Outreach Programme

House of Commons Commission written question – answered on 24th November 2010.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Conservative, Romsey and Southampton North

To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission,

(1) by what measures the outcomes of the Outreach programme are assessed;

(2) how many people have attended outreach events in the last 12 months;

(3) how many and what proportion of outreach events have directly involved members of the public, excluding staff of local authorities and non-departmental public bodies, in the last 12 months.

Photo of John Thurso John Thurso Chair, Finance and Services Committee, Chair, Finance and Services Committee

The Parliamentary Outreach service aims to spread awareness of the work, processes and relevance of the institution of Parliament, encouraging greater engagement between the public and the House of Commons and House of Lords. Since its launch, the level of demand for outreach sessions has increased continuously. Parliamentary Outreach now employs two main methods of increasing levels of public understanding and participation: (a) regional parliamentary training sessions, and (b) sessions explaining how to engage with select committees and the process of public bills.

Over the past 12 months, the Parliamentary Outreach team has run 456 events, of which around 4.39% (20) were run in partnership with local authorities and non-departmental bodies. The majority of events are run in partnership with organisations in the voluntary and community sectors, ensuring maximum reach and value for money. Some 13,000 people have attended outreach events during the past 12 months. The vast majority of attendees are from organisations which have either a strategic remit to increase civic engagement or a direct objective to engage with parliamentary processes. As the partner organisations organise the attendance at the regional events, it is not possible to give an accurate figure of the percentage of attendees who are employed by local authorities or non-departmental government bodies. Analysis of the attendees at the Public Bill workshops in the last two months shows that 9.4% of those who registered to attend are employed in these fields.

The success of each outreach event is measured by evaluating whether the participants feel better equipped to engage with Parliament. At least 98% of attendees at the recent Public Bill workshops have stated that they felt better equipped to engage with Parliament and at least 94% rated the workshop as good or excellent.

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