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Advanced Parliamentary Theory and Practice

Key information

Subject area:

Public Policy, Politics & Security

Course type:

Executive Education

Credit level:


Credit value:



4 weeks

Available course dates:

To be confirmed

Course overview

Parliaments and legislatures are central institutions to a democracy. They are subject to numerous demands, both from within the constitutional system, and from electors and the media. While public reverence towards institutions has long since declined, the expectations placed upon them have only increased. And though this scrutiny principally targets the politicians, who are members of them, legislatures can only be as effective as the staff who work for them.

This module will introduce you to the different functions that these officials will be required to perform, and the wider concerns involved. You’ll find this module particularly useful if you are an official in legislature, especially in Westminster-model systems, whether in the single House of a unicameral legislature or either House of a bicameral equivalent.

The aim of this module is to enable you to better appreciate the theoretical issues encountered and apply them in a way that improves their effectiveness. You will be provided with insight into how to maximise their effectiveness, and the challenges and opportunities that are likely to arise. It will also consider, from the perspective of parliamentary officials, how the institution of Parliament can support members in performing their representative roles.

What does this course cover?

Week 1: The foundation, context, and makeup of the Parliament

This week explores the purpose of a Parliament or legislature, revealing the key institutions, structures and relationships within. Building on this, we will consider the role of political members of legislatures. What are their priorities and needs? And, how do we reconcile them with issues of non-partisanship, impartiality and objectivity on the part of officials?

Week 2: The role of parliamentary officials

Policy and financial scrutiny, legislative processes, providing research services or logistic support are all part of the different forms work produced by parliamentary officials. This week will encourage participants to consider the means of achieving effectiveness in these various activities, and the part that international organisations can play in facilitating success.

Week 3: Parliamentary officials: roles and careers

The final week will centre on personal development and relationship management. It will consider career structures for parliamentary officials, discussing the different types of skills that are needed, and how far they are transferable between different roles within the legislature.

What will I achieve?

Upon completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Anticipate and respond to the real-world challenges facing parliamentary staff, and assess and use different models that can be applied to your parliamentary tasks
  • Critically analyse the challenges of parliamentary officials’ roles, and match competing demands from political sources with your duties.
  • Evaluate the ways in which officials can support institutions’ functions, personally adapt to new work formats and apply acquired skills and knowledge.

Who will I learn with?

Andrew  Blick

Andrew Blick

Head of the Department of Political Economy and Professor of Politics and Contemporary History

Olga Siemers

Olga Siemers

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy

Who is this for?

This short course is for mid-career professionals. Standard entry requirements are a 2:1 degree plus 3 years of relevant work experience. Applicants without a 2:1 or higher degree are welcome to apply and typically require 5+ years of relevant work experience.

How will I be assessed?

One written assignment, plus participation in webinars and discussion forums.

Our modules offer high levels of interaction with regular points of assessment and feedback. Each four week module is worth five Master's level academic credits and includes three webinars with a King's lecturer and peer group of global professionals.

What is the teaching schedule?

Format: Fully online, plus 3 x 1-hour weekly webinars

This module has been designed specifically for an online audience. It uses a range of interactive activities to support learning including discussion forums, online readings, interactive lectures videos and online tutorials.

Fees and discounts

Tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Further information

Module Creator

Dr Andrew Blick, Senior Lecturer in Politics and Contemporary History. Andrew is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Contemporary History and Director of the Centre for British Politics and Government. Alongside his role at King’s he is also Director of History & Policy—a UK-wide initiative—led from King’s College London and the University of Cambridge, that brings together historians and policymakers.

Please note that this is only indicative information. Lecturers and course content are subject to change. Please contact us directly for the most recent information.

Course status:

Course closed

Full fee £1200

Discounts available

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