How can I get engaged in policy?
Respond to a Committee call for evidence
Parliamentary committees scrutinise proposed new laws and government policy. When a committee launches a new inquiry, it may publish a ‘call for evidence’ for experts on a topic to submit evidence in a written statement. Experts such as researchers can also be invited to give oral evidence on the topic to a parliamentary committee.
Support a Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) briefing
POST provides impartial, non-partisan, and peer-reviewed briefings, designed to make scientific research accessible to Parliament. The briefings cover the areas of biology and health, energy and environment, physical sciences and computing, and social sciences. There are of two types of POST briefings:
1) POSTbriefs are produced rapidly in response to major developments in current affairs or select committee inquiries.
2) POSTnotes are four-page briefings that focus on horizon-scanning, identifying and exploring key issues that may be valuable for politicians and policymakers to consider in the future.
You can contribute your expertise to a POST briefing by suggesting a new topic or contributing to a POST note in production. POST also has guidance available on how to write a POSTbrief or POSTnote.
Respond to a Policy consultation
Policy consultation documents are produced by government departments, with the aim to allow people both inside and outside parliament to give the government department feedback on its policy or legislative proposals. The latest consultations are found on the government website.
Contact your local MP
Your local MP will be interested in local issues, but they will also have other interests that may align with your research. As your representative, they have a responsibility to list to you. The current MP for Oxford East is Anneliese Dodds, her profile on the parliamentary website can provide insight on her interests from previous parliamentary activities.
Engaging with the Civil Service
Civil servants in government departments implement new legislation. You may be able to find civil servants who are working on legislation that is related to your research interest.
You can pay to directly find key personnel of the Civil Service in the Civil Service Yearbook. Alternatively, a free organogram of staff roles is released by all government departments. However, this may not be as up to date.
Get involved with All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGS)
APPGS are informal, information cross-party groups that have no official status within parliament but are a place where MPs and Lords explore topics they care about e.g Dementia or Epilepsy. Many APPGS choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside parliament, such as charities. You can check whether any current APPGS are of interest to you and your research and find the contact details for the APPG registered contact to get in touch.
Start or sign a petition
You can create or sign a petition that asks for a change to the law or to government policy. After 10,000 signatures, petitions get a response from the government and after 100,000 signatures, petitions are considered for debate in parliament.
Written questions allow members of parliament (MPs and Lords) to ask for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments, related bodies, and the administration of Parliament. You can ask a member of parliament to submit a question to a Minister. There is no limit to the number of questions MPs and Lords can ask, typically 60,000 question are asked per year!
Stay up to date
Keep updated with policy making opportunities by signing up to mailing lists that are of interest to you and following organisations and individuals on social media. Go to our Resources page for further information.
Think tanks are research institutes that seek to influence policymaking. Some are political in nature and may have clear links with government or opposition parties. Others are interested in a particular sector, such as health. Most think tanks put on events that provide time and space for networking. They are also generally interested in relevant research and may be open to promoting ideas or collaborations. You can find think tank organisation relevant to your interested in the Global Think Tank Index.
The Nuffield Trust think tank is a non-political trust with the aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and informing debate.
The Health Foundation Trust is also a non-political think tank with the aim for a healthier population, supported by high quality health care that can be equitably accessed.