Narrator>>At parliament we have lots of grand
old rituals and official language. People generally love it but it can scare others off a bit,
which is a problem when Parliament is so keen to engage directly with the rest of the country.
Select Committees are especially keen to hear from as wide an audience as possible when
they are investigating government performance. Many people think we are only ever after the views of
grand academics and heads of business, but the more varied people we have taking part
the better quality the evidence will be. Even If you have just a small amount of knowledge
or experience in something a Committee is investigating then you can contact them direct.
We call this collecting evidence but that sounds like a lot of law courts and oath swearing.
So think of it more as ‘calling for your experiences, your thoughts and views’. Don’t worry too much about our guidelines advising people who want to send in lengthy documents.
You only need to write as much as you want and you can just cover one tiny part of the
overall Inquiry. Its small details that make all the difference to our understanding. We do have pretty small staffs for each Committee so we do still need to hear from you in writing.
But it only needs to be readable. It doesn’t have to be a formal paper or anything. Sometimes we ask for your comments via social media or at special events. If you have special
educational requirements then, of course give the Committee a call and we can explain other
ways of contributing. You should soon see your contribution put up on our web pages and you can
follow the Inquiry and watch a small number of people being invited to come and speak
in public at Parliament. We call these people witnesses but please don’t think they are
compelled to come in. They are more often people who have sent us a particularly interesting
submission and who we want to share ideas with. Towards the end of an Inquiry you will
see that the evidence we have gathered from you becomes the basis of the much tougher
questions we then put to people who are in positions of power. And if we have had enough
contributions we can be sure we are asking them the right questions.