Join three experts in the UK public affairs sector to discuss how the sector is reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic and what should be done to maintain policy engagement.
It has been confirmed by the First Secretary of State Dominic Raab that the UK lockdown restrictions will continue for at least another three weeks, and many will now be well-adjusted to remote working, not least in the public affairs sector.
Parliament, for example, has adapted to allow virtual questioning of Ministers for the first time in its 700-year history using Zoom once it returns from recess on 21 April.
The House of Commons Commission chaired by the Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has announced that following the delivery of ‘hybrid proceedings’ for questioning Ministers and for PMQs led by Dominic Raab in the Prime Minister’s absence, the House will then consider extending this model for debates, motions and legislation as soon as possible.
MPs are also able to consider new temporary arrangements for remote voting. Many select Committees have already held virtual committee meetings thanks to platforms like Zoom and this is set to increase in number when the House of Commons returns.
As the First Secretary of State set five clear conditions that must be met before the Government, led by its Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) Committee, will consider relaxing any of the measures brought in to reduce the spread of COVID-19, this situation is clearly set to continue into May and perhaps even longer. Raab said in terms of relaxing the strict health and economic restrictions: ‘We will only do it when the evidence demonstrates that it is safe to do it’.
MPs are finding that their workload in terms of constituency casework and enquiries has increased significantly. One senior MP advised Vuelio that they are seeing an increase in cases of people ‘trying to access the various business support schemes’ as well as those stuck overseas and trying to return to the UK, or people trying to access benefits through the DWP and needing assistance. MPs are also seeing traditional lobbying continue as well, with various advice and suggestions on how to deal with the pandemic being sent to Ministers and backbenchers daily.
With this ongoing challenge for the public affairs sector in mind, Vuelio is hosting a webinar to discuss some of the key issues for our sector including:
- How to keep your political audiences engaged during lockdown
- How COVID-19 could impact policymaking for the long term
- The implications for your organisational strategy
- Tactics for updating your stakeholder map
- The opportunities that exist for you to maximise engagement
The webinar guests are Robin Gordon-Farleigh, a former Downing Street communications strategist and adviser to two former Prime Ministers, Nicole Wilkins, Publisher of Foresight News and Rob Dale, PRCA Consultant of the Year 2019.
Sign up to attend the webinar or, if you can’t join us live, to receive the recording afterwards.