Select Committee Data Archive Project, 1979-Present (Mar 2015 - )

Lead G&S academic: Stephen Bates (

Academic partners: Mark Goodwin (Birmingham); Steve McKay (Lincoln)

Funder and funding: British Academy (£4,888)


The Wright Committee reforms implemented in 2010 contained important changes to the scrutiny and accountability functions of the UK Parliament and in particular to the functions of Select Committees. These reforms were described by The Times as 'the most significant change to the way that the House operates in 30 years' (Coates, 5-5-10). The project will utilise quantitative methods to create and analyse a comprehensive dataset covering the membership, activities and outputs of Select Committees of the House of Commons from 1979 (the date of previous major reform) to the present in order to permit an evidence-based evaluation of the Wright reforms, as well as providing a valuable resource for understanding this vital venue for executive-legislative interaction and for parliamentary involvement in the development and scrutiny of policy.

Project aims and objectives

The project will be guided by the following broad research questions:

  • What has been the impact of the Wright reforms on Select Committee membership, activities and outputs?
  • How do different groups of MPs behave in Select Committees?
  • How is Select Committee activity affected by the broader political and parliamentary context (e.g. size of majority, electoral cycle)?

More information

For further information about this project, please contact:
Dr Stephen Bates (