Postponed due to COVID-19. New date to be announced.

Unfortunately, we have had to postpone this event due to the coronavirus. We are planning to hold the workshop next year and we hope you will be able to make it. In the meantime, we will be developing tools to connect anyone interested in this area in a new network. Get in touch if you want to be involved or click below to subscribe to our newsletter (ParliamentEngagementNetwork@leeds.ac.uk)


The UK House of Commons and the Centre for Democratic Engagement (University of Leeds, UK) have joined forces to co-host a one day international workshop about parliamentary public engagement, focusing particularly on its impact on parliaments and their scrutiny processes. The workshop will bring together parliamentary officials and academics from all over the world to discuss key challenges and opportunities brought by public engagement practices.


Although we were unable to hold the workshop as planned, we have made the posters due to be presented available. These are created by a range of academics and practitioners from parliaments across the world. If you would like to view these, please click on the link below.

Workshop aims
  1. To share good practice in parliamentary public engagement, identify key challenges and ways to address these.
  2. Promote the exchange of information between practitioners and academics.
  3. Lead to the enhancement of practices in parliamentary public engagement.

Registration is paused for now, we will re-open registration once a new date for the workshop has been confirmed.


We will have contributions from academics and officials from a wide range of countries including Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

  • 9.00-9.30 Registration and coffee
  • 9.30-10.15 Welcome and introduction - Edge Watchorn (UK Parliament) & Cristina Leston-Bandeira (University of Leeds)
  • 10.15-11.15 Session 1: Reaching varied and new audiences (details below)
  • 11.15-11:45 Refreshments and networking
  • 11.45-13:15 Session 2: Transforming public input into political action (details below)
  • 13:15-14.30 Lunch and poster exhibition
  • 14:30-15:30 Break-out session 1 (details below)
  • 15.30-16.00 Refreshments and networking
  • 16:00-17:00 Break-out session 2 (details below)
  • 17:00-17:30 Summary, questions, and launch of network - Cristina Leston-Bandeira (University of Leeds) & Laura Evans (Nifty Fox Creative)
  • 17:30-18:30 Tour of the Palace of Westminster

Panel Sessions

Panel Session 1

Reaching varied and new audiences

Chair: Aileen Walker (Global Partners Governance)

  • How can Parliament tackle barriers to public engagement? Danielle Beswick (University of Birmingham) & Naomi Jurczak (UK Parliament)
  • Engaging with vulnerable groups Kevin Davies (National Assembly for Wales)
  • Partial engagement by parliament: how and why do some people get silenced, ignored or excluded? Emma Crewe & Nicholas Sarra (SOAS University, London)
  • Public Engagement in Strengthening Parliamentary Representation and Deepening Democracy Defferew Kebebe Tessema (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia)


Panel Session 2

Transforming public input into political action

Chair: Ruth Fox (Hansard Society)

  • Can the bias associated with public engagement be challenged? Olivier Rozenberg (Science Po, Paris)
  • The work of the House of Commons Digital Engagement Team Laura Wickens (UK Parliament)
  • Using Brazil’s E-cidadania portal to engage with citizens Alisson Bruno Diaz de Queiroz (Senate of Brazil)
  • How do culture, traditions and perceptions constrain public engagement from having an impact Richard Rosengren (Swedish Parliament Research Service)

Break-out Sessions

These 60 minute break-out sessions will include interactive activities led by international experts, aiming to encourage reflection and useful discussion on the core themes of the workshop. Please choose two sessions to attend when you register through eventbrite. 

Implementing online deliberative methods of engagement

Andreas Nitsche - LiquidFeedback, Germany

The success of an online participation system depends not only on the functionality of the software, but also on the overall participation process including its proper embedding into administrative processes. In this session, Andreas will introduce the online platform LiquidFeedback, which helps develop credible propositions in an integrated deliberation and voting process. He will give his take on typical challenges of civic participation, and provide examples of how lawmakers and/or an administration can address these in creative ways to establish widely accepted participation infrastructures.

Exploring when deliberative methods of engagement work best

Sarah Allan - Involve

This session will explore various deliberative engagement methods such as citizens assemblies, to reflect on when this type of method is most suitable. Through interactive work it will invite participants to explore how to commission engagement internally and externally, and how to evaluate if an appropriate method is being suggested.

Capturing lived experiences

Anne-Marie Griffiths & Libby McEnhill, UK Parliament

This session will explore how to capture the experiences of public(s), to ensure they inform parliamentary decisions. It will focus specifically on vulnerable groups and those not always easy to reach out to. Using recent examples and interactive methods, the session will encourage participants to identify specific hard-to-reach groups and how they could make sure to capture the experiences of those groups to inform parliamentary business.

Measuring Impact

Rising to the challenge of Measuring Community Engagement with Parliamentary Law Making

Sarah Moulds, University of South Australia

This session aims to confront the methodological challenges associated with seeking to measure the value or impact of community engagement with parliamentary law making in Westminster-inspired Parliaments. The session is designed to encourage participants to share their own experiences of researching the role the community plays in parliamentary law making, with a view to identifying some common features of best practice and/or pitfalls to avoid.

Making change happen – the elephant in the room

Gillian Baxendine & Sally Coyne, Scottish Parliament

We all have plenty of ideas about what we would like to do differently or try innovatively – but how do we actually introduce changes to others in ways that work and that stick? In this interactive break-out session, engagement practitioners from the Scottish Parliament will give some examples of strategies and approaches the Parliament has used to improve the way we do engagement. Participants will be invited to reflect on the barriers to change in themselves and the organisations they work with and identify the next steps they could take.

How e-Petitions can enhance parliamentary public engagement

Emma McIntosh, UK Parliament

E-petitions have become very popular with the public. But parliaments do not always seize the opportunities these give to enhance parliamentary business and public engagement. Through the use of examples from the House of Commons’ e-petitions system, this session will invite participants to think creatively about how e-petitions can enhance both parliamentary decisions and public engagement with parliament.

Lessons from local democracy

Carl Whistlecraft & Rachel Spencer-Henshall - Kirklees Council, UK

This session will draw from the very rich experience of the Kirklees Council in public engagement and explore how ongoing conversations can be kept with different publics, to support decision-making. It will introduce the use of Place Standard to discuss regeneration of the town centre of Huddersfield, to then encourage participants to think of ways in which they could employ this strategy into their own practice.

Invitations & Support

The organisers will be able to issue letters of invitation to participants. There is a limited budget to support travel costs for participants from low income countries. If you would like to access this support please contact the organisers.

This event is funded by an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.
Organisers & Contact
  • Elise Uberoi, House of Commons Library, House of Commons
  • Cristina Leston-Bandeira, Professor of Politics, University of Leeds
  • Nicole Nisbett, PhD Student, University of Leeds



Created with images by skeeze - "parliament london england" • fancycrave1 - "laptop human hands keyboard" • Sonny Ravesteijn - "Eindhoven station" • 4924546 - "water drip drop of water" • Roberto Nickson - "untitled image" • Priscilla Du Preez - "untitled image" • Cristina Leston-Bandeira