Liaison Committee inquiry on Scrutiny of Strategic Thinking Across Government:

Submission from House of Commons Climate & Environment Hub


About the Climate & Environment Hub

The Climate & Environment (C&E) Hub is one of three pilot Hubs launched in April 2023 as part of work arising from a review of careers in the policy, research and analysis (PRAC) community for House of Commons staff. The PRAC community comprises colleagues from the Select Committee Team, Chamber & Participation Team and Research & Information (including the House of Commons Library and the Parliamentary Office for Science & Technology [POST]). In addition, the C&E Hub is open to staff in equivalent teams in the Lords.

The Hub sits alongside existing team structures, to better enable staff across different teams to deliver policy, research and analysis for Members, collaborate and develop professionally. It also aims to facilitate better connections with relevant internal and external stakeholders.

Request for evidence

The Head of the C&E Hub received a request from the Clerk of the Liaison Committee (LC) on 9th January 2024 seeking evidence about the practice of select committees in scrutinising strategic thinking, to feed in to the LC Sub-Committee inquiry on Scrutiny of Strategic Thinking Across Government, launched in June 2023. The question posed was:

Rather than seeking separate submissions from a range of committees, the Hub was asked to coordinate a response drawing on the experience and knowledge of the PRAC community in the Climate & Environment policy area, in light of the fact that one of the three case studies referred to in the call for evidence was the UK’s net zero commitments while maintaining energy security.

Focus Group

In response to the request, the C&E Hub held a staff focus group discussion on 1st February 2024. The group considered the headline question outlined above alongside other relevant questions in the inquiry Terms of Reference.


The key points raised in the focus group discussion were as follows:

      Formal joint sessions/inquiries

      Informal ‘guesting’ arrangements

      Umbrella’ inquiries (which typically feature a series of one-off evidence sessions linked by a particular theme – an example being the Environmental Audit Committee’s ‘Technological Innovations and Climate Change work stream)

      Follow up sessions or inquiries scrutinising progress against long-term strategies