Talk:Westminster Forum Projects

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The Westminster Forum Projects operates a group of influential, impartial and cross party forums. Its primary aim is to influence public policy debate, it achieves this through operating several forums which bring together the views of different stakeholders concerned with various issues. This private group organises seminars and publications on public policy in each of these sectors mentioned below for mainly policy makers, delegates as well as those who may simply have an interest in the issues. The Westminster Forum Projects themselves aim to be impartial and focus on providing others with the opportunity to share and understand the positions of various stakeholders in one issue. According to its website, [1]none of the forums have a policy of its own, its agenda is seemingly to raise the quality of debate on public policy issues which create avenues for more informed discussion therefore apparently providing the best public policy. There are a number of different aspects included in the Westminster Forum projects which are listed below. Our main areas of concern are Westminster Health Forum and Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd and the relationship between them along with Associate Parliamentary Health Group and Policy Connect and how they are connected. A brief outline of the aims of the Westminster Forum Projects in general is given below.

The Forums

The Westminster Forum projects include:


"The first of the forums was the Westminster Media Forum, which began as a series of annual meetings organized on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Media Group in 1996. The BBC in 2002 suggested that we intensify activity as the Communications Bill was going through Parliament, and so much else was happening in this space. Then in 2003 Parliamentary Patrons of the WMF suggested there was a need for a similar forum on nutrition and health issues. We later added a separate series on electronic commerce and telecoms the eForum and then the Westminster Education Forum in 2004. Other Forums have been launched since at the suggestion of Parliamentarians, officials, businesses and others."[2]


All the Westminster Forum Projects forums receive substantial support and involvement from key stakeholders within Parliament, government, regulatory bodies, industry, consumer's organisations and other interested groups. However all of the money originates from only two sources according to the Westminster Forum Projects website, it states "All WFP forums derive revenue from two sources: sponsorship and the cost of individual tickets to events or copies of publications. There is no other funding."[3]

Programme of Events

“The aim of Forum activity is to be indispensable to all responsible stakeholders in contributing to development of the best possible public policy in the sector. So events are only held when there are real current issues to discuss and there is an opportunity for stakeholders to affect outcomes”.[4]

The events usually take place when there is a need for them for example if there is an issue of concern that seems worth raising information and discussions about they will hold a seminar or if decisions are due to be made or implemented.

The events that are organised are confidential discussions and informal meetings that are regularly held with senior officials in government departments and regulatory bodies, with Special Advisors to Secretaries of State and No 10 Downing Street, along with Parliamentary Patrons and core sponsors. The events that are arranged help to shed more light on key issues and also highlight any issues that may be unresolved and need more discussion. They also help to understand the developments in different stages of policy formulation, consultation and implementation. Industry, support services, interest groups and academics are also consulted in these matters and it all helps to schedule and structure the events appropriately.


Overall, there are many groups which influence Westminster Forum Projects, and in particular the Westminster Health Forum and other aspects of public health policy. From our findings, it is difficult for the forum to remain impartial. Despite its claims to be balanced and impartial, the individuals concerned with the forum. Christopher Whitehouse who is the director of the Whitehouse Consultancy Ltd, and Peter van Gelder, who is the director of the Westminster Forum Projects both have ties with lobbyist groups and various forums which could influence their opinion and therefore the Westminster Forums. Our research has also shown that there is a relationship between Policy Connect and the Associate Parliamentary Health Group. Policy Connect deals with All Party Groups by bringing their cause to the attention of MP's and lobbying to have the groups concerns raised in Parliament. The Associate Parliamentary Health Group is one of these All Party Groups. However, it can be argued that the claims of these groups to be impartial and balanced may also be in question because of the agendas of both the private institutions as well as the individuals involved.


  1. Westminster Forum Projects; About us Westminster Forum Projects website (accessed 15 April 2010)
  2. Westminster Forum Projects; About us Westminster Forum Projects website (accessed 20 April 2010)
  3. Westminster Forum Projects; About us Westminster Forum Projects website (accessed 20 April 2010)
  4. Westminster Forum Projects; About us Westminster Forum Projects website (accessed 20 April 2010)