From now on, the Department for Work and Pensions will require Members of Parliament to obtain explicit consent from constituents to obtain information on their behalf in relation to Full Universal Credit. The constituent must provide the DWP with the specific details of the issues they would like the DWP to discuss with the Member of Parliament.
The explicit consent will only extends to the conclusion of that particular enquiry, which includes escalation if it concerns a complaint. If they raise further issues they must again provide explicit consent for the Member of Parliament to act on their behalf.
As the constituent is not likely to know whether they are specifically in receipt of Full Universal Credit, the Member or Parliament needs to determine whether explicit consent is required, and should ask as part of the enquiries with the constituent whether they manage their claim through an online Journal. The Journal is unique to Full Universal Credit and is also the best way to provide explicit consent. The constituents can provide their consent for their Member of Parliament to talk to the DWP by writing it in their Journal.
The DWP has emailed Members of Parliament with a letter and a series of guides and online links that their staff may find helpful in assisting constituents. If you haven’t seen it, please ask your Member to forward it to you. It includes a short YouTube video about how to make a claim which places much of the new language of Universal Credit in context.
With exclusive access to the members and precincts of the House of Lords, the BBC Two documentary Meet the Lords presents a unique look at the work, role and membership of the second chamber of Parliament.
For more behind the scenes information and access to members of the Lords, follow the House of Lords on Twitter and Facebook.
Work on Parliament’s new website is progressing and a simple first cut of Member information will be live in March 2017 on their prototype site: beta.parliament.uk.
This very basic information will be tested by external users of the website and the feedback will help move on to the next phases of the project. This will include a new visual identity, a style guide and design approach, a dynamic publishing service, and a data-driven service built on a new unified data platform.
Colleagues in Parliament will get a preview of this prototype on 17 February. The new website will be quick and easy to update and it will be more resilient as it will be hosted on cloud infrastructure.
The team works in the open and shares their work on the Digital Service blog, on Twitter using #ukparlibeta and through regular show and tells which are open to everyone.
Full Fact, along with The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the UK Statistics Authority and the House of Commons Library, is launching a project to identify and fill gaps in data and analysis in the UK.
The project is designed to answer important questions about eight different topics which include crime, immigration, education and housing. Full Fact want to fill the gaps in data to produce reliable and well-communicated information. This will help ensure that public decisions and debate are based on the best information available and will help prevent people from making claims that will need to be corrected later on. To find out even more about this project, click here.
Full Fact are also looking for your examples of data and analysis gaps for their eight topics. To view these topics and find out how to get involved, click here.
It discusses the definition of environmental crime and its links to other serious crime, including the drugs and arms trade, human trafficking and the funding of terrorist organisations. It identifies two primary categories of environmental crime in Europe: waste crime and wildlife crime.
These primary crimes tend to be low risk and high profit to criminals as they are often difficult to prosecute. This report highlights particular incidences of these crimes, current EU law pertaining to them and ways in which they are enforced and the crimes prosecuted in the UK and abroad.
Importantly, the report discusses how to improve enforcement of these laws, whilst also exploring the challenges faced when tackling this type of crime.
This report focuses on how well Whitehall is performing, its preparations for Brexit, and government openness and the use of data.
The report makes the argument that government is trying to do too many things in the run up to Brexit and that this poses challenges for public services and Whitehall departments. It also calls for ‘clear, sensible and transparent plans and measures’, in order to understand how well government is doing, or to hold it to account.
Preparation for Brexit features prominently in the report: it suggests that the creation of new departments resulted in some initial fragmentation and was not a good use of time and energy, but notes that these departments are beginning to settle down. It also points out that existing departments facing the biggest challenges around Brexit are some of those that have experienced some of the deepest budget and staffing cuts and this will
In regards to openness and the use of data, the report suggests that the government has become less responsive to requests for information and is not using its own data as effectively as it could. Many departments are not publishing their data as frequently as they should and this, coupled with the difficulty of measuring government performance, suggests that the government is becoming less open.
Planning for the next general election is already well underway. This preparation is essential to ensure an efficient and effective service is provided to hundreds of MPs and with a fixed deadline there is no margin for error. There will be lots of opportunities to get involved in this intense and rewarding project, for now you can read more about preparing for the general election here.