Guide for Witnesses to House of Commons Select Committees

Guide for Witnesses

Detailed guidance for giving written or oral evidence has been prepared and can be downloaded at the end of this page. This page summarises the main points.

When a Committee conducts an inquiry they often request written evidence from interested parties. Committees may also identify possible witnesses that they wish to take oral evidence from.

Written Evidence

Written evidence should consist of the following documents:

A covering letter containing:

  • name and contact details
  • any request to give oral evidence
  • any request for information to remain confidential

A memorandum containing:

  • a summary of the main points you are making
  • a brief introduction about you
  • factual information you would like the committee to be aware of
  • any recommendations that you would like the committee to consider including in its report

Please note: written evidence is often published and made available in a report and on the internet.

Oral evidence

Oral evidence usually takes place in public in one of the Commons committee rooms.

Prior to the hearing:

  • Committee staff will contact you to inform of any administrative arrangements.
  • Committee staff will usually be able to give you an informal briefing highlighting potential lines of questioning.
  • You should let committee staff know the name and job title of the witnesses.

On the day of the hearing:

  • Please arrive 20 minutes before you are due to appear.
  • If other witnesses are to appear before you, it is helpful to if you can attend their session, so that you are in a position to comment on that evidence.
  • The session is in the form of a question and answer session.

After the hearing:

  • Send any further information you have agreed to provide the committee to the committee staff as soon as possible.
  • Correct the transcript of your evidence which will be sent to you by the committee staff with instructions.

Please note: you should contact committee staff if you suspect your evidence may relate to proceedings which are before a court of law, or court proceedings are imminent.

Further information

Guide for witnesses (PDF PDF 431 KB)
Provides detailed guidance for individuals and organisations giving written or oral evidence to a House of Commons select committee.