The Policy Impact of Parliament
October 2008 -
This programme initially formed one strand of Meg Russell's 3-year Economic and Social Research Council Fellowship RES-063-27-0163.
It is often assumed that the British parliament has little impact on policy, and instead that the executive is dominant. But parliamentary impact can be subtle and difficult to assess. For example, government may amend legislation in order to avoid confrontation with its own backbenchers in the Commons, or with opposition and Crossbench forces in the Lords. Both peers and Labour MPs have become more assertive in recent years in challenging the executive, but little research has been done to evaluate the impact of their interventions, particularly when policy changes by consensus (e.g. through government amendments) rather than through confrontation (e.g. through rebellions and government defeats). Similar problems arise when trying to assess the impact of non-legislative scrutiny committees (such as the select committees in the House of Commons). It is widely appreciated that these committees are important, but few attempts have been made to evaluate their actual impact on policy.
The Nuffield Foundation has funded two separate research projects which will build into this broader workstream on the policy impact of parliament. These are:
One publication listed below was written before the
Fellowship began. This work is also connected to another project on the
Fellowship, focusing on The Changing Role of the House of Lords
Post-1999, which has produced numerous papers.
- (Re)assessing Parliamentary Policy Impact: The Case of the Australian Senate in Australian Journal of Political Science June 2010
- Assessing the Policy Impact of Parliament: Methodological Challenges and Possible Future Approaches PSA Legislative Studies Specialist Group Conference Paper 2009
- Bicameral Parliamentary Scrutiny of Government Bills: A Case Study of the Identity Cards Bill PSA Conference Paper 2007