CPA UK programme FAQ

What’s the difference between a conference and a seminar?

CPA UK conferences are thematic, meaning they focus on a specific theme that is current and of particular interest to parliamentarians today. Previous conference themes have focused on peacebuilding, climate change, and migration.  The format of conferences are largely panel sessions with 3-5 speakers presenting different views on a particular topic followed by a short question and answer period.

CPA UK seminars are smaller in size and include more discussion forums. They may also include delegate-led panel sessions. Furthermore, the themes of the seminars are repeated annually, though the specific focus of sessions may change. The seminars are also targeted at newer parliamentarians and officials.

Both conferences and seminars include workshop sessions and visits either to a constituency or a relevant community organisation.These practical elements aim to contextualise the theoretical discussions that have taken place throughout the programme.

How many conferences do you have annually, and how do you decide their topics?

CPA UK holds 1 or 2 conferences and 2 seminars per year.  The International Governance Seminar and the Westminster Seminar on Practice and Procedure are annual events and the topics are fixed. 

Our thematic conferences address current topics which are based on issues of the day such as climate change, or migration. Topics are suggested by different stakeholders including: the CPA UK Executive Committee, UK and international parliamentarians, APPGs and external organisations. CPA UK then compiles suggestions and makes recommendations to the P3 sub-committee who make the final decision.

How do you decide who attends your conferences?

CPA UK does not choose individuals to attend conferences. Rather, invitations are sent to parliamentary Speakers who are invited to nominate a cross-party, gender-balanced delegation.

How many delegates attend?

The size of a delegation will depend on the size of the legislature and the relevance of the conference theme to a particular parliament. On average, conferences and seminars will have 50-80 delegates in attendance.

How many legislatures are typically represented?

There is no minimum number of legislatures that are represented, but on average there will be 20-30 different countries and 25-35 legislatures represented.

What are your conference outcomes?

Conference delegates agree a communiqué, which is a collective statement of intent and a call to action. CPA UK also produces a toolkit which helps parliamentarians to implement their initiatives.

How long are your events?

Conferences can last 3-5 working days (8:30-18:00), but seminars are longer, generally 8-10 working days.
I’m not an MP, can I attend?

Unfortunately, only parliamentarians can attend our conferences as delegates. However, CPA UK events are occasionally open to observers. Please contact us with any questions.
Can non-Commonwealth parliamentarians attend your conferences?

Issues such as conflict resolution and climate change are global issues and do not affect only Commonwealth citizens. As such, CPA UK often invites non-Commonwealth parliaments to attend thematic conferences.