The Constitution Unit


Expertise and Experience in the House of Lords

Commissioned by: House of Lords Appointments Commission
Title: Analysis of existing data on the breadth of expertise and experience in the House of Lords
Dates: July - December 2009
Led by: Meg Russell and Meghan Benton

This report was commissioned by the House of Lords Appointments Commission, in order to investigate diversity amongst the membership of the House of Lords. The report considers two issues: diversity of professional background, and areas of peers' residence. The residence data was drawn from responses to questionnaires circulated previously by the Constitution Unit, and therefore represented only a sample of the House (nonetheless covering more than half its members). Most of the report concentrates on the professional background data. This covered all peers in the House at 1 October 2009, and was based on existing published sources: primarily Dods and Who's Who. It breaks peers' backgrounds down into broad professional "area", narrower professional "specialisms" and distinct "jobs". Each peer was classified in terms of their primary professional background and (where appropriate) secondary professional background.

The collection of such data is complex, and the report includes various caveats warning that it does not represent a complete picture of professional expertise in the House of Lords. But it is the most complete picture that currently exists on this question, and was used to inform future appointments to the House. See here to access the report in full:

For the impact for this report, see the question by Baroness Cox in the House of Lords on 19 July 2010. Note Lord Taylor of Holbeach's second reply.