On 14 March 2011 CPA UK launched its first specialised workshop in the Westminster Series, focussing on the parliamentary committee system. This capacity-building programme was created with the goal of promoting strong, effective, and transparent committees which are able to hold their governments to account.
Senior clerks and specialists from within Parliament played an instrumental role in developing and participating in the programme offering their expert knowledge and engaging with Parliamentarians from legislatures across the globe.
The Westminster Series: The Committee System covered both the practices and procedures of UK committees including a session on the role of the Liaison Committee, which was widely commended by delegates. The seminar also highlighted issues facing UK committees such as: modernisation and the impact of committees on government policy; the effectiveness of committees; and the relationship between committees and the media.
The Seminar culminated in a comparative session which examined Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth committee systems including the US Congress and the EU Parliament. It also featured presentations by delegates from South Africa and Pakistan who provided insight into the workings of their own committee systems.
Speakers included: Rt Hon. Sir Alan Beith MP, Chair of the Liaison Committee; Mr Mark D’Arcy, Parliamentary Correspondent, BBC News; Dr Meg Russell, Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit, UCL; Mr Akash Paun, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Government; Professor John Owens, University of Westminster; and Dr Giacomo Benedetto, Royal Holloway, University of London.
Resources from the workshop will be available online in coming weeks.