The Tours office has just sent this note around to all staff:
The tours office have been listening carefully to feedback which has been received from a number of MPs and their staff over the past months in relation to the processes in place to make bookings for Member Tours and Elizabeth Tower tours. We would like to assure you that the feedback is taken very seriously and we are currently taking steps to review the way in which tours are allocated to try to ensure we are offering the most efficient and fair way of allocation to all Members. We are currently investigating options to make the system more efficient and effective.
In the meantime, we have looked at a quick resolution to one of the major concerns which has been the timing of bookings opening at the beginning of the month. Last year we took a decision to stipulate an opening time of 8.30am on the first working day of the month as we were receiving a high volume of requests at midnight. This seemed to be unfair to staff who were not able to send requests so late in the evening. We have subsequently listened to feedback from a number of staff who are unable to send requests until after 9am and are therefore still being impacted negatively by the opening time. We are therefore implementing a later booking opening time which will come into force from October.
This means that tour bookings will, from October, be accepted from midday on the first working day of the month
Bookings for tours in March 2014 will therefore open at midday on Wednesday 1st October.
They have updated the information on the intranet to reflect this change and also the impact that Dissolution will have on booking tours.
Please see the Member Tours http://intranet.parliament.uk/access-buildings/exhibitions-tours/parliamentary-tours/
and Elizabeth Tower Tours http://intranet.parliament.uk/access-buildings/exhibitions-tours/big-ben/ pages on the Parliamentary intranet for more information.