House of Lords Information Committee

People and Parliament Inquiry - Call for Evidence

The House of Lords Information Committee is conducting an inquiry to investigate how the House of Lords, in the context of Parliament, could relate better to the public.

The inquiry has two aims:

  • to evaluate progress made since the reports of the House of Commons Modernisation Committee (Connecting Parliament with the public, June 2004), the ‘Puttnam Commission’ (Members Only? Parliament in the Public Eye, Hansard Society Commission, May 2005), and the consequent first business plan of Parliament’s Group on Information for the Public (2006); and

  • to consider improvements to how the House of Lords / Parliament can engage with the public and enable members of the public to communicate with it.

The Committee’s inquiry will focus on three issues, on which it is inviting written submissions:

1. Outreach;

2. Online communication and engagement, including www.parliament.uk and channels such as social media sites; and

3. Press, media and broadcasting.

The Committee would, in particular, welcome responses to the following questions:

Outreach

What more could be done to enhance the effectiveness of the outreach work of the House of Lords / Parliament?

What outreach activities would be most successful in engaging people with the work and Members of the House of Lords?

What are the strengths of the outreach programmes of the House of Lords / Parliament?

Is there anything we should be doing differently?

The Parliamentary outreach service launched its programme of regional workshops and information sessions in July 2008. What has been the impact of this new service? As Parliament's outreach programme expands, are there any additional activities that you think should be considered? Where or by what can the service most add value?

Are there sufficient routes for the public to make their views known to Members of the House of Lords?

Online communication and engagement

Over the past four years, Parliament has made considerable investment in the use of online communication channels, including the parliamentary website and social media tools. The wesite has been redesigned, services such as bills online have been enhanced, and other new services like Twitter and Flickr have been introduced alongside initiatives like www.lordsoftheblog.net.

What has worked well and enabled better engagement between Parliament and the public?

What else should we be doing to deliver further improvements?

How would you like to be able to interact online with Members of the House?

What more should the House of Lords / Parliament do to embrace social media and Web 2.0 technologies?

Press

How can we best encourage media reporting of the work of the House of Lords?

What does the press and media need from the House to support a goal of fuller coverage of its work?

What measures could the House take to help journalists to report the work of the House in a fresh and engaging fashion?

Is there demand for a formal induction about the House of Lords for journalists joining the press gallery?

Is there demand for further easing of restrictions on the number of parliamentary passes for media outlets?

Is there demand for the House of Lords to provide a 24-hour media service? How is such an operation provided in comparable organisations?

Broadcasting

What has been the effect of changes to the rules of coverage on broadcasting proceedings of the House?

What has been the effect of changes to the rules on filming within the precincts of Parliament?

How could the House of Lords work with broadcasters to make footage of parliamentary proceeding more accessible and engaging for the public?

What do broadcasters need from the House to support a goal of fuller coverage of its work?

What has been the effect of the expansion of webcasting?

Should the House be contextualising coverage of its proceedings on the web (e.g. by providing further information on the Member speaking and the subject of the debate)?

The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Tuesday 5 May 2009.

The Committee aims to publish its report by the end of July.

The Committee has also launched a web forum and a YouTube group to consult members of the wider public about their views on how the House of Lords relates to the public. As with submissions of written evidence, the results of the forum and videos received via YouTube will feed in to the Committee's inquiry. You can contribute to the forum at: http://forums.parliament.uk/people-and-parliament or submit a video in response to the People and Parliament Inquiry YouTube video.

Guidance for those submitting Written Evidence

Submissions should be sent in hard copy to:

Claudia Rock
Information Committee
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW
Tel: 020 7219 8675
Fax: 020 7219 4931

If possible, they should also be sent as an email attachment to: [email protected]

The deadline for submitting written evidence is Tuesday 5 May 2009.

Please ensure that you include relevant contact details. Evidence should be attributed and dated, with a note of your name and position, and should state whether it is submitted on an individual or corporate basis.

Short submissions of 4 pages or fewer are preferred; longer submissions should include a summary. Evidence sent as hard copy should be clearly printed or typed on single sides of A4 paper, unstapled.  Paragraphs should be numbered.  If drawings, photographs, charts or other visual aids are included, we ask that these are of camera-ready quality.

Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed or circulated by the Committee. You may publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so you should indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. The Committee may invite some of those who submit written evidence to give oral evidence in public at Westminster. Transcripts will be published.

You can follow the inquiry via the Committee web pages www.parliament.uk/hlinfocom

This is a public call for evidence. Please bring it to the attention of other groups and individuals who may not have received a copy direct.