Working to make government more effective

Analysis paper

Parliamentary Monitor 2018

How Parliament has spent its time and taxpayers’ money in the year from the 2017 State Opening of Parliament.

Our Parliamentary Monitor report, the first in an annual series, shows what the House of Commons and House of Lords have done in the year since the June 2017 election.

Parliament has a many-sided role in the UK’s system of democratic government. The main facets of this role include:

  • representing constituents
  • passing legislation
  • agreeing government proposals for taxation and expenditure
  • holding government to account
  • facilitating national debate.

In this report we explore how Parliament has spent its time and taxpayers’ money in the year from the 2017 State Opening of Parliament. We explain the key activities undertaken by MPs and peers, what they are trying to achieve and what affects whether or not they are successful. These factors include broad historical and constitutional shifts in the relationship between government and Parliament, and the raw political calculations driven by each party’s strength in the House of Commons.

There are limits to what data can tell us about Parliament. Many elements of its role – including its value as an institution of democracy – cannot be measured. All the same, it is possible to say how parliamentary processes – such as the scrutiny of secondary legislation, or the work of select committees – are working, and to judge whether they are fulfilling their purpose.

This report is designed to help people understand how Parliament is working, help parliamentarians in proving their value to the public they represent, and show where reform is needed. 

Related content

09 AUG 2018 In-person event
9 August 2018

Launch of Parliamentary Monitor 2018

The launch of the first edition of Parliamentary Monitor, which uses data to explore what parliament has done in the year since the election.

18 MAY 2020 Analysis paper

Parliamentary Monitor 2020

Long-standing problems with how parliament works and how MPs perform their duties have yet to be addressed.

04 SEP 2019 Analysis paper

Parliamentary Monitor 2019: Snapshot

A ‘snapshot’ highlighting some of the most interesting aspects of Parliament’s work in the period before Parliament was unlawfully prorogued.

06 SEP 2021 Analysis paper

Parliamentary Monitor 2021

The government must drop its dismissive approach to scrutiny as parliament returns to in-person sittings.