Supporting procedure at the heart of British democracy

Medha Bhasin

Medha Bhasin (MPP 2017) was awarded the prestigious Duke of Cambridge Scholarship in recognition of her outstanding potential as a future British leader. After learning about global challenges during her undergraduate degree in Geography, she decided to gain the applied skills that would allow her to have an impact at policy level.

“If you change a policy framework, you can affect thousands of people. By doing the MPP, I wanted to get a deeper understanding of how to tackle issues facing people around the world. It was a chance to get a professional toolkit that I could use in my work.”

As soon as she finished the MPP, she took up a place on the House of Commons Graduate Development Programme, beginning her career in public service. During the four-year graduate scheme, Medha will work with the UK parliament across many policy areas, scrutinising government policy and supporting democratic processes. The programme allows her to take on a variety of positions in different teams within the House of Commons and to work with Members of Parliament across the political spectrum.

In her current role as Clerk of Public Petitions, she gives procedural advice to the public and MPs on drafting petitions, making sure they conform with parliamentary procedure before they are presented in Parliament for debate. She is also the Second Clerk of the Committee on Standards, which oversees the conduct of MPs and publishes reports on alleged bullying, sexual harassment or financial misconduct.

Closely linked to the Committee on Standards is the Committee on Privileges, where Medha also holds the role of Second Clerk, contributing to the smooth running of meetings and inquiries. The Committee oversees MPs’ powers and privileges and investigates suspected breaches. Her varied role at the heart of the House of Commons is helping her gain specialist knowledge on the workings of the British Parliament and leads on perfectly from the knowledge she acquired on the MPP.

“In my career, I want to be involved in public policy, so it makes sense to start at the centre, getting a deep understanding of how the system works. The graduate scheme has shown me that procedure is essential to policymaking. I have studied public policy issues at the Blavatnik School, and now I am learning how these issues are addressed following procedure.”

She has been making extensive use of many of the transferable skills gained on the course; communication, presentation and negotiation, as well as the academic learnings. “By providing me with a firm grounding in many disciplines, the MPP has given me the confidence to interact with senior colleagues.”

In the next stage of the graduate development programme, she hopes to move on to being second clerk of a departmental select committee where she will be responsible for managing inquiries, holding evidence sessions with MPs and synthesising the evidence into reports. “I’ll be able to use the practical and applied skills from the MPP more and more; making public policy recommendations and drafting reports.”

Medha wants to position herself to make the biggest possible difference in her career – both now and in the future. She looks forward to taking on more responsibility and working in different areas as she progresses through the House of Commons graduate scheme.

“As a recent graduate, it can be challenging to find ways to have a big impact, so you need to think about your career in broader terms; it’s much more than just your first job. There’s a brilliant culture that fosters learning and understanding here so you can become a better clerk and achieve your wider career goals.”

March 2019