Westminster Seminar 2011 programme

Sunday 6 March

Arrival day

Monday 7 March: Introduction to the Seminar and UK Parliament: Running Parliament

0915 Seminar Briefing: Welcome and delegate introductions

  • Rt Hon. Sir Alan Haselhurst MP (Conservative), Chair, CPA UK Executive Committee
  • Mr Andrew Tuggey DL, Secretary, CPA UK

1000 Session 1: Introduction to the UK Parliament

How is the UK Parliament structured? What are the key defining features of the Westminster System? What are the recent debates in British politics?

  • Mr Robert Rogers, Clerk Assistant & Director General, Department of Chamber & Committee Services, House of Commons
  • Chair: Rt Hon. Baroness D’Souza CMG (Crossbench)

1130 Session 2: Administration, Management and Security in Parliament

How is the UK Parliament effectively administered and managed? What is the role of the Speaker and Lord Speaker? What is the role of the Serjeant at Arms?

  • Mr David Natzler, Clerk of Legislation, House of Commons
  • Ms Jill Pay, Serjeant at Arms, House of Commons
  • Mr Michael Pownall, Clerk of the Parliaments, House of Lords
  • Chair: Lord Davies of Stamford (Labour)

1400 Session 3: Parliament and Power

How has the UK Parliament evolved and what have been the most recent power shifts? Has devolution been successful and what are the continuing challenges? What role does Europe play in British politics?

  • Mr Elfyn Llwyd MP (Plaid Cymru)
  • Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne (Liberal Democrat)
  • Chair: Rt Hon. Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour)

Delegates move in to split sessions

1530 Session 4: Split Sessions

Hansard (Thatcher Room, Portcullis House)
How is Hansard (The Official report) recorded, edited and published? Does Hansard have a role in the electronic age?

  • Ms Vivien Wilson, Hansard Managing Editor, Communications, House of Commons
  • Mr Jack Homer, Hansard Managing Editor, House of Commons
  • Mr Richard Purnell, Hansard Committee Sub Editor, House of Commons

Broadcasting Parliament (Wilson Room, Portcullis House)
How has the broadcasting of Parliament evolved? Should Parliament be broadcast? How can viewing figures be increased?

  • Mr Peter Knowles, Controller, BBC Parliament

Library and Research Services for Members (Attlee Suite, Portcullis House)
How are research and information services in a modern parliament structured? What other information services are available to Members of Parliament and how can a Member benefit from them?

  • Mr Bryn Morgan, Director of Research Services, Department for Information Services, House of Commons

1700 Session 5: Paying for Parliament

How is Parliament funded and who proposes the budget for each House? How is each House audited? Who decides Members’ salaries and allowances?

  • Hon. Lindsay Hoyle MP (Labour), Chairman of Ways & Means
  • Mr Andrew Walker, Director General, Department of Resources, House of Commons
  • Chair: Rt Hon. Kevin Barron MP (Labour), Chair, Standards and Privileges Committee


Tuesday 8 March: Holding the Executive to Account

0900 Session 6: The Committee System

What is the function and purpose of committees? What have been the recent changes in the committee system and why have these changes been made?

  • Mr Gavin Williamson MP (Conservative)
  • Ms Philippa Helme, Principal Clerk of Select Committees
  • Chair: Rt Hon. Lord Shutt of Greetland OBE (Liberal Democrat)

1030 Session 7: The Role of the Opposition

What are the roles of the opposition parties in scrutinising the Executive? How are the opposition parties recognised and financed in Parliament? What are the challenges for Members in moving from Government to Opposition?

  • Rt Hon. David Hanson MP (Labour)
  • Miss Anne McIntosh MP (Conservative)
  • Chair: Rt Hon. Lord Grocott (Labour)

1145 Session 8: Party Discipline within Parliament

How is party discipline effectively maintained? How do the political parties interact to deliver parliamentary business? How do whips operate as effective channels between the front and back benches?

  • Rt Hon. Patrick McLoughlin MP (Conservative), Government Chief Whip
  • Mr Alan Campbell MP (Labour), Opposition Deputy Chief Whip
  • Chair: Ms Emma Reynolds MP (Labour)

1415 Depart for the House of Commons 

1430 Session 9: Accountability in Action

Ministerial Questions in the Chamber – to observe
Committee in Session – to observe

1545 Session 10: Parliamentary Questions and Motions

What rules govern parliamentary questions? How are written and oral questions submitted? What are the different types of motions and how are they tabled?

  • Mr Andrew Kennon, Clerk of the Table Office, House of Commons
  • Mr Adrian Sanders MP (Liberal Democrat)
  • Chair: Baroness Scott of Needham Market (Liberal Democrat)

Wednesday 9 March: Holding the Executive to Account

0900 Session 11: The Public Accounts Select Committee

What is the structure and function of the Public Accounts Select Committee? What is the role of the National Audit Office and how does it interact with the Committee?

  • Mr Phillip Aylett, Clerk of the Public Accounts Select Committee
  • Mr Richard Bacon MP (Conservative), Member, Public Accounts Select Committee
  • Rt Hon. Margaret Hodge MBE MP (Labour), Chair, Public Accounts Select Committee
  • Chair: Mr Greg Hands MP (Conservative)

Delegates move in to split sessions 

1030 Session 12: Workshop Session A – Transparency in Public Life

The Role of the Bicameral System: Legislative Scrutiny and Representation (Room C, 1 Parliament Street)
What is the role, function and structure of the House of Lords? What is the relevance of a second chamber in a modern parliament? Does a bicameral system enhance democracy?

  • Lord Dholakia OBE DL (Liberal Democrat)
  • Mr Ed Ollard (Clerk of Committees, House of Lords)

Freedom of Information (Attlee Suite, Portcullis House)
What is the Freedom of Information Act and why was it introduced? How has the Freedom of Information Act affected Parliament? Is the Freedom of Information Act essential in holding the Executive to account?

  • Mr Bob Castle, Head of Information Rights & Information Security, House of Commons
  • Dr Ben Worthy, Research Associate, Constitution Unit, University College London

1130 Session 13: Holding the Prime Minister to Account and Prime Minister’s Question Time

What is the purpose and procedure for Prime Minister’s Question Time? How effective is Prime Minister’s Question Time in ensuring the Prime Minister is held to account? What other mechanisms are in place to hold the Prime Minister to account in Parliament?

  • Mr Liam Laurence-Smyth, Clerk of the Journal Office, House of Commons

1330 Session 14: Public Expenditure and the Role of Parliament – An Overview

How do the estimate and budget cycles work? What role does Parliament play in this process?

  • Mr John Mann MP (Labour)
  • Ms Eve Samson, Clerk of the Treasury Committee
  • Chair: Mr John Robertson MP (Labour)

1415 Session 15: Legislation

Where do bills originate from? How do bills become law and what stages must they pass through? What are Private Members’ Bills?

  • Sir Stephen Laws KCB, First Parliamentary Counsel and Permanent Secretary, Office of the Parliamentary Counsel
  • Ms Sarah Davies, Clerk of Private Members Bills, House of Commons
  • Chair: Rt Hon. Lord Anderson of Swansea DL (Labour)


Thursday 10 March: Holding Parlliament to Account 

0900 Session 16: Parliamentary Standards

What are parliamentary standards? What is the role of the Standards and Privileges Committee? What is the role of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards?

  • Sir Stuart Bell MP (Labour)
  • Ms Heather Wood, Complaints Officer to Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
  • Chair: Rt Hon. Sir Alan Haselhurst MP (Conservative), Chair, CPA UK Executive Committee

1000 Session 17: Parliament and the Media

How do Members communicate effectively with the media? How can Members build successful relationships with local and national media? How do members work with lobby journalists?

  • Lord Black of Brentwood (Conservative) and Executive Director of the Telegraph Media Group
  • Mr Roger Gale MP (Conservative)
  • Chair: Ms Rita Payne, Chair, Commonwealth Journalists’ Association

1115 Session 18: Parliament and Non-Governmental Organisations

Case Study: Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act 2010
What impact can Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have on legislation in the Westminster System? How are NGOs consulted during the legislative process? How is the expertise of NGOs utilised by Parliament when forming and amending legislation?

  • Mr Nick Dearden, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign
  • Ms Sally Keeble, Labour MP for Northampton North 1997-2010
  • Chair: Lord Bilston (Labour/Co-operative)

1400 Session 19: Elections and the Electorate

What challenges did Britain face in the 2010 elections and how were they overcome? What is the role and purpose of the Electoral Commission? What is the role of a MP in their constituency?

  • Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Labour), Electoral Commissioner
  • Ms Fiona O’Donnell MP (Labour)
  • Chair: Mr Ian Davidson (Labour)

Delegates move in to split sessions

1530 Session 20: Workshop Session B – Reconnecting with the Public

Modernising Parliament: Utilising New Technology and Communications (Attlee Suite, Portcullis House)
How can technology bridge the gap between parliament and the public? How can technology promote transparency? How does Westminster utilise technology and communications to engage with the public?

  • Ms Tracy Green, Head of Online Centre, Web and Intranet Service, House of Commons
  • Baroness Thornton (Labour)

Engaging Society: Representing Equality and Diversity (Grimond Room, Portcullis House)
How can the media be used as a tool to help engage minority and disadvantaged groups in the political process? How can Parliament encourage greater representation of minority groups?

  • Ms Caroline Nursey, Executive Director, BBC World Service Trust
  • Mr Simon Woolley, Director, Operation Black Vote

1700 Constituency Briefing

  • Mr Andrew Tuggey DL, Secretary, CPA UK

Friday 11 March: Constituency Visits and the Future of Parliament

0900 Constituency Visits

1430 Session 21: Looking to the Future; Engaging the Next Generation

How can young people be more involved with parliament and why is it important to engage with the next generation?

  • Mr Peter Stidwill, Senior Web Producer, Education Unit, Houses of Parliament
  • Dr Emma-Jane Watchorn, Director, Education Unit, Houses of Parliament

1545 Final Session: Summing-up Seminar, Feedback and Presentation of Certificates

  • Chair: Sir Peter Bottomley MP (Conservative)
  • Mr Paul Jackson, Deputy Secretary, CPA UK

1645 Optional Tour of the Houses of Parliament

Saturday 12 March

Departure day