Understanding what Parliament and its staff need from researchers and the academic community

The Transforming Evidence team headed to Westminster to find out they could do to make it easier for our legislators to apply evidence to decisions

05 . 02 . 2019

Over the past few months, we have been talking with decision-makers, funders, civic society and research colleagues about how to best progress this work. We have a number of opportunities to share in the near future, but we also feel it’s time for us to give something back.

A good opportunity to do that came with the House of Commons Liaison Committee inquiry into the effectiveness and influence of the select committee system.

We met with Paul Evans, the Clerk of the Committee, and several of the Librarians and staff from POST, to get a sense of what they felt the problems were, and what they needed to hear from the academic community.

The inquiry was asking about the work of select committees, their membership, witnesses and evidence, and working practices. We chose to address questions about:

  1. Are there any matters relating to the diversity and independence of select committee membership and chairs that should be addressed?
  2. Are committees getting the right evidence? What barriers are there to select committees getting the information they need?
  3. What is it like to give evidence either oral or written evidence to a committee? Is the experience appropriate for the different sorts of people and organisations committees invite to appear?
  4. What more can be done to encourage witness diversity and wider public engagement?
  5. Do select committees have the right resources to get the job done? Do they have access to the expert advice and commissioned research they need? How might they collaborate more effectively with the publicly-funded and charitable sector research bodies?

Our submission to the inquiry can be seen here.

Photo by Aron Van de Pol on Unsplash

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