Sheerman has served as Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 1983-88, Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 1983-88, Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 1988-92 and Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 1992-94. He has chaired the Commons Education Sub-committee 1999-01, Education & Skills Committee 2001-07, and the Children, Schools and Families Comittee 2007-10.
Sheerman co-founded Policy Connect, a lobbying outfit which helps clients to get close to decision makers.
In 2011 he was a member of six of the All Party Groups that were clients of Policy Connect. Between 28 February 2010 and 31 July 2011 Sheerman was both an MP and a member of staff at Policy Connect. He received £2200 for twenty hours work a month for chairing meetings and advising on policy. 
In June 2013 PRWeek reported that Policy Connect holds more parliamentary passes than any other organisation through its secretariat work for eight groups - three All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) and five Associate Parliamentary Groups. Six staff holding passes for the provision of secretariat services for four APGs. 
- Clare Coghill Councillor, London Borough of Waltham Forest 
- Rory Graham 
- Clare Morley Chief executive, Policy Connect 
- Jack Phipps 
- Katherine Thrower 
- Barry Sheerman Express, accessed 19 May 2015
- Mr Barry Sheerman, www.parliament.uk, accessed 9 November 2013.
- All Party GroupsRegister of All Party Groups accessed 25 April 2010
- Register of Members Interests 20th February 2012 Barry Sheerman UK Parliament Publications, accessed 7th March 2012
- Lynsey Barber, The real influencers in Westminster outnumber lobbyists, prweek.com, Thursday, 13 June 2013, 8:00am, acc 2 Sept 2013
- Register of interests of members' secretaries and research assistants, 23 March 2016, parliament.uk, accessed 25 April 2016