Engaging with policymakers

A quick masterclass in making your voice heard in government

Engaging with policymakers and government officials can feel confusing or even fruitless. However, with the right approach and communication style, connecting with and influencing the policy areas that matter to you can be easier than you think.

Continue below to explore resources for making your voice heard.

Why engage with MPs

Members of Parliament are responsible to you. They’ve been elected to act on your behalf. MPs can voice your concerns in Parliament by asking a question in the House of Commons, proposing a debate topic, writing to a government minister who will be obliged to respond, or sitting on a relevant Committee charged with scrutinizing the government on the topic.

Contacting your MP

  • Find out who your MP is and what their interests are.

    • You can find out who your local MP is by entering your postcode on Theyworkforyou.com. This site also allows you to see your MP’s interests and history of voting by policy issue.

  • Call or email your MP.

  • Write to your MP.

    • Address them at their Westminster address: House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.

  • Attend an MP surgery.

    • Surgeries with MPs are normally held in their electorate office. Be sure to check if you need to make an appointment first before attending a session with your MP.

  • Connect with your MP via social media.

    •  Connect by posting on their Twitter or Facebook pages. 

  • Respond to a Select Committee consultation or inquiry.

    • The Select Committees of both the House of Commons and House of Lords scrutinise Government’s policies.

    • Both Committees regularly issue consultations or inquiries on specific subject matters. Anyone can contribute to these calls for evidence, even if their contribution only pertains to part of the inquiry.

    • In some cases, the Select Committees may contact contributors for further evidence and invite contributors to discuss their submissions during an oral evidence session, with the Committee members.

    • You can find a list of the Commons Select Committees here and the Lords Select Committees here, where you can find their calls for evidence.

Contacting an MP involved in your policy interest

While it is normally easiest to get in touch with your local MP, you can raise an issue with MPs not elected by your constituency but who have expressed an interest in your field/campaign.

  • Respond to a Select Committee consultation or Inquiry – See above.

  • Contact the relevant Select Committee.

    • You can suggest an area you think a Committee should investigate by contacting Select Committee staff, which will be listed on the Committee’s webpages.

  • Contact an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) interested in your field.

    • Although APPGs are not formal Parliamentary Groups, they are cross- party groups run by members of Parliament established to focus on one area of interest.

    • APPGs are open to any member of the public, though you should contact an APPG’s Secretariat to find out when and where meetings are due to take place.

Top communication tips:

  • If writing to or emailing your MP, include your address in correspondence as MPs are only required to respond to constituents.

  • Keep it brief and succinct with clear asks and/or objectives. 

Get Involved in SfAM’s Policy Work

More resources for engaging with policymakers 

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Oral evidence sessions

Various SfAM members have given oral evidence to Select Committees as expert witnesses


Science Policy Workshop 2019

Find out about our Science Policy Workshop held last year

Houses of Parliament

Science for MPs Twitter activity

Find out how you can get involved with SfAM's #ScienceforMPs Twitter activity!

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Andrew Miller Policy Competition

To honour Andrew Miller’s legacy, SfAM has created the Andrew Miller Policy Competition, inviting participants to produce a short policy brief on a microbiology topic of their choice.