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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED2706 The UK Parliament: Between Tradition and Reform

20 creditsClass Size: 38

Module manager: Cristina Leston-Bandeira

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25


PIED1100British Politics

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module aims to introduce students to the UK Parliament and to how it has changed over time. Whilst it introduces students to the key literature and theories about Parliament, it also has a strong practical element that includes guest talks from parliamentary officials and assessment geared towards the development of key employability skills. The module is particularly suitable to those students who wish to pursue a career in public relations, lobbying, journalism, parliament or party politics. You need to have done British Politics as a pre-requisite to take this module, as an overall understanding of the British political system is required.


The objective of the module is to provide students with an overall introduction to the UK Parliament and, in particular, to how its role has changed over time.

It will provide students with key knowledge and understanding of the institution and of how it has changed. We will examine how the institution is organised, who MPs and Peers are and how they perform their representative role. We will then focus on key roles such as law-making and scrutiny and accountability, where we will explore in particular the role of Select Committees and of questions to the government. We will also consider how Parliament relates to outside actors such as the public, government and pressure groups. Throughout our enquiry we will identify the role played by tradition in Parliament, as well as outlining paths for reform.

The module has been developed in collaboration with the Parliamentary Outreach Service of the UK Parliament and includes guest talks by parliamentary officials and Clerks.

Whilst the module introduces students to the key literature and theories on Parliament, it also has a very practical insight. It is therefore particularly suitable for those students considering a possible career in public relations, lobbying, journalism, as well as in parliament itself or party politics.

The module’s assessment has a strong practical component. It consists of an MP Strategy Briefing, which actively encourages the use of resources from Parliament and puts students in a real life scenario. Besides analytical skills, it also therefore supports the development of key employability skills.

Learning outcomes
• By the end of the module students should be able to:

• Demonstrate understanding and breadth of knowledge about the workings and organisation of parliamentary activity;

• Identify and critically evaluate the different roles performed by the UK Parliament;

• Identify and critically evaluate the key changes that have affected the role of UK Parliament;

• Demonstrate the ability to use primary sources to support research on the UK parliament;

• Compare and contrast evidence to support a critical discussion of concepts.

Skills outcomes
Besides general transferable skills, through taking this module students will develop specific skills to Parliament: utilisation of parliamentary resources, ability to identify parliamentary procedures, research skills specific to parliament, writing of briefings.


1. Introduction to the UK Parliament

2. Who’s Who in Parliament?

3. Law-making

4. Scrutiny and Accountability

5. Select Committees

6. Visit to Parliament

7. Influencing Parliament

8. House of Lords

9. Representing the People

10. Parliament and Public Engagement

11. Formative feedback week

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Supervision Meetings10.300.30
Independent online learning hours10.00
Private study hours160.70
Total Contact hours29.30
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will be expected to prepare for each weekly seminar, by reading 2/3 key texts and undertaking associated simple tasks. This preparation enables seminars to be far more effective and explore issues in depth. Besides this, as all of the module’s topics are interconnected, this weekly preparation also helps students to perform particularly well in their assessment. Students will also be asked to keep up to date with weekly announcements summarising points addressed in classes.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative non-assessed 1000 word essay

Students will be asked to submit a formative assessment piece, which will consist of a plan and draft of their summative assessment. Each student will received individual formative feedback comments based on this piece. This will be communicated to each student individually, and feedback will also be discussed in one-to-one meetings between tutor and each student. This will be complemented by Academic Office Hours which students will be able to use to discuss their progress. Students¿ progress will also be monitored through the usual attendance monitoring processes, as well as engagement with the seminars discussions and activities.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
AssignmentStrategy Briefing for an MP 3000 word essay (End of Term)100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2024 16:19:20


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