CPA Academy
CPA Parliamentary Academy

Online Courses

How does it work?

About our online curriculum

The CPA Parliamentary Academy online curriculum currently comprises of five programmes: 

  • CPA Parliamentary Professional Development Certificate
  • CPA Parliamentary Service Professional Development Certificate
  • CPA Public Financial Management Certificate
  • CPA Small Branches: Climate Change Certificate
  • CPA CPwD Network: Making Parliaments Accessible Certificate 

To be awarded a certificate, a student must complete and pass all relevant courses within the certificate programme. For the CPA Parliamentary Professional Development Certificate, students should complete courses 101 - 104. For the CPA Parliamentary Service Professional Development Certificate, students should complete courses 01 - 05. For the CPA Public Financial Management Certificate, students should complete course 201. For the CPA Small Branches: Climate Change Certificate and the CPA CPwD Network: Making Parliaments Accessible Certificate, students should complete courses 301 and 501 respectively. 

Once all of the relevant courses have been passed, the student should contact the CPA Headquarters Secretariat to receive the overall programme certificate. 

However, students also have the option to just take a standalone course. Once passed, students will be issued automatically with a single course certificate. 

Although each programme and course has been designed specifically for either Parliamentarians or Clerks and officials, the programmes and courses can be taken by either group if they wish. 

Who can register?

Free and discounted options are available

The CPA Parliamentary Academy online courses are open to anyone.

Courses are free to all Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff in active CPA Branches. Not sure if that includes you? Check our CPA Branches A - Z for a full list of CPA Members.

Non-Members can benefit from a range of paid options for groups and individuals. Discounts are available to partner organisations, non-Commonwealth Parliaments and academia.

We can also provide all-access institutional options to large organisations or academic institutions. Get in touch with our Academy team to discuss a tailored solution for your organisation.

Please note: If you have already registered for the CPA Parliamentary Academy and would like to enrol on a new course, you just need sign in above and choose a course to get started.

View the full pricing structure ->

What do we offer?

A lot!
Flexibility

Our online courses can be taken at any point throughout the year and can be completed whenever there is time to do so. There are no scheduled lessons and so busy professionals can undertake the training whenever and where-ever they wish. Courses, modules and lessons are short and sweet and easily digestible. No essays, no long exams, no uncomfortable exercises. The only challenges students face, are the ones they impose upon themselves. Whether students consider themselves beginners or experts, our courses are tailored for all.

Accessibility and Adaptability

Our online courses can be undertaken on the go. Hosted on the CPA website and developed to be accessed on laptops, tablets and even mobile/smartphones, our courses are designed to be available no matter what application is used. Our courses have also been designed for those with differing learning approaches, like reading, listening or through action.

Relevance and Reality

In designing the content of our courses, we chose not to take the overly theoretical and academic route. Instead, we wanted to uphold the core premise behind the CPA, which is that the only people who really know what it is like to be a parliamentarian, are other parliamentarians. As such, the content provides real life perspectives, case studies and practical advice.

A Global Perspective

Some courses have a tendency to be focused around one country or one system or approach. But we have strived throughout all our courses to offer a broad Commonwealth-wide approach. We offer examples and case studies from a vast variety of national and sub-national, large and small country perspectives, harnessing our global network. No other courses can provide so rich a learning experience.

Experience and Expertise

For all of our courses, we have sourced experienced global experts to provide and offer their insights and advice. From Speakers, Ministers, long-serving clerks and officials, parliamentary development consultants and even a former President, all have given their time and support. We have utilised the latest research and studies and incorporated them into our course curriculum. Our courses are structured to be engaging, instructive and have been tested and developed in broad consultation. We seek to continuously improve our courses by taking on-board the invaluable feedback of our students.

Affordability

We appreciate that professional development and learning can be overlooked due to personal and organisational resource limitations. Whereas we seek to recover our costs, we have worked hard to ensure our courses are affordable. Because learning is so important to us, we have even created a number of discounted rates to ensure as many people as possible can utilise our resources. 

CPA Parliamentary Professional Development Certificate

Courses 101 - 104

101 - Induction for New Parliamentarians

This introductory online course is designed for newly elected or appointed parliamentarians. It is also valuable for candidates running in elections, who are keen to get ahead of the curve should they be elected. It is equally valuable for parliamentarians’ staff who are new to the parliamentary scene. The course provides a useful overview of the key components of being a parliamentarian. Modules cover topics on legislating, scrutinising and holding the executive to account. There are a range of practical sections covering managing an office, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, constituency engagement, personal safety, ethics, communication and working with external stakeholders.

“THIS COURSE WAS INDEED VERY HELPFUL ON AREAS LIKE PROCEDURE AND CONDUCT... THIS COURSE ENCOURAGED TO ME TO DO MORE CPA COURSES TO GAIN MORE KNOWLEDGE.”

Course Level: Beginner

Course Length: 12 modules

Course Time (approx.): 4-5 hours

Course Price: £250 GBP (discounts apply - *free to CPA members and staff)

Register Here
Copyright UK Parliament

102 - Legislative Process

Or everything you wanted to know about legislating, but were afraid to ask! This online course looks in detail at the legislative process in a step-by-step way. The course looks at the various stages of a Bill and how to amend and scrutinise legislation. It covers all types of legislation, including Public, Private, Hybrid and even Money Bills. The course also looks at current trends around emergency legislation, and post-legislative scrutiny. Whether you are in parliament or not, it is a valuable resource in gaining an expertise in how to draft, amend or repeal laws.

Course Level: Beginner

Course Length: 9 modules

Course Time (approx.): 3-4 hours

Course Price: £150 GBP (discounts apply - *free to CPA members and staff)

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103 - Scrutiny, Accountability and Oversight

This course covers the many varied ways that scrutiny is conducted within parliaments, committees, and oversight bodies. From Public Accounts Committees to Audit Institutions, this course gives a detailed look at the types of scrutiny and accountability available to parliaments. This course also examines the role of scrutiny and accountability in the chamber by advising how to hold the government accountable during debates. By the end of this course students will have a clear understanding of the benefits and best practices of scrutiny within varied parliamentary and non-parliamentary settings.

“IT WAS A GOOD REFRESHER FOR THE BASICS OF SCRUTINY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND OVERSIGHT. EXAMPLES FROM DIFFERENT LEGISLATURES AND BEST PRACTICES WERE MOST USEFUL.”

Course Level: Beginner

Course Length: 8 modules

Course Time (approx.): 3-4 hours

Course Price: £150 GBP (discounts apply - *free to CPA members and staff)

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104 - Representation, Advocacy and Education

The Representation, Advocacy and Education course covers a range of topics relevant to contemporary parliaments and it explores the broad question of what is the role of a parliamentarian? You will also look at advocacy work within your role and how-to best advocate for your constituency, from gathering expert advice, to asking questions, and delivering rousing speeches. Furthermore, this course looks closely at engaging with your community such as working with higher education institutions and the benefits of public outreach and education. By the end of this course you will have an understanding of various engagement channels and how to best utilise them, as well as techniques for making your voice heard.

Course Level: Beginner

Course Length: 7 modules

Course Time (approx.): 3-4 hours

Course Price: £150 GBP (discounts apply - *free to CPA members and staff)

Register Here

CPA Parliamentary Service Professional Development Certificate

Courses 01-05

01 - Administration and Management of Parliament

In this course, students will learn about the complex systems of administration and management that make parliaments effective institutions, but also effective employers. This course covers the importance of Human Resources as well as ethics and standards within parliament. It also explores the topic of financial management such as parliamentary budgets and financial accountability. By the end of this course, students will possess a clear understanding of the administrative and financial aspects of working within a parliament.

“I really enjoyed the videos and how everything gets explained... It is really something wonderful...now i also understand different terminology which helps a lot. This is a good course for any future official starting at a legislature or Parliament.”

Course Level: Beginner

Course Length: 11 modules

Course Time (approx.): 4-5 hours

Course Price: £150 GBP (discounts apply - *free to CPA members and staff)

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02 - The Committee System

This course will provide an overview of the committee system within a parliamentary context. The course includes information on the various types of committees and their remits, the role of committee Chairs, Members and staff. Broken down into a number of modules and lessons, and including video presentations from leading global experts, the course provides an opportunity to learn about the ways in which committees can be most effective. The course features a range of case studies and resources taken from across the Commonwealth, providing a unique breadth of knowledge on the various types of committee and their function in different jurisdictions. Although the course has been tailored for newly appointed clerks and officials, the course is suitable for anyone new to the committee system. 

“AS A COMMITTEE SECRETARY I FOUND THE COURSE VERY USEFUL AS AN INDICATOR AS TO HOW MY COMMITTEES COMPARE TO OTHER COMMONWEALTH JURISDICTIONS.”

Course Level: Beginner

Course Length: 10 modules

Course Time (approx.): 4-5 hours

Course Price: £150 GBP (discounts apply - *free to CPA members and staff)

Register Here
Copyright UK Parliament

03 - Parliamentary Procedure: The Basics

This can be one of the more intimidating aspects of parliamentary processes. This course offers expert advice and guidance from former and current clerks and parliamentary staff, who explore key concepts within parliamentary procedure, including parliamentary privileges, powers, and immunity. Students will also learn about the separation of powers and the role of the Latimer House Principles. By the end of this course, students will have a firm understanding of the complex nature of parliamentary processes and will have more confidence in interpreting Standing Orders and the rules of the game.

Course Level: Beginner

Course Length: 8 modules

Course Time (approx.): 3-4 hours

Course Price: £150 GBP (discounts apply - *free to CPA members and staff)

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04 - Building Relationships

This course covers a crucial aspect of any parliamentary staff member’s role and that is navigating, managing, and cultivating relationships. You will learn how to build effective relationships with Members, Presiding Officers as well as Ministers and Government Officials. This course will also provide guidance and tips on working with and engaging young people in the parliamentary process. Upon completing this course, you will have the knowledge and skills to work effectively with a range of internal and external stakeholders, while also exploring the importance of building relationships with colleagues and other parliamentary staff.

Course Level: Beginner

Course Length: 8 modules

Course Time (approx.): 3-4 hours

Course Price: £150 GBP (discounts apply - *free to CPA members and staff)

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05 - Strategy, Business Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation

This course offers a better understanding of corporate governance through a contemporary lens that gives a detailed explanation and guidance on the role of monitoring and evaluation, creating business plans and the importance of risk management. This course gives clear and accessible definitions for concepts that play a vital role in the everyday workings of a parliament. By the end of this course students will be familiar and comfortable with these topics and possess the knowledge to put forward business plans and monitoring
and evaluation strategies.

Course Length: 5 modules

Course Time (approx.): 2-3 hours

Course Price: £150 GBP (discounts apply - *free to CPA members and staff)

Register Here

CPA Public Financial Management Certificate

Course 201

201 - Public Accounts Committee Course

The course is aimed at Chairs, Members, potential Members and support staff of Public Accounts and equivalent committees. It aims to increase basic financial understanding and knowledge of the role within the committee. This course will enhance your understanding of the vital role that Public Accounts Committees (PACs) play in society. Modules will cover the history of PACs, the role of Members and staff as well as the remit of Supreme Audit Institutions. After completing this course, you will have a thorough grasp on the role and remit of PACs. 

Course Level: Moderate

Course Length: 7 modules

Course Time (approx.): 4-5 hours

Course Price: £0 GBP

Register here

CPA Small Branches: Climate Change Certificate

Course 301

301 - Parliamentary Action on Climate Change in Small Jurisdictions Course

This course is designed for elected or appointed parliamentarians and parliamentary staff and has been designed with the CPA Small Branches Network in mind but is available for all. Throughout the course you will explore the basics of climate change and how it impacts small jurisdictions in particular. It will focus on the science of climate change, disaster risk management and the importance of international frameworks. In addition, it will look at how to mitigate against and adapt to the effects of climate change as well how to engage with the local community on the important topic. By the end of this Course, you will have all the tools available to enact real change to combat climate change and its effects in your jurisdiction. 

Course Level: Moderate

Course Length: 8 modules

Course Time (approx.): 5-6 hours

Course Price: £0 GBP

Register here

CPA CPwD Network: Making Parliaments Accessible Certificate 

Course 401

501 - Making Parliaments Accessible to Persons with Disabilities

This course is designed for elected or appointed parliamentarians and parliamentary staff. Throughout the course you will explore how to make your parliament accessible. It will focus on accessible communication strategies, unmasking misconceptions around disability and the importance of international frameworks. In addition it will look at Equality and Inclusion Departments as well as the social benefits of increased accessibility. By the end of this Course, you will be able to ensure your Parliament is accessible for persons with disabilities. 

Course Level: Moderate

Course Length: 5 modules

Course Time (approx.): 4-5 hours

Course Price: £0 GBP

Register here

Terms and Conditions

Find out more about how to access the course and our policies
Payment processing

Once you have been given access to the Academy portal, students, when applicable, can pay for access to any individual course. Payment can only be made via PayPal using an account or via credit or debit cards. Payment will be required in GBP only.

In some circumstances, payments can also be accepted via bank transfer on request.

Access to discounts

To be entitled to any of the discount rates, the CPA team will require certain proofs. These can be email addresses, scanned business cards, scanned student cards, etc. Fail to comply to such requests may result in discounts not being applied. 

As indicated, certain groups are entitled to a discounted rate to access the online courses. These groups are listed below:
CPA Member (Discount Rate 3 - 100%)
All current parliamentarians and parliamentary officials based within Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Parliaments and Legislatures (CPA Branches) are entitled to access the courses for free (100% discount). Members of this group must contact the CPA providing proof of membership, namely a designated parliamentary email address (suspended CPA Branches are only able to access Discount Rate 2 - see below).

Alumni, Partner Organisations, Candidates and Youth Parliamentarians (Discount Rate 2 - 50%)
All former parliamentarians and parliamentary officials based within CPA Parliaments and Legislatures are entitled to access the 50% discount. CPA Branches may be asked to verify that those claiming the discount are applicable to access this discount. The rate is also available to parliamentary electoral candidates in Commonwealth countries and youth parliamentarians. The discount is also available to CPA partner organisations. These will be Commonwealth Accredited and Associated organisations, UN agencies, secretariats of international, regional and national organisations working in the Commonwealth alongside the CPA, in particular NGOs and certain CSOs. To enquire if the organisation you work for is entitled to this rate, please contact the CPA Headquarters Secretariat. As stated above, Commonwealth Parliaments that are suspended, in abeyance or awaiting membership ratification are also entitled to access this rate.

Non-Commonwealth Parliaments and Academia (Discount Rate 1 - 25%)
Parliamentarians and parliamentary officials from national or sub-national parliaments outside of the Commonwealth can access this discounted rate. This rate is also open to academics and students studying politics or related subjects who are based in Commonwealth universities, colleges or other educational institutions. Those wishing to access this discounted rate will be asked to show proof of study (student cards, etc.).

Negotiated group rates

Membership-based organisations or academic institutions that cannot access the above discounts, organisations who wish to negotiate a larger group discount or those that wish to have access to all courses can contact the CPA Headquarters Secretariat to discuss rates via academy@cpahq.org

Refund and other related policies

Please review the terms and conditions page for more information.