Our new appearance

We’ve changed the look and feel of the w4mp website to make it work better on mobile devices and also improve some elements of accessiblity.

We hope you like it – but if you have any comments please let us know at editor@w4mp.org

w4mpjobs will be updated next month when this design has bedded in a little.

Changes to Data Protection Requirements for Universal Credit

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.

What Goes On in The Other Place?

The BBC Two documentary ‘Meet the Lords’ is broadcast at 9pm on Monday 27 February.

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.

Need a Helpline?

The Helplines Partnership website lists hundreds of helplines on many different topics, including:

  • Addictions
  • Animals
  • Bereavement
  • Carers
  • Children and Young People
  • Consumer
  • Crime
  • Cults
  • Disability
  • Domestic Violence
  • Dyslexia
  • Education
  • Emotional Distress
  • Employment
  • Family and Parents
  • Gender Identity
  • Health
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Housing and Homelessness
  • Immigration and Asylum
  • Learning Disability
  • Legal, Civil and Welfare Rights
  • Lesbians, Gay Men and Bisexuals
  • Mental Health
  • Missing Persons
  • Money and Debt
  • Occupations and Forces
  • Older People
  • Pregnancy
  • Prisoners and Ex-Offenders
  • Rape and Sexual Abuse
  • Terminal Illness

Parliament’s New Website

Cristian Lorini [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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.

To read more, click here.


The Need to Know Project

By Elliott Brown from Birmingham, United Kingdom (Witton Station – Mind the Gap Uploaded by Oxyman) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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.

POSTnote: Environmental Crime

By Bicheesh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A new POSTnote has been published about Environmental Crime. This POSTnote outlines environmental crimes and how to tackle them, within both an UK and EU context.

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.

To read the full report, click here.

Whitehall Monitor Report, 2017

By Jonathan Joseph Bondhus (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The latest Whitehall Monitor report has been published by the Institute for Government, offering a crucial insight into the way Whitehall Works.

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.

To read the report in full, click here.


Preparing for the General Election

Image by The original uploader was Yugiz at French Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
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.

Or, for those new to the House, you can read more about the planning for the 2015 General Election for a better idea of what happens during this time.


Cyber Security Month

Photo: Harland Quarrington/MOD [OGL (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/1/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Throughout February, the Digital Service and a line-up of industry expert guest speakers will be on hand to answer all of your cyber security questions.

As well as speakers, there will be a number of drop-in sessions and events taking place at various locations across the Parliamentary Estate.

For more information click here.

Or see the full list of events and talks taking place throughout Cyber Month here.