Have Your Say: Calls for Evidence
A Select Committee call for evidence is an opportunity for committee members (MPs or Peers) to collate views from different groups. This process informs a committee’s scrutiny of Government, and allows them to provide policy recommendations. However too often ordinary members of the public do not feed in their own valuable experiences and opinions into these forums.
So we’re taking a monthly review of the select committees currently asking for evidence in the hope that more members of the public grasp the opportunity to engage and influence policy.
Featured calls for evidence (November 2020):
Below we list a few key calls for evidence that are currently open. By expanding the section you can see some of the key questions being asked by the committee. Click the links to learn more and submit evidence.
The DCMS Committee is inviting written submissions to be submitted by Wednesday 9 December addressing the following areas:
- What is the economic and cultural contribution of the UK’s festival industry?
- What has been the impact of cancellations on local economies and those who derive income from festivals during 2020?
- What are the risks to festivals taking place in 2021 and beyond, and how can these be mitigated?
- What measures are needed for audiences to attend festivals without social distancing, and how realistic are they?
- What has been the impact of the temporary VAT cut and Culture Recovery Fund on festivals and their supply chains, and what else can the Government do to secure their futures?
- How has the structure of the UK festivals market evolved over recent years, and what has this meant for consumers, artists and the wider industry? What further changes might be anticipated?
- How can festivals be supported to reduce their environmental impact and tackle the dangers of illegal drug use?
The Committee would like to hear your views on the following questions. You don’t have to answer all of the questions. You can respond on behalf of an organisation, or as an individual. The deadline for submissions is Friday 18 December.
Progress so far and impact
- What progress has been made, especially since 2015, on closing the disability employment gap? How has this progress been made?
- What is the economic impact of low employment and high economic inactivity rates for disabled people? Are some disabled people (for example, young disabled people or people with different health conditions) more at risk of unemployment or economic activity than others?
- What has been the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on disabled peoples’ employment rates?
- Where should lead responsibility for improving disabled peoples’ employment rates sit (for example, DWP; Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Health and Social Care)?
- What international evidence is there on “what works” in supporting disabled people into, and in work, and how applicable is this to the UK?
- What is the right balance between in and out of work support, and is DWP getting the balance right? What more should the Department look to provide?
- How can DWP better support employers to take on and retain disabled employees, and to help them progress in work?
- How effective is the Disability Confident scheme?
- What improvements should DWP make to the support it offers to unemployed disabled people via Jobcentre Plus?
- The coronavirus pandemic continues to make it difficult to offer in-person support. What evidence is there of “best practice” in supporting disabled people remotely—either in or out of work?
- How can DWP put this into practice in services such as Access to Work and the Work and Health Programme?
Enforcement and next steps
- Are “reasonable adjustments” for disabled people consistently applied? How might enforcement be improved?
- What would you hope to see in the Government’s National Strategy for Disabled People?
- How should DWP look to engage disabled people and the organisations that represent them in formulating the Strategy?
The Government’s response to the GRA consultation:
- Will the Government’s proposed changes meet its aim of making the process “kinder and more straight forward”?
- Should a fee for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate be removed or retained? Are there other financial burdens on applicants that could be removed or retained?
- Should the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria be removed?
- Should there be changes to the requirement for individuals to have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years?
- What is your view of the statutory declaration and should any changes have been made to it?
- Does the spousal consent provision in the Act need reforming? If so, how? If it needs reforming or removal, is anything else needed to protect any rights of the spouse or civil partner?
- Should the age limit at which people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) be lowered?
- What impact will these proposed changes have on those people applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate, and on trans people more generally?
- What else should the Government have included in its proposals, if anything?
- Does the Scottish Government’s proposed Bill offer a more suitable alternative to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004?
Wider issues concerning transgender equality and current legislation:
- Why is the number of people applying for GRCs so low compared to the number of people identifying as transgender?
- Are there challenges in the way the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and the Equality Act 2010 interact? For example, in terms of the different language and terminology used across both pieces of legislation.
- Are the provisions in the Equality Act for the provision of single-sex and separate-sex spaces and facilities in some circumstances clear and useable for service providers and service users? If not, is reform or further guidance needed?
- Does the Equality Act adequately protect trans people? If not, what reforms, if any, are needed
- What issues do trans people have in accessing support services, including health and social care services, domestic violence and sexual violence services?
- Are legal reforms needed to better support the rights of gender-fluid and non-binary people? If so, how?
You can submit evidence until Friday 27 November.
- Is freedom of expression under threat online? If so, how does this impact individuals differently, and why? Are there differences between exercising the freedom of expression online versus offline?
- How should good digital citizenship be promoted? How can education help?
- Is online user-generated content covered adequately by existing law and, if so, is the law adequately enforced? Should ‘lawful but harmful’ online content also be regulated?
- Should online platforms be under a legal duty to protect freedom of expression?
- What model of legal liability for content is most appropriate for online platforms?
- To what extent should users be allowed anonymity online?
- How can technology be used to help protect the freedom of expression?
- How do the design and norms of platforms influence the freedom of expression? How can platforms create environments that reduce the propensity for online harms?
- How could the transparency of algorithms used to censor or promote content, and the training and accountability of their creators, be improved? Should regulators play a role?
- How can content moderation systems be improved? Are users of online platforms sufficiently able to appeal moderation decisions with which they disagree? What role should regulators play?
- To what extent would strengthening competition regulation of dominant online platforms help to make them more responsive to their users’ views about content and its moderation?
- Are there examples of successful public policy on freedom of expression online in other countries from which the UK could learn? What scope is there for further international collaboration?
The Committee invites further written evidence focusing on the following issues:
- How effective has the support provided by the Government been in addressing the impact of COVID-19 on tenants, landlords, rough sleepers and the homeless?
- What might the impact be of a second wave of coronavirus on homelessness and the private rented sector?
- What estimates or data are available on the number of eviction notices served during the ban on evictions?
- What are the best policy options for helping tenants with rent arrears caused by coronavirus?
How to submit evidence
- Find the select committee inquiry you would like to contribute to.
- Read their call for evidence carefully, look at the questions they’re asking and pick out the ones you’d like to answer (you don’t have to answer every question!).
- Write a short introduction about you/your organisation (50-100 words). This should explain your link to the subject – tell the committee why they should listen to you.
- Set out the answers to the questions in a document. Make it clear which question you’re answering, and keep your contribution short and to the point.
- Try to substantiate your evidence with facts and research – committees love this.
- Once you’re finished, pick out the three or five key messages you want people to take away from your evidence and put these as bullet points at the very top of your evidence.
- Submit your evidence via the inquiry document portal.
What happens next
Any evidence submitted evidence will be sorted through and read committee staff. They’ll try to understand the key themes/findings recurring throughout the many pieces of evidence they receive, and present this to the committee members (MPs or Peers). Committee members themselves may also read through some of the individual pieces of evidence too.
Committee staff also make recommendations about who the committee should invite to give ‘Oral Evidence’, so if your evidence is really interesting you may be asked to meet with the committee where they can question you about your experience and opinions in person (or virtually!). This is usually broadcast on Parliament TV.
After a few oral evidence sessions committee members will produce a report based on what they’ve heard and read. This will contain some recommendations to Government on what should be done. The Government must then respond to the committee.