All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.
Despite APPGs’ unofficial status, there is official guidance on the rules and regulations that apply to all APPGs. This guidance was drawn up and approved by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, an independent officeholder, and the Committee on Standards, a cross-party select committee made up of MPs.
The Committee on Standards launched a wide-ranging inquiry into APPGs in October 2020. This inquiry is taking a closer look at the rules and regulation of these groups and is investigating how they can contribute to the high standards of conduct within the House. The inquiry marks the first in-depth investigation into APPGs since the Standards Committee previously reviewed them in 2013.
Since the launch of the inquiry, the Committee on Standards has held several public evidence sessions to take expert advice and opinions from interested individuals inside and outside the House. This has included organisations, companies, think tanks and academics, journalists and members of the public. In September last year, the Committee heard evidence from transparency specialists and the leading professional bodies for public relations practitioners. More recently, the Committee took evidence from leading policy experts and public affairs professionals in January.
I welcome the Standards Committee’s work on this inquiry, which I hope will support APPGs in the valuable work they do while ensuring they are run openly and transparently.