Latest POSTnotes from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology


The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology has recently published the following POSTnotes:


Stroke is the third largest cause of mortality in the UK, and the largest cause of adult disability. It has a high clinical and societal burden, and can have a profound effect on people’s lives. This POSTnote summarises the different types of stroke, and examines treatment, prevention strategies and recent service re-organisation.

Ambient Air Quality

National and European regulations have improved UK ambient air quality. However, current air pollution levels continue to harm human health and the environment. This POSTnote summarises the evidence for effects of air pollutants and policies to address them.

New Nuclear Power Technologies

Nuclear power stations provide a low carbon source of electricity, which could help the UK achieve its policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. This POSTnote reviews new and potential future nuclear power technologies. It also outlines the regulatory approach toward new nuclear build and summarises some of the related challenges.

Telehealth and Telecare

The UK’s elderly population is growing and with it the number of people with long-term health problems. This is putting pressure on the health and social care systems. Increased use of technology such as telehealth and telecare may help to improve quality of care and reduce costs. This note describes current UK telehealth and telecare initiatives and the role they may play in delivering future care.

Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes produce a vapour typically containing nicotine, which users inhale. There is debate about their potential role in tobacco smoking reduction and cessation. This POSTnote summarises the evidence on the safety and quality of electronic cigarettes, explores some of the social issues raised and reviews current UK and EU regulation.

Risks from Climate Feedback

The Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC concluded that human activities are causing the climate to warm, but there is uncertainty in how the climate will continue to change. Climate feedbacks could both increase and decrease global warming. This POSTnote discusses what climate feedbacks are, as well as the challenges they present for climate change mitigation policies.

Livestock Emissions

Livestock farming results in the emission of the greenhouse gases (GHG) methane and nitrous oxide. Such emissions are difficult to accurately quantify and control. This POSTnote examines current policy and prospects for further reductions in emissions.

See the POST website here.

If you would like further information on these briefings, please contact or call 020 7219 8377.

Change100 internship program opens for applications.


Leonard Cheshire Disability is a charity supporting disabled people across the UK. They have set up the Change100 internship program to support the career development of disabled university students, who might feel reluctant to disclose their disability when applying for a job, or unsure of whether they will be affected in the job by it. The scheme also aims to spread awareness among employers of how how great a benefit to the business sector capable, ambitious disabled students can be.

The program will give at least 10 students 3 months paid work experience in the South East of England and Edinburgh over this summer, with a further nine months of support. For businesses, Change100 offers advice on how to make their environments suitable for disabled employees, and thus make the most of this pool of talented individuals.

Applications for the internship positions will close on the 10th March. You can apply here.

If you have  any questions, email: or call 07804 066778 -businesses should email or call 020 3242 0388.

Visit the Change100 website here.

Tuned In or Turned Off? Public Attitudes to PMQs


The Hansard Society has released an executive summary of its report ‘Tuned in or Turned Off? Public Attitudes to Prime Minister’s Questions’.

The report finds: ‘The public recognise Parliament’s “essential” role at the heart of democracy but are deeply dissatisfied with the culture and conduct of politics. Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) is a significant contributory factor in this disenchantment.’

You can read the summary here. The full report will be released shortly.

Always wanted to play American Football?


Always wanted to play American Football?

Always wanted to represent your nation?

Now’s your chance!

I am launching a Parliamentary Flag Football team that will play in White City on Wednesday nights.

Anyone interested or if you have any questions email me at

Any standard and any experience is welcome

This is your chance to become part of history

Sign up now, your Nation needs you.

We are recruiting all positions as well as coaches.

James Newhall
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
020 7219 3492

The Chairman of Ways and Means


The current Chairman of Ways and Means, the Rt Hon Lindsay Hoyle MP, will be giving an open lecture on Friday the 14th of March on what constitutes his position, and what duties it involves.

The title originates in the fact that the position was originally as the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, which has since been abolished. Unique functions include acting as Chair of the Committee of the Whole House, overseeing any matters concerning private bills, and overseeing the arrangements for sittings in Westminster Hall.

The position is also as the principal of the Speaker’s three deputies. It was combined in the mid-19th century with the new position of the first formal Deputy Speaker, and these titles are interchangeable. Prior to this combination, there were other ways for an MP to deputise for the Speaker if he was, for instance, ill.

For more details on the lecture, see the entry on our events page under the 14th of March. For more information on the position of the Chairman of Ways and Means, see the Parliament website here, and Wikipedia here.

Latest Commons Library note on tax relief for childcare.


On the 3rd of February, the Commons Library released their latest briefing on recent developments in tax relief for childcare.

The briefing covers the Labour measure of 1990 that ’employees would not be taxed on the benefits they received from using a nursery or playscheme provided by their employer’; the 2004 Labour measure giving £50 a week of tax-free childcare to employees, under certain guidelines; Gordon Brown’s 2009 proposal that ‘this relief should be withdrawn to fund the extension of free childcare for two year olds’, which was not implemented; and the 2013 Conservative plans for ‘tax-free childcare from autumn 2015, to replace the current relief for employer-supported childcare’ for qualifying families; as well as many other details.

See the briefing here.

Charityworks graduate scheme applications open.


‘Charityworks’ is an organisation that sets graduates up in a traineeship position with non-profit organisations across the UK. The graduates are in a full-time, paid position, with a mentor, and the chance to conduct some research of their own.

Charityworks was set up to provide the non-profit sector with a means of finding and training talented individuals,  provide those individuals with a way into the sector, and  promote the non-profit sector as a viable, attractive career. In 2014 there will be 100 places available, with more than 50 organisations.

Applications can be made from the 5th of February to the 16th of April, via the Charityworks website, where more information – for example about partner organisations, and views from previous participants – is also available.

Public attitudes to Prime Minister’s Questions Research published


Tuned in or Turned off? Public attitudes to Prime Minister’s Questions, a new research report from the Hansard Society is published today. The report examines public attitudes to Prime Minister’s Questions and asks whether PMQs is a ‘cue’ for their wider negative perceptions of Parliament.

According to the Hansard Society:

 Supporters of PMQs in its current form argue that it is great parliamentary drama, envied by citizens in other countries whose leaders are rarely held to account in public. But our focus group research shows that the drama and theatre of the event is not appreciated in a positive way. In the dismissive words of one participant, ‘this was noise and bluster and showing off – theatrical but not good’.

 More information on the Hansard Society website

Reminder for constituency-based staff: Open Day at Westminster 25 March


Places are still available to constituency-based Members’ staff wishing to attend a Parliamentary open day on Tuesday 25 March 2014.  If you haven’t attended one of these days yet make sure you book now. 

Even if (or particularly if) you have been around for quite a while it’s never to late to take advantage of these Open Days.  You will learn a lot!  Oh, and come and say hello to us on the W4MP stall.

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.


Researcher of the Year 2014 – Nominate now!


The Researcher of the Year Awards, in association with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), are now in their eighth year.  We are delighted to announce two new categories in this year’s awards programme; the Constituency Staff Member of the Year Award and Researchers Researcher of the Year Award.  The Awards are open to all staff working for an MP or a Peer from parliamentary or constituency offices.

Nominations close on 14 February 2014 and the winner will be announced on 31 March 2014

Visit the website for further information: