will find the secretariat contact and upcoming meetings and topics. Get in touch with the secretariat to find out more about what the group is interested in, how your research can contribute and how you can get involved. Meetings are public so anybody can attend and it is a good idea to go along to get a sense of how the group works and meet some members informally. The Forum bulletin will also include all relevant upcoming APPG meetings.

Attending APPG meetings

APPG meetings are free and available to attend for everyone – you may have to register in advance though.

  • Check with the secretariat beforehand, this is also a good opportunity to build a relationship with them.
  • They will also coordinate the speakers for each meeting so more longer term, you could think about whether it would be useful for you to speak on your research findings.
  • When attending meetings, be proactive and always look for new opportunities to make contacts.
  • Keep up to date with the latest policy developments and re-initiate conversations to maintain relationships. The Forum bulletin can help you keep abreast of opportunities and developments.

All-Party Parliamentary Groups

Upcoming APPG meetings

Monday 12 October

APPG ON VALPROATE AND OTHER ANTI-EPIEPTIC DRUGS IN PREGNANCY
17:00 Virtual Zoom
Please contact Cat Smith on cat.smith.mp@parliament.uk for more information

Tuesday 13 October

APPG FOR FAIR FUEL UK MOTORISTS AND HAULIERS
14:00 Virtual Zoom
Parliamentary contact: craig.mackinlay.mp@parliament.uk

APPG ON THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION EVENT
15:00 Virtual Zoom
With the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer - Anneliese Dodds MP, in conversation with the Chief Executive of MakeUK - Stephen Phipson CBE
Contact Alan.Mak.MP@Parliament.uk

APPG FOR WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE (WASH)
15:00 Virtual Zoom
Officer positions are available. Please email dan.peacock@parliament.uk if you are interested in becoming a member or an officer
To join the meeting https://parliament-uk.zoom.us/j/63457276916 Meeting ID: 634 5727 6916 Passcode: 098166

APPG ON GLOBAL HEALTH
15:30 Virtual
Anaesthesiologists are at the forefront of global response to COVID-19 and yet, 5 out of the world’s 7 billion people continue to lack access to safe and affordable anaesthesia and surgical care. A major contributing factor to this anaesthesia crisis is the chronic lack of skilled clinicians. Timed to celebrate World Anaesthesia Day 2020, this webinar brings together leading international experts to discuss solutions to the anaesthesia crisis. Guest Speakers Lord Nigel Crisp (Chair) Dr Jannicke Mellin-Olsen, World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists Prof Jean-marie Dangou, NCD Coordinator, WHO-AFRO, Dr Mpoki Ulisubisya, President of CANECSA, Tanzanian ambassador to Canada, Dr Christopher Chanda, National Coordinator of Anaesthesia at the Ministry of Health in Zambia, Dr Isabeau Walker, Foundation Trustee, The Association of Anaesthetists, Dr Mary Nabukenya (paeds), Uganda and Dr Andrew Kintu (obs), Uganda
Registration to join: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2403970433569173772 Contact crisp@parliament.uk for further information.

APPG FOR FIT AND HEALTHY CHILDHOOD
16:00 Virtual
Theme: ‘Impact of the pandemic on children in their early years and their service providers’ Speakers: Harriet Waldegrave, Senior Public Affairs and Policy Analyst, Children's Commissioner's Office Paul Thompson, Owner of Water Babies, Patrick Myers, official at DWP working on the perinatal period and parental conflict. Also, a Commissioner for the CSJ/Fabian Society Early Years Commission
Please contact bethanm.jones@parliament.uk for meeting link etc.

APPG FOR BUSINESS IN A PANDEMIC (COVID) WORLD
16:00 Virtual Zoom
On behalf of Paul Holmes, MP the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Business in a Pandemic (Covid) World invites you to attend: Getting our travel industry up and running again Perspectives and discussions from the sector. The virtual event will be an opportunity to hear from business leaders from a range of organisations discussing the challenges and responses created by the Covid Pandemic
Please contact: Emma Salisbury: emmac.salisbury@ parliament.uk

APPG FOR THE PACKAGING MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY
16:00 Virtual
To register for this online meeting please contact mark.pawsey.mp@parliament.uk

Wednesday 14 October

APPG FOR ETHICS & SUSTAINABILITY
10:00 Virtual Zoom
An evidence session on climate change
Contact younglo@parliament.uk

APPG ON AIR POLLUTION
10:00 Virtual Zoom
Environment Bill with Rebecca Pow. An in-depth discussion of the Bill with Minister Pow, Prof Stephen Holgate and Prof Elouise Scotford
For further information or to RSVP email: nicole.zandi@parliament.uk

APPG ON NUCLEUR ENERGY
10:00 Virtual Zoom
The meeting will be a briefing from Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, Managing Director of EDF Energy on Sizewell C and Hinkley Point C
Contact LIDDELLI@parliament.uk

APPG ON LIMITS TO GROWTH
14:00 Virtual Zoom
A private online event with the renowned US economist Stephanie Kelton to discuss the question of how government deficit should be managed in the wake of the corona virus crisis
Contact caroline.lucas.mp@parliament.uk

APPG JOINT FIRE SAFETY & RESCUE TOGETHER WITH LEASEHOLD AND COMMONHOLD REFORM
14:30 Virtual Zoom
‘Cladding Issues - Building Safety and Leasehold Reform’ Speakers: Sir David Amess MP, Lord Greenhalgh, Minister of State for MHCLG and the Home Office, Sir Robert Neill MP and Michael Mansfield QC. Kindly note spaces are limited. RSVP to The Office of Sir Peter Bottomley MP Katherine O’ Riordan m
07877 344850 katherine.oriordan@parliament.uk If you are interested in joining either Group, or you would like further information, do please get in touch

APPG ON ENERGY COSTS
16:00 Virtual Zoom
Three speakers from Ofgem: Akshay Kaul, Director of Price Controls James Veaney, Head of RIIO2 policy Eleanor Warburton, Deputy Director of Electricity System Operator and Gas Networks Please contact margaret.murray@parliament.uk for meeting link etc

Thursday 15 October

APPG FOR GAMBLING RELATED HARM
09:00 Virtual Zoom
This session will look at Children and Gambling
For further information and joining details please contact Jo Lloyd lloydjb@parliament.uk

APPG FOR MARINE ENERGY
15:00 Virtual Zoom
Richard Graham MP, Chair of the APPG for Marine Energy, invites you to the Group’s next meeting to discuss the opportunities for the wave and tidal stream renewable energy sector from the Energy White Paper
RSVP to daniel.seamarks@parliament.uk