The seminars were part of an ongoing programme designed to encourage interest in Parliament and to highlight ways that the public can be involved with the work that goes on there.
Andy Street, the Managing Director of John Lewis, was the guest at an event in London in his capacity as Chair of the Speaker’s Advisory Council on Public Engagement (SACPE).
He began the debate by outlining some of the ideas recently put forward to the Speaker by the Council on ways to improve people’s perception of the work of the House of Commons.
Joining him at the event, at the Greater London Assembly building on London’s South Bank, were other members of SACPE, set up by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, to provide informal, independent advice from an external perspective.
The discussion was preceded by a presentation by a Parliamentary Outreach officer. Other outreach events along the theme of Parliamentary engagement also took place in the South-West, in Manchester and in Newcastle.
Claire Cowan, Head of Parliament’s Outreach Service, said:
"We coordinated four events to run across the UK today to encourage the widest range of the public to give their views about what more Parliament could be doing to reach out to them.
"We were delighted that the GLA were able to co-host one event in London as it provided an opportunity for young people working on the GLA outreach programme to learn more about Parliament and to join the general discussion about how Parliament can engage effectively with young people."
The Speaker’s Advisory Council on Public Engagement (SACPE) provides informal, independent advice from an external perspective to House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow. Their advice focuses on how the House of Commons is perceived by the public and what should be done to restore the trust required between Parliament and the people it represents. All members of SACPE are volunteers.
The formation of the Advisory Council was announced by the Speaker in a speech to the Hansard Society and Political Studies Association on 30 November 2009.
The Houses of Parliament’s Outreach Service works with individuals and organisations throughout the UK to spread awareness of Parliament’s work and processes - and its relevance to everybody’s lives.