OPSI COVID-19 Innovative Response Tracker

The UK Parliament introduces new digital procedures

Innovative response

The UK Houses of Parliament have agreed various new procedural measures to enable it to function through a combination of socially distanced in-person activity and remote digital activity.

Select Committees are able to meet remotely and participate in official proceedings through conference calls and digital conferences.

The Speaker of the House of Commons also will publish in advance the order of speaking in debates, never done before, thus enabling Members to know when they are needed in the Chamber to speak. Only 50 MPs are now allowed in the House fo Commons at any one time. MPs can ask questions directly in the house via Zoom, and screens have been introduced in the chamber so that those present can see who is asking the questions.

An app is also being developed, based on the currrently existing MemberHub, that will allow MPs to vote remotely, but it has not yet been implemented (as of 28-April).

Specific issues addressed and anticipated impact

Parliaments are a vital public infrastructure, but are also places where potentially the virus can be transmitted easily. These new procedures should enable to parliament to function in a way it has never done previously in order to reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted.

Organisations/institutions involved

UK Houses of Parliament

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Issues being addressed:

  • Public service delivery under new circumstances