The commission is the independent body that was set up by Parliament in November 2000. It aims to increase public confidence in the democratic process within the United Kingdom - and encourage people to take part - by modernising the electoral process, promoting public awareness of electoral matters, and regulating political parties. In April 2002, the Boundary Committee for England (formerly the Local Government Commission for England) became a statutory committee of The Electoral Commission. Its duties include reviewing local electoral boundaries. The site provides details of the work of the commission.
The Electoral Reform Society is a membership organisation which campaigns for the strengthening of our democracy through changes to the voting system and electoral arrangements. In particular it advocates changes to the 'first past the post' system used from General Elections in the UK.
Site providing links to accounts of different voting systems. This shows a variety of formats in which 'proportional representation' has been adopted in different countries and different contexts around the world.
The Hansard Society is a long-established and independent educational charity which brings together MPs, Peers, academics, journalists, parliamentary staff, corporate affairs managers and others with an interest in the political process from across the political spectrum to promote effective parliamentary democracy.
This links to research reports on a wide range of constitutional issues including that of the Independent Commission on Proportional Representation, which was established by the Constitution Unit an independent think tank based in University College London. It looked at the operation of PR in the elections for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, European Parliament and Greater London Authority. The Commission was broadly based, with representatives from all the political parties, and reported in 2004.
Home page of the UK Parliament, providing links not only to the House of Commons and House of Lords, but also to the devolved Parliaments. It provides a wide range of sources of information about how Parliament works, for the general reader as well as the specialist.
Home page of the Scottish Parliament.
Home page of Senedd Cymru, the Parliament of Wales
Home page for the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Unparalleled site offering direct links to broadcast proceedings in all the UK parliaments and the European Parliament.
Homepage of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, established following the MP expenses scandal.
Site for all Bills presented to Parliament, including reports on how far they have progressed through Parliament with links to debates on the clauses contained in the Bills. Most files also contain explanatory notes setting out what the purpose of the Bill is, and they key stages that led to its publications.
Site of the National Archive, which brings together two sites, that of the Statute Law Database and the Office of Public Service Information. It gives the full text of all Public General Acts and Statutory Instruments passed since 1988, and also Local Acts passed since 1991. It also contains most Acts passed before 1988, but not Statutory Instruments. Where available, each Act contains links to the Explanatory Notes which seek to explain the legislative purpose of the Act.
Excellent infograph on how the principle of English Votes for English Laws should work. (The operation of EVEL was suspended in Feb 2020, during the Covid 19 pandemic.)
Parliamentary Counsel are a highly specialised team of about 60 lawyers with their own office in Whitehall. Their main work is the drafting of Government Bills for introduction into Parliament and related Parliamentary business.
For other web-based sources of legislation see websites listed for Chapter 1.
Delegated legislation - scrutiny bodies
Site of the social security advisory committee which scrutinises and consults on delegated legislation relating to social security.
Site of the Administrative Justice Council, the body which keeps the administrative justice system under review.
Report, published March 2003, from the House of Commons Select Committee on Procedure, proposing a new sifting process to identify items of delegated legislation which should be drawn to the attention of Parliament.
Comprehensive site providing links to government departments, public agencies, local government. This is the starting point for any research into new developments in Government, both central and local. It gives links to all the departments of state, and a huge number of other governmental organisations - all of which have their own websites.
The website for the office of the Prime Minister; links to significant developments in Government.
Homepage for the Government of Wales
Home page for the Civil Service and its work.
The Cabinet Manual sets out the main laws, rules and conventions affecting the conduct and operation of government.
Portal to the work of the Supreme Court, including educational material and judgements in decided cases.
Site providing all House of Lords judgments delivered between 1995 and 2009
Portal to the work of the judiciary - including reports of leading decisions of the upper courts.
For other web-based sources of law reports, see websites listed for Chapter 1.
Portal to the Council of Europe and its work
Portal to the European Court of Human Rights
Portal to the European Commission and its work
Link to excellent graphic on the law making process of the EU.
Portal to the European Court of Justice and its decisions
The monarchy today