Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme Returns


On the 14th October we welcomed the third cohort of the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme to the House of Commons.


Over the nine-month duration the scheme places interns in an MP’s office for four days per week, while the remaining day is spent in a rotating placement across the House of Commons Service, as well as training and away days with the some of the scheme’s sponsors. This allows the interns to gain a unique and worthwhile experience of how Parliament and the world of business works.

The House of Commons Commission approved the establishment of the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme, and launched the first cohort of interns on Monday 7 November 2011. The scheme, an initiative of Hazel Blears MP working with the Social Mobility Foundation, offers 10 paid internships to people from diverse backgrounds and helps to make access to and experience of Parliament more representative of the UK population.

Hazel Blears, Labour MP for Salford and Eccles, said: “I believe that valuable opportunities like these should be open to all talented people, regardless of their background or wealth. It was this belief that inspired me to set up the paid Speakers’ Parliamentary Placement Scheme and drives me in campaigning against unpaid internships. I have been thrilled by some of our interns’ success stories and hope the scheme will prove just as rewarding for its third cohort.”

The first two years of this scheme have been very successful; of the 2012/2013 cohort six out of the nine interns have secured jobs: five working for MPs and one with an external employer. Christine Longworth, from last year’s cohort said “This scheme has completely changed the direction of my life for the better. As well as securing an amazing permanent job, and being proud and fulfilled with what I do for a living for the first time ever, it has improved my own confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. I’ve made myself and my family proud, and I couldn’t have done that without the SPPS”.

Speaker Bercow kindly hosted the launch of this year’s placement scheme with a reception on Wednesday 30th October in his State Apartments. Also in attendance was Secretary of State Michael Gove MP, Hazel Blears MP and many other Members, Heads of Department and Corporate Partners who have supported the scheme, including the Social Mobility Foundation, which have supported the scheme since its inception.

One of this year’s participants, Felix Parker-Smith now working within the Office of Stephen Barclay MP, said “The Speaker’s scheme was fantastic as it has challenged the status quo, which appears to preference those who can afford to intern for free and those who have the privilege of living in London. It has truly helped people from a variety of backgrounds overcome social and geographic obstacles to gain political experience at an institution that previously appeared to be very closed to them.”  

Another participant, John McKenna working within the Office of Alan Johnson MP, commented that: “the scheme has given me a chance to pursue a career in something I am passionate about, which I don’t think I would have been able to do without the support of the scheme. On a personal level, I have met a whole bunch of people both on and off the scheme who I am sure I will have lasting friendships with. Even though it’s still early days the scheme has a huge positive impact on my life both professionally and personally”.

If any Members of Parliament are interested in supporting the scheme by taking on an intern within their office, please contact the Jo Fletcher in the Diversity and Inclusion Team on extension x2948.

Applications for the 4th cohort will be open in March 2014. For more information please visit the Social Mobility Foundation website.

Further information can be also found on this intranet page:


Open Day event for Westminster-based MPs’ staff


The Central Communications team in the Office of the Chief Executive runs regular open days for staff based in the constituencies.

As a result of feedback, and following requests from staff in Westminster, they are looking into the possibility of offering a similar open day for Members’ staff based in Westminster.

In order to ensure that they provide the most useful and relevant information, they would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete this survey, by Friday 13 December. It is on the intranet and the link is here:  Open day for Westminster-based staff survey

Your feedback is vital as it will help them to create a session that caters to your needs.

Parliamentary Book Club


Latest news from the Parliamentary Book Club can be found on their page here – including a report on JM Coetzee’s ‘Disgrace’

The group is planning its annual Christmas night out on the town, and visit to the theatre is being planned

A date for a future meeting in January will be available in the near future.

New members to join our friendly group always welcome – for more information contact Philipa on pcoughlan@btinternet.com or mobile 07592 386493.

Parliament Week 2013 – 15-21 Nov. Find out more.


This year’s Parliament Week will take place from 15-21 November 2013. Find out more here.

The #ActNowChallenge

Find out, share and celebrate women in democracy by taking part in the Parliament Week #ActNowChallenge.

Women in Democracy

Part of the Parliament Week programme this year celebrates women’s contribution to democratic life in the UK and explores how women’s voices can be better heard….

…and lots more.

Lights, Camera, Parliament! Competition for 7-16 year olds


Here’s a great competition run by Parliament’s Education Service.  If you work for an MP get this message out to schools in your constituency or if you are a teacher or student just click on the links in the text below and enter.  Don’t delay – get cracking NOW!


The annual Lights, Camera, Parliament! competition asks young people ‘If you could make one law, what would it be?’ Anyone aged 7-16 yrs can enter either individually or as part of a group and entrants can chose to tell us what new law they would introduce in the UK in a 3 minute film, 200-500 word script, or a 5-10 frame storyboard.

Participants can propose any issue they care about for their law, whether local or national, so it’s a great opportunity for them to speak up about the issues they are passionate about and tell Parliament what they would change.

The 2014 competition has launched with a new website full of inspiration topics, blogs and resources for young people and teachers including activity and lesson plans, technical tips and templates. You can also find all the previous entries here, including last year’s winners who proposed laws that would make it compulsory to wear helmets when cycling and that would lower the voting age to 16.

Winners this year will be invited to an awards day including a tour of Parliament, an opportunity to speak to Members about their law and a showcasing event for all the winning entries at the British Film Institute.

Entries can be submitted from 6 January 2014 and the closing date is 14 February 2014.

We would welcome your assistance in promoting the competition to young people, schools and youth groups in your local area. If you would like more information, please contact the Lights, Camera, Parliament! team at lcp@parliament.uk

New rules for filming and photography in HoC


New rules for filming and photography in the House of Commons were agreed at a meeting of the Administration Committee on 14 October 2013.

There will be a trial of the new rules from 1 November until the end of this calendar year, and are intended to update and simplify the current arrangements.

The new rules are available on the intranet and Members and pass holders are asked to familiarise themselves with them to ensure the trial is successful.

Two intranet links for you:

  1. PDF (810KB) of the rules.
  2. News item about the new rules with contact details for enquiries.