The last year of the Parliament


On July 9 the Hansard Society is holding an event looking at the critical topics facing Parliament in the year ahead. They note that “speculation is rife that the coalition may end early if political tensions between the parties escalate after party conference season and in the run up to the election. But whatever the outcome – whether they stick or split – this last year of the Parliament could be very different thanks to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act”.

Join constitutional expert Lord Norton, BBC parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy, polling expert Deborah Mattinson of BritainThinks, and the Hansard Society’s Director, Ruth Fox, to debate the issues and challenges that lie ahead in this new, uncharted political territory.

When and where?

6:45pm, Wednesday 9th July in the Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House.


If you want to attend, register here.

Changes to Training Provision for Staff


From Tuesday 1 July 2014, the Commons Learning & Development team will be responsible for the learning, development and training of Members’ staff, both in the regions and at Westminster. There will be classroom events available, as well as online learning through the Parliamentary learning system, Act.

The team are currently gathering learning needs through a series of focus groups and questionnaires at events such as the Constituency days in Westminster and the Regional Roadshows. This will allow them to plan a 12 month programme starting in September 2014. In the meanwhile:

An email will be sent to staff on Tuesday 1 July 1 to give you access to Act. From this, you will be able to book onto classroom training and access e-learning modules; and

An interim programme has been planned to run from Tuesday 1 July – Friday 12 September. If you are interested in attending any of these events, please let the team know.

Learning and Development in August

Please let the Learning and Development team know if you would be interested in attending training during August and if yes, what courses should be included.

For booking onto training courses, please contact the Learning and Development team by email (, or on 0207 219 5144.


If you would like further information or advice and would like to speak to speak to someone directly, please contact Genna Mohammed, or 0207 219 1422.


Having trouble logging in today?


Over the weekend, PICT has carried out an upgrade to the computer system.  If you didn’t print out the instructions last week, then you might be having difficulty logging in today.  Here’s what you need to do:

  • Turn on your computer.
  • If you’re on the VPN, log into the VPN (if you’re on the Parliamentary Estate, this probably doesn’t apply to you)
  • Wait for five minutes without opening any applications at all.  Now is a good time to make that cup of tea or open the post.
  • Shut down your computer completely, then switch it on and log in again.


  • Open Outlook and wait for a short while.
  • When you get the login box, delete the pre-filled username and enter your full Parliamentary email address (that’s the one which is, not firstnamelastname@)
  • Tick the ‘remember my credentials’ box
  • Click OK.

If you can’t see any shared calendars, it might be because the person you’re sharing with hasn’t completed the above steps yet.

You may find that it takes quite a while for all your Outlook folders to update fully, so please just leave Outlook running for half an hour before you think about ringing PICT for help.  The folders will appear, eventually.  You may need to close Outlook and then re-open it for everything to appear.

Follow the same procedure for the Office Communicator, putting your full Parliamentary email address in both the sign-in address field and the user name field.

Hopefully, once you have followed these steps, everything should work correctly.


New web resource from the Hansard Society: Parliament Revealed


Parliament Revealed is a new educational website created by the Hansard Society. The website uses video interviews, with people involved in all aspects of running Parliament, as well as written articles, to explain four main areas: the roles of parliamentary institutions; how laws are made and scrutinised; the role and function of MPs; and how Parliament works from day to day.

The website includes interviews with such figures as Sir Robert Rogers, the Clerk of the House and Chief Executive; the Rt Hon John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons; and many others, discussing their roles and explaining various topics. The website also provides supporting documentation, suggested reading and downloadable presentations along with each topic.

This website is a valuable tool for students researching the workings of Parliament, as well as a useful source of engaging material to be used in a classroom.

Explore the website here.

More information about it from the Hansard Society here.

Balloon ICS Entrepreneur Launched


Balloon ICS Entrepreneur  is a 12 week, UK Government funded (DFID) programme where you will travel to East Africa and work with budding entrepreneurs to create new businesses that challenge the status quo and open up new markets.  You can join teams of 20 young people driving sustainable development and launching exciting businesses that improve lives. £35,000 is ready to fund in the best ideas.

Programmes will take place in September 2014, January 2015 and April 2015.

Visit for more details.

There are only 70 funded places available.

You must apply by the end of June to be considered for the September programme

Latest POSTnotes from the Parl’y Office of Science and Technology


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

Social Media and Big Data

Analysing large quantities of readily available data from social media has created new opportunities to understand and influence how people think and act. This POSTnote examines the application of ‘big data’ approaches to social media in three key areas: elections and polling, commercial applications and security. It also covers the regulation of social media data and public concerns around privacy.

Transparency of Clinical Trials Data

Results from many clinical trials are not published or made available. Recently there have been calls for clinical trials data to be made more accessible. This briefing examines ways of achieving greater transparency and the issues that they raise.

Surveillance of Infectious Disease

Microbes such as bacteria and viruses cause a wide range of infectious diseases. They can be highly adaptable and evolve rapidly to changing environments. This can change their ability to spread and their susceptibility to antimicrobial drugs. Surveillance is key for detecting and responding to novel and re-emerging microbes. This briefing describes current surveillance efforts and examines new technological developments and their likely impacts on UK and international public health.

HIV Prevention in the UK

Preventing HIV is a priority for research and public health. Research developments and the trends in the nature of the epidemic mean that policy is continually revised in order to educate the public, reduce transmission of the virus and treat those affected. This note describes patterns of infection and policies to increase HIV testing. It also summarises evidence for using antiretrovirals as a preventive measure.

Intermittent Electricity Generation

Sources of electricity that exhibit uncontrolled increases or decreases in output are often referred to as intermittent. This POSTnote examines the effect of wind, solar, wave and tidal intermittency on electricity prices, carbon dioxide emissions and the provision of electricity to meet demand. The note also describes measures to manage intermittency.

See the POST website here.

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

Queen’s Speech Summary


Read the BBC’s summary of the bills discussed in Queen’s speech at the opening of Parliament here.

The article gives an overview of the eleven bills that are to be presented to Parliament over the next year, and the three draft bills that have been issued for consultation:

  • Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • National Insurance Contributions Bill (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • Infrastructure Bill (Mostly England)
  • Pension Tax Bill (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • Private Pensions Bill (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • Childcare Payments Bill (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • Modern Slavery Bill (England and Wales)
  • Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill (England and Wales)
  • Service Complaints Bill (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • Serious Crime Bill (England and Wales – with certain provisions elsewhere)
  • Recall of MPs Bill (UK-wide)
  • Draft Governance of National Parks (England) and the Broads Bill (England only)
  • Draft Riot (Damages) Act Bill (England and Wales only)
  • Draft Protection of Charities Bill (England and Wales)

More information on the Queen’s Speech here; read the speech here.

For more information about the passage of laws through Parliament, see here.

Policy Exchange Summer School


Over the 11th to the 15th of August, think tank Policy Exchange are offering 30 places to undergraduate students to spend a few days getting to know Westminster, experiencing life working at a think tank, visiting the political establishments and potentially conducting a mini research project.

Applicants must commit to the whole week, and need to be able to accommodate and maintain themselves for the duration. To apply, a covering letter describing your interest in politics and  a CV must be sent to before the closing date of the 20th of June (extended from the original date of 10 June)

Successful applicants will be notified quickly

For more information about the program see here; for more information about Policy Exchange, see here.

Office 365 briefing June 5, Westminster


Prior to the Office 365 migration, Parliamentary ICT would like to invite Members and their staff to attend an Office 365 briefing on Thursday 5 June, 12 noon to 2pm, in the Jubilee Room off Westminster Hall.

PICT will demonstrate the different tools available through Office 365 and their associated benefits, for example through gaining easier access to documents when on the move. PICT specialists will also be on hand to give one-to-one advice and support to Members and their staff about using Office 365 on tablets, smartphones, laptops, PCs and Macs.

Following this briefing, Office 365 briefing sessions will be offered by the PICT team. The PICT team will be providing further details regarding these sessions over the next few weeks.