People2Parliament is an education programme designed to strengthen the culture of democratic participation by helping to build up citizens’ knowledge of, and connections with, the UK Parliament. The initiative.
Our annual Audit of Political Engagement regularly shows that citizens from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds are less pessimistic about the state of politics in Britain than are their white counterparts, and are more likely to think that getting involved in politics would be effective. Nevertheless, they are less likely actually to do so, even if they feel strongly about an issue.
Part of the answer to this conundrum may lie in the fact that the self-assessed knowledge levels of BME respondents - in relation to both politics and Parliament - are well below the national average. If a person feels they don’t understand how politics and Parliament work, this acts as a critical barrier to political engagement.
What we are doing
People2Parliament is an education programme designed to address this problem, strengthening the culture of democratic participation by helping people to develop:
- a greater understanding of the role of Parliament and other institutions in our democracy;
- an increased awareness of how to engage with Parliament on the issues that participants care about;
- a greater sense of confidence and empowerment to engage with Parliament; and
- a commitment to civic leadership.
The programme is being piloted with members of the Bangladeshi community in London. This community is large (about 400,000) and is mainly concentrated in Tower Hamlets and Newham. As a whole, the community suffers disproportionately from economic disadvantage and, for women and young people in particular, political exclusion.
People2Parliament will provide a new opportunity for individuals to learn more about how the democratic process works, and how to access and participate in decision-making processes.
The programme will also train participants to share this knowledge with others in the community, thus fostering broader understanding of the democratic process and engagement with both Parliament and public service.
How we are doing it
The programme will include a series of evening workshops, the production of a portfolio of independent work, and the opportunity to meet current politicians and campaigners and learn from their experience.
Applications for the 45 places on the scheme close on Thursday, 30 November 2017. The programme and how to apply are being widely advertised to the Bangladeshi community across London.
The first workshop will take place in January 2018, and the programme will conclude in March 2018.
There will then be a full review and assessment, with a view to identifying scope for rolling the project out to other communities and other parts of the country.
People2Parliament is being run in partnership with Nan Sloane, Director of the Centre for Women & Democracy. Nan is an experienced trainer and mentor, and has run political participation and leadership training both in the UK and abroad, including in the Balkans, Middle East & North Africa (MENA) countries, and Ghana and Botswana.
A range of speakers and contributors from politics and related fields will be invited to work with the participants on the course.
People2Parliament is funded by the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, as part of their ongoing work to tackle disadvantage in London.
Enjoy reading this? Please consider sharing it
Whilst the *Miller* case may be seen as a victory for Parliament, it simultaneously highlights significant constitutional weaknesses on issues such as devolution and the role of referendums. Is it time to consider whether the UK constitution needs more legal as opposed to political regulation?
In Canada, the ‘professional politician’ remains the exception rather than the rule, and MPs with prior political experience don’t have an advantage in the development of their parliamentary careers.
If the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee published regular 'Metrics for Global Britain' it could attach clear indicators to an otherwise politicised term, enhancing the committee's scrutiny work and providing hooks for boosting its public and media profile. In evidence to the committee published in July, we explained how.
MPs are setting up the new sifting committee for delegated legislation under the EU (Withdrawal) Act, but the new procedure simply bolts a toothless sift onto the front of existing inadequate procedures.
At a time of political upheaval – with questions being asked about the leadership, policies and competence of both main UK parties – our Audit of Political Engagement reveals some interesting findings about the ways in which Conservative and Labour supporters view these factors differently and how their importance has changed over time.
As the EU (Withdrawal) Bill arrives back in the House of Commons for consideration of House of Lords amendments, this briefing paper for MPs sets out our concerns about three amendments - 110, 10 and 4 - concerning scrutiny of delegated powers and Statutory Instruments.