The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Tom Caygill

Teaching Fellow - Politics

Background

I am a Teaching Fellow in British Politics and teach on a range of modules covering, comparative politics, British politics and UK parliamentary politics.

My research interests lie in British politics and in particular legislative studies. I have recently completed a PhD on post-legislative scrutiny in the UK Parliament.

I tweet at: @thomascaygill


Qualifications:

  • 2019: PhD in Political Science: Newcastle University
  • 2014: MA Politics (Research): Distinction. Newcastle University.
  • 2013: BA (Hons) British Politics and Legislative Studies: Upper Second Class. University of Hull.


Achievements:

  • 2015: PSA/House of Commons Committee Office Placement
  • 2014: ESRC PhD Studentship (Newcastle University)
  • 2013: Parliamentary Outreach/Higher Education Academy Bursary (University of Hull) 
  • 2009: Scholarship (University of Hull)


Positions held elsewhere:

  • 2016: Intern. House of Commons Petitions Committee. UK Parliament.
  • 2014: Research Assistant. Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira. University of Hull.
  • 2011: Intern. Parliamentary Office of an MP. UK Parliament.


Memberships:

  • Political Studies Association: Parliaments Specialist Group.
  • European Consortium for Political Research: Standing Group on Parliaments.
  • Study of Parliament Group (executive member).


Research Cluster:

Governance and Political Organisations (Politics)

Research

PhD Title:

A critical analysis of post-legislative scrutiny in the UK Parliament


Supervisors:
 

Dr. Nick Randall and Dr Alistair Clark


Project Summary:


Post-legislative scrutiny is defined by the Law Commission as: 'a broad form of review, which addresses the effects of legislation in terms of whether intended policy objectives have been met and, if so, how effectively'.

It has been a core task of departmental select committees in the House of Commons since 2002. Since 2012 a more systematic approach has been taken by both government and parliament, with the House of Lords Liaison Committee promising to appoint at least one ad hoc committee per session (House of Lords Liaison Committee, 2012) and government departments being required to prepare and publish memoranda, assessing whether an Act of Parliament has met its key objectives, within three to five years of the Act entering the statue books (Cabinet Office, 2012; Kelly, 2014; Kelly & Everett, 2013). These memoranda are then presented to departmental select committees for additional scrutiny.

However due to a lack of systematic study, we do not know how the process operates in practice. We do not know; the ways in which it can be undertaken; how the formal processes have been carried out and with what frequency; what the experience has been of parliamentary committees undertaking post-legislative scrutiny; what recommendations have arisen from post-legislative scrutiny; how many recommendations have been accepted by the Government and with what consequence; what factors impact upon these choices and finally the extent to which recommendations are being followed up by committees. This research fills an important gap in our knowledge of how this particular core function of departmental select committees is undertaken. As Parliament has been undertaking such scrutiny for over ten years now, this is a timely study to assess how the UK Parliament is performing on this specific task.

This study has the potential to contribute to the existing literature on the impact of oversight committees (Benton & Russell, 2013; MacMahon, 1943; Rockman, 1984), and the comparative study of post-legislative scrutiny. In addition, the focus of post-legislative scrutiny on the evaluation of policy means that this thesis also has the opportunity to contribute to the existing literature on policy evaluation (Dolbeare, 1975; Rist, 1995). Finally there is also scope for this thesis to contribute to debates on, the legislative process, parliamentary scrutiny and in particular the work of parliamentary committees.


Presentations:

Workshops/Seminars:

  • Centre for Legislative Studies Workshop on Post-Legislative Scrutiny. ’A critical analysis of the extent and effectiveness of post-legislative scrutiny in the UK Parliament: An Overview’. Hull, UK. (May 2015).
  • NCL Politics PGR Workshop. 'Post-Legislative Scrutiny in the UK Parliament: A reflection'. Newcastle, UK. (May 2016).
  • NCL Politics PGR Workshop. 'Post-Legislative Scrutiny in the UK Parliament: What the descriptive data tells us'. Newcastle, UK. (March 2017).
  • NCL Politics Seminar Series. 'Post-Legislative Scrutiny recommendations - their strength, acceptance and the factors that impact'. Newcastle, UK. (May 2017).
  • HaSS Research Showcase. 'Accounting for post-legislative scrutiny recommendations and their acceptance'. Newcastle, UK. (June 2017).
  • Westminster Foundation for Democracy Academic Seminar on Post-Legislative Scrutiny. 'A Tale of Two Houses? Post-legislative scrutiny in the UK Parliament'. London. (July 2018).
  • Westminster Foundation for Democracy Expert Seminar on Legislative Impact Assessments and Post-Legislative Scrutiny. 'Formalising Post-Legislative Scrutiny: The Case of the UK Parliament. London (April 2019).
  • The Wroxton Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians. 'The post-legislative scrutiny gap'. Banbury. (July 2019).

Conferences:

  • First Year Postgraduate Research Conference. ‘Post-Legislative Scrutiny in the UK Parliament: How, When and What Impact?’. Newcastle, UK (June 2015).
  • PSA Annual Conference 2017. 'Into the Unknown: Accounting for the Recommendations and Government Acceptance of Post-Legislative Scrutiny in the UK Parliament'. Glasgow, UK. (April 2017).
  • ECPR Specialist Group on Parliaments Summer School. 'Into the Unknown: Accounting for the Recommendations and Government Acceptance of Post-Legislative Scrutiny in the UK Parliament. Berlin, Germany. (August 2017).
  • PSA Parliaments Annual Conference 2017. 'Post-legislative scrutiny: The case of the Freedom of Information Act 2000'. Edinburgh, UK. (November, 2017).
  • PSA Annual Conference 2018. 'A Tale of Two Houses? Post-legislative scrutiny in the UK Parliament. Cardiff, UK. (March, 2018).
  • PSA Annual Conference 2019. 'The post-legislative scrutiny gap. Nottingham, UK. (April, 2019).
  • [Forthcoming]. ECPR General Conference 2019. 'The post-legislative gap'. Wroclaw, Poland. (September, 2019)


Public Engagement:

Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (University of London) & Westminster Foundation for Democracy. Certified Course on Post-Legislative Scrutiny. Delivered a session on 'What happens after?'. (July, 2019).

UK Parliament. House of Commons Liaison Committee. 'The effectiveness and influence of the select committee system'. - Submitted: Written evidence of post-legislative scrutiny in the House of Commons (March, 2019).

UK Parliament. House of Lords Liaison Committee. ‘Review of investigative and scrutiny committees inquiry’.  – Submitted: written evidence on ad hoc committees and post-legislative scrutiny. (March, 2018). Evidence and recommendations included and cited in final report (July, 2019).

Scottish Parliament. Public Audit Committee: Business Planning Session. Gave oral evidence on post-legislative scrutiny. (September 2016).

Scottish Parliament. Public Audit Committee: Business Planning Session. Submitted written evidence on post-legislative scrutiny'. (September 2016).

Teaching

Current:

  • POL1017. Governing Under Pressure: The Politics of the UK and the EU. (2019-20). Seminar leader.

  • POL1047. Power, Participation and Democracy: Comparative Perspectives. (2019-20). Seminar leader

  • POL3046. Dissertation in Politics. (2019-2020). Dissertation advisor
  • POL3092: Political Parties and Elections in the UK. (2019-2020): Module leader
  • POL3111. UK Parliamentary Studies. (2019-20). Module leader.
  • POL8098/POL8099: MA Dissertation. (2019-2020: Dissertation advisor


Past: 

  • POL1045. Truth, Lies and Politics. (2018-19). Seminar leader


Publications