Blog Type, IPT Blog | May 2017

Industry and Parliament Trust Fellowships in the 2015-17 Parliament

For the next post in our Election Series, we are taking a look back over the IPT Fellowship programme during the 2015-17 Parliament.

Overview

The 2015-17 Parliament was one of the shortest parliaments since 1966. Over the duration of the Parliament the IPT Fellowship programme went from strength to strength with over 100 parliamentarians taking part in the programme. In total, 63 MPs, Peers and Parliamentary Officials applied to take part and 20 parliamentarians were awarded Fellowships for completing the programme. In addition, 19 parliamentarians continued with Fellowships which they began before the 2015 General Election*. 

*These figures are inclusive of parliamentarians who both completed the full Fellowship programme and then applied to undertake a Postgraduate Fellowship with the IPT

Breakdown of Fellowships

Type of Fellowship

Over 70% of all Fellowships between 2015 and 2017 were full Fellowships, which last for 15 days, and one MP also successfully completed the Associate Fellowship programme, which consists of 6 days of Fellowship placements in order to help them better understand issues facing businesses and industry.

Postgraduate Fellowships made up 9.8% of all Fellowships. This number is smaller than the full Fellowship figure as they are only available for parliamentarians who have already completed the full Fellowship programme and it is designed to allow parliamentarians to explore an issue or sector of interest in more detail. Fellowships are also available to senior Parliamentary Officials working within parliament and these made up 13.7% of all Fellowships during the last Parliament.

The Courts and Tribunals Fellowship Scheme accounted for 3.9% of all Fellowships. This scheme, which is run in collaboration with the Royal Courts of Justice and other senior branches of the judiciary in England and Wales provides MPs and Peers with an opportunity to learn more about the legal system in England and Wales.

Fellowship Visits

Between 2015 and 2017, 191 days of Fellowship visits took place to 94 organisations. The visits ranged from boardroom style briefings with senior business leaders to hands-on site visits where the parliamentarians were able to get involved and find out more about how the business operates. 

The most popular sector for visits was manufacturing which made up 19.48% of all Fellowship visits. Transport was second with 18.18% and media and broadcasting was third with 10.38%. 

Fellowship Focus

The Fellowship programme allows parliamentarians to gain first-hand experience of industry in order to better understand the issues and challenges it currently faces. Parliamentarians often pick their Fellowship focus based upon a range of factors such as their constituency interests, membership of parliamentary committees and their own background and interests. Often parliamentarians use the Fellowship programme to increase their knowledge of an area they have little experience of.

The Fellowships which took place during the 2015-17 Parliament focused on a wide range of sectors from traditional manufacturing and construction, to skills and employment and energy. 

Gender

Between 2015 and 2017, the gender split of those taking part in the Fellowship programme was 39% female and 61% male. Out of the MPs who undertook or completed Fellowships during the last Parliament, 32% were female. This figure is slightly higher than average given that 30.2% of all MPs are female.



Political Party

All major political parties were represented in the Fellowship programme in 2015-17, with the Conservatives making up 37%, Labour 33%, Scottish National Party (SNP) 7% and the Liberal Democrats 6%. In addition, the Fellowship programme saw one Plaid Cymru MP sign up and one Crossbench Peer continue with their Fellowship. The last Parliament also brought with it the first ever SNP MPs signing up to the Fellowship programme. This was a result of the SNP’s landslide victory at the 2015 General Election where they won 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats. A further 15% of Fellowships were undertaken by non-political parliamentary officials. 


Summary

Although short, the 2015-17 Parliament was extremely successful for the Fellowship programme. Part of the reason for this success was the influx of new MPs in 2015, along with a large new intake of Peers in the House of Lords. These both provided a new group of parliamentarians who were interested in taking part and expanding their knowledge and experience through the Fellowship programme.

It is still to be seen what impact the General Election will have on the Fellowship programme, however we would like to say thank you to all the MPs, Peers, Parliamentary Officials and organisations who helped to make the programme so successful.