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This section contains information about how government works and our events to engage with lawmakers.






Sanctuary in Parliament 2018

Please save the date: Sanctuary in Parliament 2018 will be held on Monday 12th November in the Atlee Suite, Portcullis House, Westminster.

Details of how to book and how to apply for help with travel costs will be updated here and sent out via our newsletter (you can sign up here if you don’t already receive it).

UK Parliament – How laws are made in the UK from the UK Parliament website

What MPs do from the Parliament website

They Work for You – a website to help you access data about your MP and their voting record

Use Your Voice – Information about elections and voting systems as well as the history of votes for women and ways to participate in politics

Parliament Explained podcasts – a series of podcasts that explain how the UK Parliament works

Irish Oireachtas – A Brief Guide to How Your Parliament Works from the Oireachtas website 

Welsh Assembly – Role of the Assembly and How it Works from the Assembly website

Scottish Parliament – How Parliament Works from the Scottish Parliament website

This information is taken from a Houses of Parliament Outreach Service factsheet on ‘Effective Campaigning’

Select Committees

These are committees of MPs and members of the Houses of Lords that look at issues of importance and the work of Government departments through public inquiries.

You can provide written evidence to these inquiries.

A full list of Select Committees can be found on the Parliament website. Contact the committees that you have an interest in and ask to be put on their mailing list. 

When an inquiry is announced:

  • Make contact with the Committee’s Clerk to find out what they are looking for in terms of evidence. Is there a unique perspective that your organisation can offer?
  • Make sure your evidence is crisp, clear and constructive, addresses the inquiry’s terms of reference and provides something for the Committee to consider

Adjournment and Westminster Hall Debates (House of Commons) / Questions for Short Debate (House of Lords)

MPs and members of the House of Lords can hold short debates (30 minutes to 2 hours) with Ministers on issues of importance.

  • Identify MPs and Peers with an interest in your subject
  • Develop support materials for MPs and Peers – statistics, debate materials and briefings
  • Think about what you want to put to the Government – issues, problems, solutions
  • Look at the Ministerial response. Were any commitments made, new policies unveiled etc?

Backbench Business Committee

Allocates time for Backbench MPs to debate issues of cross-party concern with Ministers (often national issues, but can be regional or related to specific communities). MPs can make representation to the committee for a debate but must demonstrate that their issue has cross-party interest

  • Try to contact members across different parties
  • Why would MPs around the country want to debate this issue? How is it relevant on a national and local basis? 

Parliamentary Questions

MPs and members of the House of Lords can raise questions on the work of Government departments, in writing and orally (in the Chamber).

What do you want to get from your questions?

  • Information on action taken?
  • Clarification or explanation on a position or policy?
  • A commitment to future action?

Work with MPs and members of the House of Lords on the wording of questions.

All Party Parliamentary Groups

These are informal groups of MPs and members of the House of Lords that meet to discuss issues of interest.

There are two types – Country groups and Subject groups. There is a list of all groups here.

If there is a group that looks at your issue of interest, make contact with them. Can you provide them with any information or research? Are there ways you can work together?