New home for alt.guides

alt.guides

Parliament is a serious place, and the Palace of Westminster and constituency offices are filled with hard-working, dedicated professionals engaged in the important business of running the country.  Yet even the most committed need time for rest and recuperation, space to kick back and unwind, and opportunities to take a sideways look at their workplace, employers and even their political masters.

For many years we’ve published a range of material  for staff who are looking for something less serious and rather more entertaining than the average guide to best practice.

Now they have their own home, along with an archive of our much-loved Hoby cartoons – over at http://alt.w4mp.org/

We hope you enjoy these guides as much as we do.

New Customer Services Hub

A new Customer Services Hub will open in the Members’ Centre in Portcullis House at 09:00 on Tuesday 4 September 2018.

It will include the Procedural Hub, the Library, the Parliamentary Digital Service, a General House Services enquiry and help desk, as well as charging lockers.

As the Derby Gate Library will be closing at 5pm on Monday 3 September to allow works to take place, some Library services will be made available in the Customer Services Hub.

Please see the intranet for full details: https://intranet.parliament.uk/business-news/news-current-issues/news/2018/august/changes-to-the-pch-members-centre/

W4MP privacy notice

As you’re no doubt aware, both from the deluge of emails from mysterious organisations asking you to ‘reconfirm’ their permission to deluge you with unwanted missives, or your own attempts to come to terms with the implications for the office filing system, the General Data Protection Regulations come into force in UK  law on May 25.

You can read more on the Information Commissioner’s website.

We do hold some personal data in order to deliver w4mp and w4mpjobs, and have a privacy policy which explains what we hold and what we do. We don’t have any mailing lists and hold things like names and addresses of advertisers in order to provide our service.

If you have any questions then contact editor@w4mp.org

Department of Health Guide for Constituency Staff – updated

The Department of Health has updated its helpful guide for constituency staff, which has been sent out by email to Members of Parliament.

The Ministerial correspondence – Guide for constituency staff is designed to help constituency office staff find their way around the health and social care system, and identify which organisation is best placed to help them with their constituency enquiries and casework. The guide explains the roles of the NHS trusts and arms-length bodies (ALBs) in the health and care sector, and includes contact details for the chief executives of all the Department’s ALBs.

If you have not already received a copy of this guide and would like one, please email us on editor@w4mp.org and we will email you a copy.  Please note that this will only be sent out to those with verified Parliamentary email addresses.  It is not available to the public.

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.