The Policy Research Unit is a non-profit-making, pooled research facility based in the Houses of Parliament and open to Conservative MPs to join. It was established in 1998 and provides briefing, research, correspondence and related support for MPs exclusively in support of their Parliamentary duties. The PRU is independent of any political party and does not engage in, or assist with, party political activities.
The PRU is recognised as providing value for money with specialist researchers delivering economy of scale for subscribers.
Membership is on an annual basis and, as the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, (the body which oversees MPs' business costs) makes clear, the subscription may be paid from MPs' Parliamentary allowances. IPSA carried out a review of our operations in 2014 as part of a programmed review of pooled research services and on an ongoing basis is given open access to our operations and can see all of our output.
Value for Money
The PRU has long been recognised as being able to provide good value for public funds. The Review Body of Senior Salaries said in 2009: "In principle we welcome pooled research and support facilities for MPs since these have the potential to provide better value for money." In an earlier review by the same body, the Unit was described as being an "innovation" and staffed by highly educated "graduates who research topics in depth."