The effectiveness of Parliament in scrutinising government has long been a subject of interest in Whitehall and Westminster. The Institute’s work focuses on the role of scrutiny in making government more effective, and on how Parliament can increase the impact of its engagement with government. 

Select committees under scrutiny

Based on over 40 interviews and five workshops with MPs, staff, witnesses and other committee stakeholders, this project analysed the work of three committees in the 2010–15 Parliament – the Defence and Home Affairs Committees and the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards – as well as the committee system more broadly. The key objective of the project was to help committees think about their approach to impact: what they want to achieve, how they go about it, and how to assess the impact they have had.

The outputs from the project included a briefing note on parliamentary scrutiny of government; a report setting out our main findings – Select Committees Under Scrutiny – and an accompanying paper setting out our detailed conclusions about our three case study committees; and a pamphlet for new members of select committees about how to be effective in their role.

During the 2015 and 2017 Parliaments, the Institute has conducted over 30 workshops for select committees based on the findings of this research.

Parliament and Brexit

The Institute has been analysing the role of Parliament in Brexit and how parliamentary scrutiny can be most effective. We have published four reports: Scrutinising Brexit, Legislating Brexit, Who's Afraid of the ECJ? and Inquiring about Brexit.

Relevant IfG comment

View the full list of IfG Parliament-related comment.

Project contacts

Deputy Director