Open day for constituency-based staff – book now for 25 March 2014

Places are still available to constituency-based Members’ staff wishing to attend a Parliamentary open day on Tuesday 25 March 2014.

The day includes:

  • · Tours of the Palace of Westminster or the Parliamentary Archives
  • · An introduction from the Clerk of the House
  • · Presentations from a variety of House services, including the Library, CAPITA training and Members’ Personal Safety
  • · An exhibition of services, including IPSA, PICT, trade unions and the Parliamentary Archives

The day is a great opportunity to find out how to get the most from the services available to you, as well providing a great chance to network with other staff from constituencies across the country. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. You can view a provisional time table here.

If you would like to attend, please send an email to with the following information:

  • Name of staff member
  • Contact email
  • Name of Member
  • Constituency
  • Preference for tour: Palace of Westminster (AM)*, Parliamentary Archives (AM)* or none
  • Access and/or dietary requirements (if any).

*please note that those wishing to take part in a morning tour are required to arrive no later than 8.40am.

For further information please contact Pippa Lansdell or Theo Manassieva on x4801.

MPs and constituency etiquette

There was a Point of Order in the Commons last week about the need for Members to inform the local MP when visiting her/his constituency.  You can see the Point of Order and the response by the Deputy Speaker here.

On a related topic there is a Standard Note (last updated in January 2012) entitled Members and constituency etiquette which covers that issue as well as some others. It is SN/PC/02028 by Richard Kelly. Click here to read it.

W4MP also has a guide which starts with this question: Should I be representing this constituent? S/he doesn’t live in my constituency but has asked for our help.” You can read the W4MP guide here.

None of the advice available manages to be entirely clear about the rules but, if in doubt, we still feel that our advice below is the best guide:

There is an oft-quoted “strict parliamentary protocol” that MPs do not pursue issues raised by or about constituents of other MPs. Our view on this has always been: “In the absence of any very clear definition of this protocol, you should use common sense and refer any matter concerning someone who is not your constituent to his or her own MP.”

There you are; that’s your Christmas/New Year homework sorted for you!

Are you making best use of the parliamentary intranet?

OK so most of you have good access to the intranet and use its resources every day.  But……

…….we do know that a good many of you, particularly those based in constituency offices, are not taking full advantage of what’s available.

If you are in that group, do yourself a favour and get linked up.  To tempt you, here’s an overall list of what’s there:

Business and News
• Parliamentary Business
• Committees
• News and events
• Understanding Parliament

Research and Libraries
• Research
• Resources
• Training and information skills
• House of Commons Library Services
• House of Lords Library
• Statistics
• Current Awareness Email Alerts

Information Management
• Managing Current Business Information
• Information Security, Data Protection & FoI
• Web and Intranet Service – Online services
• Archives
• Broadcasting

• Information for House of Commons staff
• Lords staff
• Careers and Development
• Joining & Leaving
• Safety, Health & Wellbeing
• Data Protection & Security

• Pay
• Allowances
• Pensions
• Procurement
• Financial planning
• Insurance

Computers and Equipment
• Getting Set Up
• Working Flexibly
• Training and Coaching
• Communications Services
• Office 365
• Equipment & Supplies

Access and Buildings
• Access & Security
• Building & Works
• Evacuation & Emergencies
• Offices & Rooms
• Exhibitions & Tours

Catering and Outlets
• Outlets
• Banqueting

People and Offices
• Offices and Departments
• Administration
• Directories and Contact information
• Groups and Associations
• Programmes and Projects


Working with teachers and education professionals

There’s a useful page on the intranet (here) which tells Members and Staff how you can co-operate effectively with teachers and others working with young people. It’s part of Parliament’s Education Service and has links to a range of resources.

Here’s what it says:

The Education Service runs training events to support the teaching of political literacy and the work of Parliament in schools and informal learning organisations around the UK. These events often include talks by MPs and Peers.

Speaking to trainee teachers

Some universities accross the UK run teacher training courses that relate to Parliament, such as Modern Studies, Social Sciences or Humanities subjects. Trainee teachers on these courses can apply to spend a day in Parliament, learning more about its work and how to communicate the role of Parliament in the classroom.

If your constituents will be visiting Westminster then the Education Service will contact you in advance to give you details of the visit

Teachers’ Institute

Each year Parliament’s Education Service runs a Teachers’ Institute – a week-long intensive programme held at the Houses of Parliament. The event provides teachers and other education professionals with a more detailed understanding of how Parliament works, so they can take it back to the classroom. Teachers’ Institute is designed for teachers of Politics, General Studies, History, Citizenship, Modern Studies, Law or another Parliament-related subjects.

The programme includes Q&A sessions with members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It also involves talks on specific aspects of lawmaking and democracy, and a chance to watch debates in both chambers.

Dates and details of the next Teachers’ Institute are available on the Education section of Parliament’s website

Seminar days

The Education Service also runs a series of one-day courses at the Houses of Parliament for teachers and those working with young people in other settings. These range from specialist seminars, designed for A-level teachers of Politics, to days providing a more general introduction to Parliament and democracy for those working in secondary or primary education. At each event, a member of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords is invited to give a Q&A session.

Find out more information on our website.

You can also contact us if you have a query about the Teachers’ Institute, Seminar days and other events for teachers.

Around the UK

The Education Outreach Team will also travel around the UK to deliver bespoke training sessions for teachers and education professionals in their schools, or in collaboration with other organisations working with young people.

To find out more about booking a session in your constituency, contact the Education Outreach Team on


The home page of the Education Service on the public Parliament website is here.

HoC staff and Members’ staff ticket ballot for Nelson Mandela Event

The Speaker and Lord Speaker will hold a Commemoration and Celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela in Westminster Hall on Thursday 12 December 2013 at 2pm.

Staff of the House of Commons and Members’ staff (Commons) wishing to attend the event are asked to submit the following to the Serjeant at Arms Office by 11.00am on Wednesday 11 December:

An email to with the heading STAFF BALLOT FOR TICKETS – 12 DECEMBER in the subject line, or

By writing to the Serjeant at Arms, House of Commons marking the envelope STAFF BALLOT FOR TICKETS – 12 DECEMBER.

Due to a very limited number of seats available there is likely to be a ballot. The event is open to a large number of visitors as well as Members and Members’ staff of both Houses, and parliamentary staff, therefore standing room may only be on offer on the day (if you have a specific requirement for seating at this event please make this clear in your application).

Pass Holders must apply for their own ticket and are not permitted to bring guests to this event.

Successful applicants will be notified by 10am on Thursday 12 December.


ESU offers Parliamentary Internship in the Assemblée Nationale

The ESU runs a parliamentary exchange programme between Westminster and Paris, offering students the opportunity to intern in the Assemblée Nationale. 1-2 candidates are sent to intern in Paris, normally undertaking a range of work in the Assemblée Nationale with a Deputy. The internship will last between six and eight weeks over the Summer 2014. Exact start and end dates will be agreed upon by the candidate and ESU Paris but usually the internship starts in mid-June.

Candidates must be:

  • resident in the UK,
  • currently an undergraduate in your last two years at a UK university or a postgraduate student,
  • a student of any discipline with an interest in politics,
  • have a good knowledge of French.

Please see for further details and to download the Notes for Applicants.

Closing date: 27 January 2014

Interviews for shortlisted applicants will be held in early February 2014. The interview will be conducted in English and French and applicants should have an appropriate degree of fluency. Successful applicants will be recommended to ESU Paris for final acceptance.

Applicants should complete the application form, which can be found at  It must be accompanied by a cover letter describing why you are interested in an internship, and how one might assist you in your career goals.

Completed forms should be returned by email to or by post to Education Department, ESU, Dartmouth House, 37 Charles Street, London W1J 5ED.

MPs & Peers Staff Association – latest news

Page last updated: 4 December 2013

MAPSA Winter Newsletter

You can read this newsletter on the MAPSA page on w4mp

Dear Colleague

It’s been a really busy few months for MAPSA and so we wanted to let you know what we’ve been up to as well as what’s coming up in the New Year.

The MAPSA Committee has a few new faces and you’ll find their details below – please do get in touch with either myself or any other member of the Committee if you have any questions, comments or news that you’d like to share.  We’re always here to offer help and advice and you can get in touch with any one of us but I know that often you’d rather speak to someone from your own political party and so you’ll find the details of each of our political VCs below.

I have really enjoyed meeting so many of you over the last year at our events and trips and hope that you’ll be able to join us for some of the exciting social events that Adam has planned for next year.

Finally, if you’ve not renewed your membership this year (or are unsure about whether or not you’re a current member) then please get in touch with Katharine ( who will be able to send you a form – MAPSA membership is still at the incredibly competitive austerity rate of just £1 a year!

Wishing you a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year from all the MAPSA Committee,

Lisa Townsend

MAPSA Chairman

House Departments

Much of the work that MAPSA does takes place behind the scenes and Georgina Kester has been incredibly busy on your behalf over the last year meeting with everyone from Catering through to the Pass Office and MSVO.


You should have noticed some of the recent and welcome changes to the access arrangements which mean that staffers can now take guests into the Adjournment during the week as well as better access to the Churchill Room. If there are any issues you’d like us to raise with the Catering Department then please get in touch with Georgina (

Pass Office / Security

Georgina and I recently met with the Pass Office and were really encouraged to hear that they aim for a turnaround time for pass applications is 5 working days but this is largely dependent on the volume of applications as well as receiving full applications from those applying. You can help this by ensuring that all sections of the form are completed and that your passport and proof of address are included in your initial application.  A few other points from the Pass Office that will help ensure the service runs smoothly:

  • Your pass is an official document and must be produced and worn at all times within the Estate
  • Ensure your pass is on display whilst on the Estate. Take it off when leaving
  • Do not give your pass to someone else to use
  • If escorting guests, make sure you are with them at all times and escort them off the estate
  • Take care of your pass, but if you lose it, please report to the Pass Office asap
  • Your pass MUST be surrendered on termination of appointment or expiry and handed back to the Pass Office.
  • IT security – Make sure you log on and off the computer you are using and do not allow anyone else to use your login details
  • Interns from abroad, even if they are only spending a few days, unpaid, in your office, are considered as ‘working’ for UKBA’s purposes.  This means that unless they are here on a working visa they will not be able to apply for a Parliamentary pass.

Georgina and I also meet regularly with the Serjeant at Arms who is very keen to extend access to passholders of all levels and we have been discussing ways in which we can make it easier for you to show constituents and others around the Estate.  I am also aware that many of you would like to be able to take your interns and work experience staff onto the Terrace during recess and that the current regulations make this difficult.  The SAA is very happy to help facilitate this so if you have an intern (that does not have a pass) and would like them to be able to join you for lunch on the Terrace during the warmer months then please drop me an email at and I will speak with the SAA Office to get them clearance for this.

Relaunch of Education website

October saw the relaunch of Parliament’s website for schools, which contains free resources for political literacy teaching, information about Parliament’s education outreach programme, and details of how to bring schools to visit Parliament.  See

The new website has a new design, larger images and videos, more prominent information about the Education outreach programme, and a new filtering tool enabling teachers to find resources suitable for the subject and age group that they teach, at the click of a button.

Parliament’s Education Service runs a range of programmes for your local schools to take part in. More details are available on the Parliamentary intranet at, on the website at and on Twitter @UKParlEducation.

To help schools make the most of these programmes, Parliament’s Education Service welcomes tweets, links and other communication with schools to let them know about the free resources available to them.  Please email if you would like to be sent the Education Service logo or any other educational resources for your website, or for any further information.

Westminster Staff Open Day Questionnaire

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, we would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete this survey, by Friday 13 December.

Volunteers Wanted!

Georgina is seeking volunteers to join a small group for a one-off meeting in the New Year with the Table Office, Journal Office and Public Bills Office to help them better understand what it is we do and how they can assist us.  I am assured there will be biscuits.  If you or anyone you know would like to get involved then please send an email to


IPSA has been in operation for almost four years and while I know that no-one enjoys dealing with the new expenses regime I hope that like me you have noticed some real improvements since the service first started.  MAPSA is very proud of the role it has played in relaying your concerns to the team at IPSA and we continue to work closely with them to ensure that the process is as painless as possible.

Emily Knight met with IPSA recently and the following points came out of the meeting:

  • The MPs’ Pay and Pensions consultation ended recently.  IPSA received 3,500 online and 600 written submissions.  As well as the responses that one might expect there were a good number of reasoned, detailed ideas, especially on pensions.  The vast majority of the public seem to be in favour of anything involving a cut and (unsurprisingly) less favourable to any kind of rise in pay for MPs. IPSA will need some time to get through these responses and will report in due course.
  • IPSA is currently reviewing the way they publicise information and will look into further ways they can emphasise the separate nature of staffing and other expenses incurred by MPs to discourage the media lumping the two figures together.  They would welcome staff views on this and we will be in touch again soon about ways in which you can get involved in this.
  • The annual review of the scheme will launch soon and will be the last prior to the 2015 General election.  IPSA are particularly keen want to look at the intern element of staffing in more detail.

If you have any comments or issues with IPSA, please get in touch with either myself or Emily ( and we will do our best to get it resolved.

Events and Trips

It has been great to see so many of you join us for tours of Westminster Abbey, the BBC and the National Theatre.  The trips to the BritishMuseum were incredibly popular and we hope to visit again next year.  Adam is currently in the process of arranging a further visit to Broadcasting House and we have also been invited to Radio 1 – more details in the New Year.   I know that many of you have been waiting for the announcement of another trip to Number 10 and that is something we are trying to negotiate with the team there.

As always, if you have any comments or suggestions then please get in touch with Adam:


I will be in touch again in the New Year to ask what you as MAPSA members and staffers want to see us doing more of – whether it’s social events, speaker briefings or updates from the House Departments. We are particularly keen to get the views of staff in constituency offices as we are aware that they are an often neglected group.

MAPSA Committee Members

Gill Cheeseman President
Lisa Townsend Chairman
Benjamin Clayton Labour Vice Chairman and Lords’ staff VC
Alexandra Hernandez Liberal Democrat VC
Emily Knight Conservative VC
Georgina Kester Facilities Representative
Julie Spencer Treasurer
Adam Chambers Events Secretary
Katharine Pearce Membership Secretary

Resources for universities

We know that many of you using W4MP are university students, lecturers or tutors so here’s something from Parliament’s Outreach Service that may appeal.  Full details and appropriate links can be see here but, meanwhile see the key information below.


The Houses of Parliament provides services and resources for universities across the UK.

Parliament’s Outreach Service supports lecturers and tutors to teach about the Houses of Parliament, and assists academic researchers to access information and get involved with the work and business of Parliament. The teaching and research support which we provide is outlined below.

Teaching support

  • Tailored lectures and tutorials on any aspect of the work, business and procedure of the institution of Parliament, delivered at a place and time convenient for your students. To arrange a session at your university, please contact the Outreach Officer for your region.
  • Open lecture series, delivered by senior figures from within Parliament, focusing on a different aspect of Parliament at each event. These lectures are free to attend but places are limited, so please book early.
  • University student visits to Parliament can include talks on any aspect of the work, business and procedure of Parliament, plus watching business in the House of Commons and House of Lords.
  • Teaching resources on a variety of topics, including presentations and reading lists for use in lectures and tutorials; for access to these materials, please contact Naomi Saint on the details below.
  • The Training the Trainer programme for any tutors or lecturers who would like to access and deliver Parliament’s approved quality training, using comprehensive and flexible resources.

Research support

  • Research briefings produced within Parliament are a valuable source of topical analysis and procedural information for researchers, students and tutors; see our advice on accessing research and information.
  • Workshops for academic researchers on using research to have an impact at Parliament can be delivered at any university across the UK. To arrange a session at your university, please contact the Outreach Officer for your region.

Further information

  • For more information about any of the above services, please contact Naomi Saint on or 07917 488148.