All-party parliamentary group
All-party parliamentary groups
If a parliament consists of both a lower house and an upper house, all-party parliamentary groups can usually include members of both houses. In the Parliament of the United Kingdom, for example, APPGs include members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. APPG members meet together, relatively informally, to discuss a particular issue of concern. APPGs are either country based, e.g., the APPG on Zimbabwe, or subject based, e.g., the APPG on breast cancer - the topics reflecting parliamentarians' concerns. APPGs generally have officers drawn from the major political parties and strive to avoid favouring one political party or another. Inevitably, they tend to focus most on the governing party's priorities, discussing new developments and inviting government ministers to speak at their meetings. APPGs have no formal place in the legislature, but are an effective way of bringing together parliamentarians and interested parties. In the UK and many other countries, APPGs must be registered every parliamentary year and must hold an annual general meeting where the Chair and Officers of the area elected.
APPGs allow campaign groups, charities, and other non-governmental organisations active in the field to become involved in discussions and influence politicians. Often a relevant charity or other organisation will provide a secretariat for the APPG helping to arrange meetings and keeping track of its members. For example, while the APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development numbers over 70 MPs and Peers as members it also has a number of external stakeholders including NGOs, universities, scientific research centres and multilateral bodies. Similarly the Africa APPG which has over 180 members is administered by the Royal African Society and All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tribal Peoples is supported by indigenous rights organization Survival International as its secretariat. The UK parliament's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Homelessness and Housing Need, for example, is administered by the charity Housing Justice. Other APPGs may be somewhat more frivolous in nature, such as the UK parliament's All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group.
Associate parliamentary groups
In the Parliament of the United Kingdom, an associate parliamentary group is similar to an all-party parliamentary group except that it is made up of not only members of the House of Commons or Lords but can also include members from outside Parliament.
- All-party Parliamentary Groups BBC Democracy Live. Retrieved March 2011