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Parliamentary committees

Empty vintage court's room with table,chairs and microphones.

One of the best ways to mobilise longitudinal research in the scrutiny process is by responding to parliamentary committee inquiries. The UK Parliament has several kinds of Committees. Both Houses have Permanent Committees, which exist to scrutinise agreed policy areas, and Bill Committees to examine pieces of legislation. This section has details on both.

Permanent Committees

Most Permanent Committees are known as ‘Select Committees‘ These exist in the Commons and Lords, with some Joint Committees existing with members of both Houses.

Select Committees are often aligned with a government department, to better facilitate the scrutiny of a department’s work. For example, the Health and Social Care Committee largely examines issues falling within the remit of the Department for Health and Social Care.

Select Committees mostly seek evidence and expertise through inquiries, which are focused on specific policy areas. Inquiries tend to last for several months or even years. Inquiries conclude by producing a report containing a list of recommendations for the government and, sometimes, other organisations.

Securing citations in a committee report is an excellent way to showcase the impact your research is having. The best way to feed your research into an inquiry is to respond to its call for written evidence, which usually opens shortly after the inquiry being announced. We provide further details on this in our Templates and guidance section.

Bill Committees

Bill Committees are formed with the express purpose of scrutinising a particular piece of legislation (a Bill). Because Bills have to be examined by both the Commons and the Lords before becoming a law, Committee Stage happens in both Houses for every Bill. The Government website has a guide with more details on this process.

The length of time spent a Bill committee spends inspecting a Bill varies depending on the scale and importance of the legislation but is generally shorter than a month. If you have expertise related to the Bill in question it can be worth sending your findings directly to the parliamentarians on the Bill Committee examining it. For more information on directly contacting Parliamentarians, please see our Templates and guidance section.

The Parliament website has a list of all current committees – Bill Committees are easy to identify as they are simply known by the name of the Bill they are considering.

Parliamentary Committee Inquiry Tracker

Our Parliamentary Committee Inquiry Tracker tracks the inquiries currently accepting evidence that would benefit most from longitudinal research. This is regularly updated by the CLOSER team. Download Parliamentary Committee Inquiry Tracker.

Relevant resources

This section is part of the CLOSER Policy Hub. Go back to the Policy Hub homepage.