Select Committee training for senior criminal justice figures
Turning a challenge into an opportunity
House of Commons Select Committees provide a vital role in the UK Parliament, both in terms of scrutiny and wider policy insight. They are chaired by hard-hitting, highly-experienced political operators. As such, any appearance before one is not to be taken lightly: many reputations have been shredded in an hour or two of questioning, broadcast live, and widely reported on social and traditional media. Our clients – senior public figures in the criminal justice system – wanted to know what to expect, and how to best prepare, manage the challenges and turn the experience into an opportunity.
Crest provided a thorough introduction to Select Committees, their purpose and powers, and explained the mechanics of how an evidence session works. We showed our clients videos of past sessions, and gave them clear guidance on how to prepare and dos and don’ts on the day. We worked with them on their messaging and likely lines of questioning, and then we ran mock hearing sessions where they were questioned by experts with first-hand experience of Select Committee work. We ran a separate session to focus on performing under pressure and how what is said may be reported in the media afterwards. We videoed the results and reviewed them with our clients to learn lessons, to ensure they were as well prepared as possible.
After their appearances our clients said they felt well-prepared and understood the context in which they were being asked to appear, the layout of the room, the procedure and the personalities involved. They were prepared for the lines of questioning, felt able to head off any criticism and were able to make positive points about the work they had been doing. The eventual report by the Committee reflected the points our clients had made, providing clear evidence of the impact they had.