Authored article

The legislation game

A way of interesting civil servants in the legislative process.

Hayley Rogers, Office of the Parliamentary Counsel
Hayley Rogers, Office of the Parliamentary Counsel
Hayley Rogers, Office of the Parliamentary Counsel

Scratching my head over how to interest civil servants in a training course on the legislative process, I hit on the idea of creating a board game that would lead players through the process, from initial ministerial bright idea to fully implemented Act of Parliament.

For the uninitiated, this journey can often feel rather like an arcane game of snakes and ladders, so a board game seemed like the ideal way of bringing it to life. We were up against a deadline, so I drew the board freehand, and a group of us pooled our collective war stories on bills to come up with some realistic “chance” cards that would send players backwards or forwards through the process.

And so “Legislate?!” was born… that was four years ago, and since then it has been played by hundreds of civil servants at training events, along with students visiting Parliament and members of the public during Parliament Week. It has proved a popular and engaging way of helping people to understand the legislative process, with many comments along the lines of “It’s surprising anything ever makes it into law!”.

For some time now we’ve been asked whether we could make the game more widely available, and one player who came along to last year’s Parliament Week event just happened to work for GDS. Terence Eden offered us his expertise to turn the hand-drawn board into something digital, and the cards instructions for players and background information for facilitators into something printable.

You can access everything you need to play “Legislate?!”. If you have feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

Office of the Parliamentary Counsel colleagues
Office of the Parliamentary Counsel colleagues
Published 6 March 2018