The first ever Evidence Week in parliament begins on Monday 25th June. Please can you read this and consider whether you can take one of the steps that will, taken together, make it succeed? This is quite new and for us to forge.
Amid an explosion of algorithms, complex trade offs, data and research, it is vital that MPs know how to sort out what is reliable and interrogate claims – because between elections, parliament is our means of raising issues and holding decisions to account. So from 25-28th June, we’ve organised Evidence Week – 4 days of punchy briefings, training and introductions to sources of help. It will be opened at lunchtime Monday 25th June by communities from all over the UK, representing everything from football to wetlands, inner city housing to autism, fertility support to journalism, bee keeping to small businesses. It would be such a waste for any MP to miss this.
Many of you have already told us you want to help. We would love to see some more of you at the opening event on Monday 25th at 12.30 – 13.30 in the beautiful Churchill Room overlooking the Thames at the Houses of Parliament. Here the community groups will speak briefly about why evidence matters to their communities. They are moving, inspiring and forthright about what they expect from politicians. Ministers, shadow ministers and chairs of parliamentary committees will be there to listen and respond. Here is what you could do to make a success of this and the rest of Evidence Week:
- Meeting MPs at the opening At this stage there are around 20 places left for outside visitors at the opening event. Would you like to come? If so, email us asap at firstname.lastname@example.org email or phone your MP (www.theyworkforyou.com) and ask them, or their representative, to meet you at the Evidence Week opening. If you would like to invite a peer and MPs you know professionally, please do the same. I’ve pasted below notes to help with emailing your MP.
- Meeting MPs at the stand All week we’ll have a drop-in exhibition in the busy Upper Waiting Hall, staffed by leading experts, Voice of Young Science and the community groups. You can arrange to meet your MP or their researcher (or any MP you have a professional association with) at any time for a few minutes or more to visit the stand. Particularly good times would be:
Wed 27th June between 1-3pm when the stand will be showing how to disaggregate data to understand inequality and the effect of interventions.
Thur 28th June 10am-1pm when the stand is showing local air quality readings from your constituency and how to cut through the complexities of dealing with it – a good way into talking about evidence with all MPs.
Again see below about notes on inviting them. Or email us for advice.
- Getting MPs to attend If you cannot come yourself, please still take a few minutes to email your MP and ask them to participate in the events or visit the stand. I’ve included variants for this below. Even one letter from a constituent is enough to make this happen.
- Helping the community groups And we have some community groups in need of help with their travel to Westminster – it’s expensive to reach London early enough. If you can put something towards this, please go to our Just Giving page.
This is the first time we’ve had such an opportunity for all of us, all over the country, to set out the case for reliable evidence in parliament. We know there are hundreds of you who want MPs to ask the right questions and challenge misleading information. Sense about Science is so pleased to be organising Evidence Week alongside the House of Commons Library, the Commons Science & Technology Committee, POST and SAGE publishing, and to be working with so many organisations to deliver training and sessions. We have only been able to embark on this because our supporters give so much practical help to our cause of sound science and evidence in public life. That’s why we are asking for you to get this across the line with these final steps.
Emailing your MP
Identify yourself as a constituent, giving your postal address, and tell them:
Next week is Evidence Week in parliament. Lots of people from many communities are coming to talk about why evidence matters to them, alongside a a full programme of briefings on seeking reliable evidence and a stand in the Upper Waiting Hall. On Monday 25th June, at the opening event, people representing community groups from across the UK will tell MPs why evidence matters in their lives. Ministers, shadow Ministers and chairs of committees will be there to hear them and to respond. It’s 12.30-1.30 at the Churchill Room.
I hope you will attend.
Would you or your assistant be available to meet me on Monday and attend the opening or meet me afterwards to visit the stand in Upper Waiting Hall?
Would you or your assistant be available to meet me at any point in Evidence Week and visit the stand in Upper Waiting Hall together?