How do the Peers reach out to the Public?

Lord Soley

Hannah is a 15 year old student who has just completed a week of work experience with me. She was a bright and enthusiastic student very interested in the work we do and I said I would put her thoughts on the Blog. Here they are:

There are many ways in which the Peers from the House of Lords reach out to the public to engage and involve us in the democratic process.  Having just completed a week of work experience with Lord Soley, I have come to realise that a huge number of people are involved in a wide range of roles all aimed at raising awareness of the work of Parliament.  Most people know that there is a television programme, BBC Parliament, which airs the debates held in the both chambers, but a week spent in the House of Lords showed me that there is so much more to see.

Amongst the many new and exciting experiences I had during the week, was a visit to the education service, where I discovered that a variety of complimentary resources such as leaflets and DVDs are produced for schools.  I suspect that a worryingly large percentage of the public is unaware of the work done by the House of Lords, so the Education Department’s job is to make the information accessible and interesting to young people.  A programme designed to get young people involved, is the “Speaker’s School Council Awards”.  This is a national award scheme which recognises and celebrates excellence in school councils. It invites schools and colleges from across the country to nominate their most innovative and effective projects.

Another way in which the peers reach out to the public is through the “Outreach Programme”. This is designed to give schools the opportunity to either arrange for a peer to visit, or for pupils to attend a lecture in the Robing Room.  The Lords also host a schools’  annual debate in the Chamber, to foster enthusiasm  in the art of public speaking.

A final element to the Outreach Programme is a competition, again aimed at young people, to nominate a potential peer. Past winners wrote essays and created videos to justify their reasoning.

During my busy and fascinating week, I became aware of all the above but also that this is just a flavour of the extensive work done by this austere body.

8 comments for “How do the Peers reach out to the Public?

  1. Lord Blagger
    18/07/2011 at 8:56 am

    Hannah is a 15 year old student who has just completed a week of work experience with me

    Minimum wage or less?

    • maude elwes
      18/07/2011 at 2:40 pm

      Goodness Blagger, the minimum wage is not necessary at that age.

      This in a country where it cost £1.50 for a cup of coffee.

    • ladytizzy
      18/07/2011 at 3:11 pm

      1. National Minimum Wage levels are not applicable to employees under 16.

      2. Work experience is a one, two, or three week placement for students to get, um, work experience. They are not workers as they remain students during this period.

    • Dave H
      18/07/2011 at 6:12 pm

      At fifteen, it’s more akin to a week’s worth of useful lessons in what to expect for the next sixty years. It’s part of education, not employment, and in many cases it costs employers something to divert an employee to supervise a work experience student and make sure they actually learn something useful from the week.

  2. Twm O'r Nant
    18/07/2011 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks to Hannah for taking the trouble to let me know, too, about her experiences of parliament.

    Have a good summer holiday now!

  3. Lord Blagger
    18/07/2011 at 4:52 pm

    Work experience … They are not workers

    Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we …

    • ladytizzy
      18/07/2011 at 9:29 pm

      I do hope you are not insinuating that I am intending to deceive you, Lord Blagger. I suggest you do your own homework from now on.

  4. MilesJSD
    19/07/2011 at 5:26 am

    (1) Lord Soley’s “work experience with me”, “very interested in the work we do”.
    Towards Clarification:
    A number of high-school students came to my plant-growing nursery for work-experience, specificly in “the practical growing of plants in a horticulture and market oriented small nursery, to give the students familiarity with every aspect of the work and actual beginner’s hands-on practical experience therein, except in hard or dangerous work”;
    (incidentally, “for 5 days (40 hours) per week, and a set weekly payment of ~£50”).
    Our “public’s” clarify question: so what were the specifics of Student Hannah’s work-experience, and in what locations ?
    (2) Student Hannah’s opening topic sentence is unclear, in two respects:
    (a) “Peers from the House of Lords” (reach out to the public from outside of the House of Lords ?)
    (b) also implying that the work-experience took place outside of the House ?
    (3) “There are many ways in which the Peers from the House of Lords reach out to the public to engage us in the democratic process”,
    Hannah then names a range of ‘reach outs’, but they are mostly to the Schooling system quite removed from the public-eye and from public-participation, and all are dominantly “one-way directivist”, House of Lords self-interested, and founded in pedagogicly-hiearchical-job-training: which is heavily oligarchic and minimally democratic,

    rather than being genericly public-interactive, “multi-way participatory”, British Democratic-Peoples’ Needs & Affordable-Hows oriented, and founded in androgogicly-egalitarian-life-education.

    Where Hannah says “I suspect that a worryingly large percentage of the public” (shouldn’t that be ‘The Public’ ?)
    “is unaware of the work done by the House of Lords”,
    this part of The Public thereby now has grounds for thinking that not only the House of Lords but the Schooling System (within which the individual work-experience student also) is unaware or disregarding of the Needs & Affordable-Hows of The Public.
    If the Governance, Education, and Community Sectors honestly and seriously intend Britain to be a Peoples-Participatory democracy, their first priority therein must be to be majorly and progressively enabling of every level of The People, in the microskills of democratic-governance;

    which will include appropriately sized packages of microskills in
    Firstly, two-way communication & cooperative-discussion; honest-formal-argumentation, moral-reasoning, and life-experience-reporting; and Method III Problem-Solving;
    Secondly, critical comprehension & scrutiny;
    and Lastly, Competitive debating.


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