Welcome pack for new staff March 2013

Just started – in the constituency office or at Westminster?

Need a bit of support and encouragement?

Your first stop should be our welcome pack; it’s here.

Next stop should be our guides page.  We are still in the process of updating it but there’s loads there to keep you afloat and just remember: you are not the first to think there’s far too much to absorb.

Good luck!

Winners of the Researcher of the Year Awards 2013

Here are the winners of the Dods/FSB Parliamentary Researcher of the Year awards for 2013:

Liberal Democrat Researcher of the Year Award
Presenting this award: Gordon Birtwistle MP

Winner: Lara Greer, nominated by Stephen Williams MP

Labour Researcher of the Year Award
Presenting this award: Pamela Nash MP
Winner: Pierpaolo Barrett, nominated by David Lammy MP

Conservative Researcher of the Year Award
Presenting this award: Graham Brady MP and Rebecca Harris MP
Winner: Lisa Lovering, nominated by John Glen MP

Crossbench or Other Parties’ Researcher of the Year
Presenting this award: Lord Laming
Winner: Peter Harrison, nominated by Ian Paisley MP

The Special Federation of Small Businesses Award
This Award goes to the researcher that has demonstrated a sound understanding of small businesses in their work.
Presenting this award: Graeme Fisher, FSB
Winner: Matthew Kelcher, nominated by Toby Perkins MP

The Politics Home Digital Engagement Award
This award recognises the best practice and dedication of parliamentary staff (whether Permanent or an Intern) to promoting the work of their MP through digital media.
Presenting this award: Sam Macrory, House Magazine
Winner: Aidan Mundy, nominated by Bridget Phillipson MP

Overall Researcher of the Year Award
This award is selected by the Judges from the preceding winners as being outstanding across the categories and is the winner of a brand new iPad, courtesy of the FSB!
Mr Speaker to present
Winner: Pierpaolo Barrett, Office of David Lammy MP

More information and photos are available on:

International Women’s Day – Inspire a young woman from your constituency






‘Connect Girls, Inspire a Generation’ – Inspire a young woman from your constituency on Thursday 7 March 2013.

The APPG for Women in Parliament is encouraging all MPs to invite a young woman from their constituency to shadow them in Parliament for the day to support the theme ‘The Gender Agenda, Gaining Momentum’ for International Women’s Day (IWD). This is the perfect opportunity for MPs to inspire girls who are interested in politics or taking a leading role in the community.

What will this involve?

  • 10am-4pm – The participant will shadow their MP for the day. This could involve attending meetings, watching the IWD debate in the Chamber (tbc) or assisting in the office. Alternatively, if an MP receives more than one participant they can choose to shadow a member of House of Commons staff.
  • 4-6pm – Afternoon tea on the Terrace in conjunction with Parliagender, Parliament’s Workplace Equality Network on gender equality.
  • This will provide a chance for the participants to connect with each other and swap inspiring stories of their experiences in Parliament. There will also be a photo opportunity for the MP and the participant.
  • The cost of travel to the Houses of Parliament will be heavily subsidized or in some cases completely paid for if the participants travel by train. This will be finalised when we know exactly who is attending and where they are based, so please let us know as soon as possible so that we can make arrangements with the relevant train operating companies.

More information on the intranet here.

Essential list: Government Ministers and their Responsibilities

The list of government ministers and their responsibilities is an essential document for anyone doing casework and needing to contact Ministers on behalf of constituents. It is publicly available and you (and your constituents) can access it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-ministers-and-responsibilities.

The document lists the following:

  • Ministerial departments
  • The ministers within ministerial departments
  • Private offices of all the ministers
  • The executive agencies within each department

Constituency casework – help from the Commons Library

New to casework?

This page from the Commons Library brings together resources that will help you with a range of frequently raised topics. It is available on the intranet here: http://intranet.parliament.uk/research-online/research/constituency-casework/.

The Commons Library can provide impartial background information on issues raised by constituents and advise on where else you can find help. They cannot provide legal advice on specific cases.

Here are the topics covered:

  • MPs, Freedom of Information and Data Protection
  • Sources of information by subject area
  • Briefings on topical constituency issues
  • Briefings on all subjects
  • Commons Library online resources
  • Government guides
  • Useful external websites
  • How to use the Commons Library

Total Pregnancy Yoga & Conditioning Classes

Every Friday 9.30am-10.30am

Westminster Gym Studio, 1 Canon Row

These are open to staff at Westminster, including staff of MPs.

6 weekly classes cost £24 or a course of 10 weekly sessions cost £40.00.  First class is free!

What can I expect?

Exercise during pregnancy is important as it helps assist the expectant mother’s health throughout their pregnancy. This class will offer a safe environment, under the guidance of a qualified instructor. You will be guided through stretching and relaxation, strength and cardiovascular conditioning.

The class will run for 1 hour. The beginning of the class will allow for a 10 minute health screening. Please stay after the class for refreshments.

Exercising while Pregnant FAQ

Can I attend if I’m heavily pregnant?

Until your tenth week of pregnancy, you can attend regular classes, but you must inform the teacher, as some poses should be avoided. Between 10 and 14 weeks, you shouldn’t attend classes, however experienced you are.

Do I need prior experience?

If you are from 14 to 28 weeks pregnant, you do not need to have previous exercise experience before. After 28 weeks, you can only join classes if you have prior exercise experience.

What else should I bear in mind?

If you have any existing medical condition (knee pain, neck pain, high blood pressure etc) you should consult your doctor before attending the class. If you have a health problem, come 5-10 minutes early to talk to Tania the instructor before the class.

If your baby is in an unusual position, you must inform the instructor before taking part in the class.

What should I wear to class?

You should wear comfortable loose clothing that allows teachers to see your body, including your feet and legs. Most students wear leggings or shorts.

When should I stop practising?

Most women can practise up to the last week of their pregnancy.

To book a place please contact: Jo Fletcher x2948 or email her directly at fletcherj@parliament.uk

Westminster Gym and the House of Commons Nursery


Commons Monthly issue 7 now available

Commons Monthly, the monthly enewsletter for Members of the House, is now available online.

Commons Monthly – issue 7 includes:

  • House of Commons Commission Bulletin
  • ParliReach – a new workplace equality network for Parliament
  • catering promotions
  • events
  • and much more.

A printed version is available to Members who would prefer to receive the newsletter in hardcopy.

Commons Library on Twitter

Would you like to like to have quick and easy access to all the latest briefing and research papers of a topical interest for MPs and their staff?  Of course you would.

In case you haven’t already spotted it, the Commons Library have a Twitter account which can be viewed at: https://twitter.com/commonslibrary.

W4MP have always said that the Library is your best friend in Parliament. Although the Library can trace its root back nearly 200 years, it doesn’t mean the Library isn’t focused on the needs of Parliamentarians today. Try them and see!


Is your school involved in Parliament Week – 15-21 November 2013?

MPs and Staff –  are schools in your constituency taking part in Parliament Week – 15-21 November 2013? Here’s the home page.

Teachers and students – how about you? Signed up yet? Whether you hold a debate, watch a film screening or simply get talking about Parliament, politics and democracy, there are lots of ways to get involved in Parliament Week this year. All the information you need is here.

Plan for Parliament Week and beyond. Here below are some more links to specific activities:

Click here to sign up to receive all the latest Parliament Week news and event information via the e-news updates.