Reform in the House of Lords Open Lecture – spaces still available!

Friday 25th January, 2.00-3.30pm at the University of East Anglia, Norwich.

There are still spaces available for the Open Lecture “Reform in the House of Lords – ending the deadlock”.

Baroness Hayman, the former Lord Speaker, will deliver an Open Lecture at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.  This free event is open to all higher education staff and students from colleges and universities across the UK, so please pass this invitation on to colleagues and students within your institution.

Baroness Hayman will speak about change in the House of Lords, considering both the past and the future.  There will be an opportunity for questions after the lecture.

Friday 25th January, 2.00 – 3.30pm, the University of East Anglia, Norwich (

More information about the event can be found here.

Open Lectures are filmed and available online after the event, so you can watch the lecture even if you are unable to travel to Norwich.  You can view previous Open Lectures at

To book a place, please email or call Parliament’s Outreach Service on 020 7219 1650.

Changes to the e-tabling system

From the evening of Wednesday 9 January you will see some changes to the online system used for submitting parliamentary questions electronically to the Table Office.

Full information here on the parliamentary intranet.This includes a useful reference guide (pdf).

Commons Library Open Day 2013 for Librarians and Information Officers

Are you one of these:

•          Librarians

•          Information Officers/Advisors/Analysts

•          Knowledge Management Officers

•          Researchers

……and would like to know more about the valuable, professional service provided by the House of Commons Library to Members of Parliament and their staff?

Location:  Westminster, London
Time:       10.00am-4.30pm (registration from 9.30am)
Cost:        £30

You can register your interest online for the House of Commons Library Open Day, to be held on Wednesday 20 February 2013, by clicking here for full information:

Hurry! You only have until 11 January to register and submit your form.

Sorting out financial complaints – free training from the Financial Ombudsman Service

Financial Ombudsman Service

The ombudsman is the independent service set up by parliament to sort out complaints that consumers and financial businesses haven’t been able to resolve themselves. It is completely impartial and free for consumers to use.

They run free training events (see dates below) for consumer advice workers across the UK, which caseworkers and researchers have previously attended – and they’d be very pleased to welcome more.

Registration is from 9.30am for a 10am start and the sessions finish by 4pm. A light lunch is provided. The schedule covers:

  • the ombudsman’s role and powers, which complaints they can consider and how they can help
  • the decision making process – how they resolve disputes and settle complaints
  • their approach to complaints about the treatment of consumers in financial difficulties
  • hot topics including PPI, payday loans and unaffordable lending
  • help available for consumers with physical or mental illness or accessibility needs
  • ‘case talk’ – what’s on your desk?

You can book your place by returning a form from

If you have any questions about the events, please email

Any non-event or constituency enquiries can be sent to

The ombudsman is planning several constituency drop-in sessions for 2013/14, which will be listed on their website. They also run free workshops for small businesses, which aim to improve their knowledge of how the ombudsman works as well as to promote good complaint-handling.

W4MP hears that the next scheduled events early in 2013 are:

  • 30 January, in Stratford, London E15
  • Reading on 13 February
  • Chelmsford on 27 February

These events aren’t specifically for MPs’ staff, but they’re intended to inform anyone working with the public about the ombudsman and how they can help. They’ve had caseworkers attend in the past, as well as representatives from well-known charities and local community groups.

Constituency-based staff – Parliamentary Open Day Tues 12 March 2013. Few places left…

Update 11 December: we hear that there are just a few few places remaining…..Do it now!

Members’ staff based in the constituency are invited to attend a Parliamentary Open day on Tuesday 12 March 2013.

The day begins with an optional guided tour of the Palace of Westminster or the Parliamentary Archives and is then split into two sessions; a morning session of talks from House representatives, and an exhibition of House services in the afternoon with the opportunity to network with other Members’ staff. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Further information is available on the intranet.

Places are limited and are allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Those wishing to attend should send an email to Laurie Atkinson at providing the following information:

  • Name of staff member
  • Contact email and telephone number
  • Constituency
  • Preference for tour*: Palace of Westminster or Parliamentary Archives or neither
  • Access and/or dietary requirements (if any).

*please note that those wishing to take part in a tour are required to arrive no later than 8.40am.