The International Trade Committee has published five Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) for 2021 to help support the Committee’s scrutiny of UK trade policy. Each ARI comes with a series of questions aiming to further break down the broad areas. The ARIs focus on UK trade policy and include: Trade negotiations, Gender and trade, Food standards, Developing countries, and Foreign Policy and Trade.
- The International Development Committee is the first select committee to launch an area of research interest. Their ARI is focused on ‘changes to the UK aid budget’ and designed to help reinforce the Committee’s scrutiny of changes to the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget, the Integrated Review and the forthcoming Development Strategy (which will guide UK aid from 2022 onwards).
- Academics at all career stages, research institutions, and experts are encouraged to register their interest in this ARI, add their existing research and any planned research in this topic area to the ARI repository, provide their insights, and suggest questions that the Committee could be asking to the Government in the short, medium, and long-term.
- Those who respond to the survey will be entered onto a database of experts who may be contacted by parliamentary staff in order to help them scrutinise government in this area of interest. There is no need to contact committee staff directly, as they have access to all information you enter on the database.
International Development Committee
Commons Select Committee
The International Development Committee (IDC) is responsible for scrutiny of all UK aid and ODA expenditure, including aid spending by both the FCDO and other UK Government departments.
What are Areas of Research Interest?
Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) are lists of policy issues or questions. They are a way for an organisation to express interest in seeing more research evidence in certain topics.
How can researchers share their insights on the ARI?
If you have evidence or insights on the ARI (including evidence reviews): you can add information about the research and your contact details to the repository of existing and future research relevant to the ARI. If this area becomes a topic of scrutiny within Parliament, parliamentary staff may search the repository for relevant research and contacts.
If you are, or soon will be, carrying out research (including evidence reviews) in this topic area but findings are not yet available: you can add information about future research projects, likely publication dates, and contact details to the repository of existing and future research relevant to the ARI. If this area becomes a topic of scrutiny within Parliament, parliamentary staff may search the repository for relevant research projects and contacts. Once evidence is available, you can add that evidence to the repository at any time.
How does Parliament use ARIs?
ARIs are not an exhaustive list of all areas in which Parliament may be interested in research evidence in the future. Parliamentary priorities are driven by elected representatives responding to current affairs. In particular, select committees issue calls for evidence based on their current priorities; ARIs do not replace these calls for evidence. However, ARIs may be used by parliamentarians and by parliamentary staff in POST, the Libraries and select committee teams to scope and/or inform future work.
COVID-19 ARIs for the UK Parliament
In October 2020, POST published 20 COVID-19 Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) for the UK Parliament. ARIs were identified using the input of over 1,000 experts. They were then ranked in order of interest to UK Parliament research and select committee staff, following internal feedback. Each ARI comes with a series of questions aiming to further break down each broad area. The ARIs focus on the impacts of the global pandemic and range from economic recovery and growth, to surveillance and data collection, long-term mental health effects, education, vaccine development, and the NHS.
House of Commons Scrutiny Unit
The Scrutiny Unit forms part of the Committee Office in the House of Commons and exists to strengthen the scrutiny function of the House.
Experts have helped us find 30 areas of change to help the UK Parliament prepare for the future.
COVID-19 has increased demand for research evidence. In response the research and publication processes have sped up. What does this mean for scrutiny?