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House of Lords Reform and Expertise

06 Jul 2012

This report considers what the potential implications of reform are on the current level of science and engineering expertise in the House of Lords and how we can ensure that, with or without reform, such expertise can be easily accessed and deployed.

Science and engineering are vital to the health of the UK’s economy and wider society. Members of the House of Lords must be able to access and deploy expertise in these areas as effectively as possible.

Summary Recommendations

  • The proportion of the House of Lords which is appointed should be at least 30 per cent.
  • The Appointments Commission should become fully independent and should proactively seek new members, particularly in areas where expertise is found to be lacking.
  • The House of Lords and its members should seek to employ more staff with backgrounds in science and engineering, as opposed to predominantly from politics.
  • The resources of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee should be increased – not reduced, as recently proposed.
  • The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology should provide a comprehensive and compulsory induction programme aimed at new members, but also open to existing members, of both Houses.

House of Lords Reform and Expertise