National Audit Office: Transport departmental overview – Commons Library event


Thursday 24 Feb 2022, 15:00 – 16:00
Online (MS Teams)

This talk by staff from the National Audit Office (NAO) will give an overview of Department for Transport spending in 2020-21, its major areas of activity and performance, and the challenges it’s likely to face in the coming year (based on insights from the NAO’s work).

The NAO is the UK’s independent public spending watchdog. It supports Parliament in holding the UK Government to account and aims to help improve public services through its audits.

For further information and booking, please see here:

National Audit Office: School funding and financial sustainability of schools in England – Commons Library event


Thursday 10 Feb 2022, 15:00 – 16:00
Online (MS Teams)

This talk will focus on recent National Audit Office (NAO) publications which examined whether the Department for Education is distributing funding and supporting schools in a way that improves financial sustainability.

The NAO is the UK’s independent public spending watchdog. It supports Parliament in holding the UK Government to account and aims to help improve public services through its audits.

For further information and booking, please see here:

Oxford University Press demonstration


Wednesday 09 Feb 2022, 10:30 – 11:30
Online via MS Teams

Book in for a demonstration of two Oxford University Press reference services:
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography gives you access to biographies of people who have shaped British history and culture and who died in, or before, 2017.

Oxford English Dictionary is a guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over 600,000 words— past and present—from across the English-speaking world. As a historical dictionary, the OED is very different from dictionaries of current English, in which the focus is on present-day meanings. You’ll still find present-day meanings in the OED, but you’ll also find the history of individual words, and of the language—traced through 3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.

The session will be presented by a trainer from the Oxford University Press.

For further information and booking, please see here:

A short introduction to equality law – Commons Library Research Briefing


This new briefing from the Commons Library provides an overview of equality law, summarising the main concepts and the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

You can find the full briefing here:

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 consolidates most equality law into one Act. It prohibits conduct and creates duties in relation to ‘protected characteristics’. There are nine protected characteristics, listed in section 4 of the Act, ranging from age through to sexual orientation.

The Act prohibits direct and indirect discrimination, and harassment and victimisation. It also prohibits discrimination in relation to something arising from a person’s disability, and creates a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

The Act applies in various scenarios, including at work, in education and in relation to services and public functions.

Public authorities are subject to a Public Sector Equality Duty. The Duty means they must ‘have due regard’ to equality considerations when exercising public functions.

Except for in Northern Ireland, which has its own equality legislation, equality law is largely reserved to the the UK Parliament. The legal concepts in this briefing apply across England, Wales and Scotland.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission was established by the Equality Act 2006, with a duty to promote and encourage understanding of equality and human rights.

Individuals enforce their rights under the Equality Act 2010 before the courts. However, the Commission also has a range of powers at its disposal to enforce equality law at a more institutional level, and often strategically intervenes as a party to litigation if doing so could help develop equality law.

Forthcoming HOC Library Talks


The Commons Library is running a series of weekly talks starting 13th January covering topical issues, constituency casework, and statistics.

Their expert staff will cover:

and more.

There are also talks from the National Audit Office (NAO) on

You can browse and book all upcoming talks and watch previous talks on Act. Any questions please email

Constituency casework: asylum, immigration and nationality


Members of Parliament handle a high volume of immigration, nationality and asylum enquiries from constituents.

The Commons Library has produced a briefing which provides a brief overview of the UK’s immigration and asylum system and basic British nationality law.

It also outlines the legal restrictions on giving immigration advice, gives some suggestions on handling constituents’ enquiries, refers to some sources of information that may be helpful for straightforward questions, and highlights training courses available to Members’ staff.

House of Commons Library Research Briefings on Afghanistan


Parliament has been recalled on Wednesday 18 August 2021 to debate the situation in Afghanistan.

You can find relevant Commons Library research and analysis on the Commons Library website here:

Please note that the situation in Afghanistan is fast moving and briefings should be read as correct at the time of publication.

Commons Library Research Briefing: Directly-elected mayors


This briefing paper explains the status of directly-elected mayors in English and Welsh local government, and the routes to establishing them, including the use of local referendums. It also includes an up-to-date list of elected mayors and statistics on previous referendums.

Find the briefing here: