Network members may already be aware of the existence of All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs). If not, the following provides a short introduction.
All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.
An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) consists of Members of both Houses who join together to pursue a particular topic or interest. In order to use the title All-Party Parliamentary Group, a Group must be open to all Members of both Houses, regardless of party affiliation, and must satisfy the rules agreed by the House for All-Party Parliamentary Groups. The Register of All-Party Parliamentary Groups, which is maintained by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, is a definitive list of such groups. It contains the financial and other information about Groups which the House has decided should be published. The Register is published on the parliamentary website and updated approximately every six weeks.
All-Party Parliamentary Groups cover a diverse range of subjects and are established for a rich variety of purposes. They provide a valuable opportunity for parliamentarians to engage with individuals and organisations outside Parliament who share an interest in the subject matter of their Group. They are not however official parliamentary bodies, and Groups must avoid presenting themselves in a way which leads to their being confused with select committees.
In any given parliament, a group can only be added to the Register of APPGs once it has held an Inaugural Meeting to elect its officers then completed the Registration Form for APPGs
NCVO provide some useful advice on working with APPGs to lobby for your work: https://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2017/07/26/finding-new-ways-to-influence-parliament-through-appgs/
Should there not be an APPG relevant to your cause/ interest or that covers your work then consider supporting the establishment of one. Most groups are backed by an organisation that does most of the leg-work for the officers – organising meetings, writing reports and handling administration of the group, as NCVO does for the APPG on Charities and Volunteering.This can be a great way to build relationships with a wider group of parliamentarians and sector stakeholders, but you will need a founding group of four MPs and peers, from opposition and government parties, and registration can be onerous. If you have a good relationship with a parliamentarian they may be happy to discuss the possibility of starting a group, and Hansard and TheyWorkForYou can be great tools for finding other MPs and peers with a common interest.
There is an authoritative list of All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on the government website and this is updated every six weeks: The list published in 11th September 2019 is to be found here – https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/190911/contents.htm
Examples of APPGs that may be relevant to Network members include:
Arts Health and Wellbeing:
Purpose: To enable backbench parliamentarians, of all parties and from both Houses, to be informed about significant practice in the field of arts, health and wellbeing; to provide a springboard for parliamentary action, such as debates and questions for oral and written answer and make policy recommendations.
Chair: Ed Vaizey
Purpose: To raise the profile of issues which affect and concern young people; to encourage dialogue between parliamentarians, young people and youth services; and to encourage a co-ordinated and coherent approach to policy making on youth affairs.
Chair: Lloyd Russell-Moyle
Secretariat: YMCA England & Wales and British Youth Council jointly act as the group’s secretariat.
Art, Craft and Design in Education:
Purpose: The group believes that art, craft and design education is essential to the economy and to the cultural, spiritual, creative and social wellbeing of all; that it empowers individuals, enabling them to engage with our rich visual and cultural heritage, express themselves and become visually literate and perceptive, and that access to high quality art, craft and design education is an entitlement for everyone.
Chair: Sharon Hodgson
Secretariat: Susan Coles, National Society for Education in Art & Design, Masons Wharf, Corsham, Wiltshire SN13 9FY.
by Susanne Burns