Brexit Hub – House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library has created a ‘Brexit Hub’ where you can find a wealth of information relating to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.  This is available on the public Parliament website here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/eu-referendum/ and also allows you to sign up for Brexit-related email alerts.

The site has information on:

  • The UK’s contribution to the EU Budget
  • A Guide to the EU Budget
  • Background to the European Union Withdrawal Bill

You can read Parliament’s analysis of how leaving the EU will affect different policy areas in the UK.  Subjects covered include:

  • How Will Brexit Work?
  • Defence & Security
  • Economy, Business & Trade
  • Education
  • Employment & Pensions
  • Environment & Technology
  • Health & Social Care
  • Immigration & Border Controls
  • Transport and infrastructure
  • Background to the referendum

There is also a Brexit Glossary

 

 

Regional Constituency Open Days: Perth and Westminster

Two new constituency open days have been announced in Perth (21 February) and Westminster (10 March), and are open to all constituency staff.

The events will include presentations and breakout sessions on the following:

  • UK visas and immigration
  • HMRC – tax credits
  • Using the House of Commons Library
  • Dealing with casework: sharing best practice (discussion led by caseworkers)
  • Key challenge for an Office Manager (discussion led by Office Managers)
  • Office security
  • IPSA
  • Learning and Development
  • Digital Service.

The events are free and the costs of travel can be reclaimed through allowances in the normal way. Lunch will also be provided.

To book your place email constituencystaffopenday@parliament.uk by 10 February for Perth and by 24 February for Westminster.

For more information on upcoming regional constituency events, click here.

Image by Heplcentcom (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Consultation on the size of the House of Lords

A new committee established by the Lord Speaker has launched an inquiry into how the size of the House of Lords might be reduced. The committee was set up in the wake of the House of Lords agreeing unanimously on 5 December 2016 “that this House believes that its size should be reduced, and methods should be explored by which this could be achieved”.

Submissions are sought by 5pm on 20 February and should be submitted via the website.

Image By H. J. F. Badeley [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Changes to bicycle parking at Westminster

The House of Commons bicycle parking policy, which has been approved by the Administration Committee, states that owners of bicycles wishing to park in Star Chamber Court or the Colonnade are required to mark their bicycle with a numbered yellow plastic tag.

These tags can be obtained from Hallkeeper’s Lodge in St. Stephen’s Hall and should be displayed prominently from the handlebars or from the saddle of the bicycle.

From Monday 30 January 2017, any bicycle parked in Star Chamber Court or the Colonnade during sitting periods that does not display a numbered tag will be marked with a notice informing the owner that the bicycle must be tagged or it will be removed within three days of the notice being issued.

Untagged bicycles that are removed will be put in to storage on the Estate. Any bicycles not reclaimed after two months will be given to charity.

Bringing Animals onto the Parliamentary Estate

On June 6 last year the Administration Committee confirmed the rules on bringing animals onto the Parliamentary Estate.

There has been a recent increase in the number of instances of pass holders bringing animals on to the Estate without authorisation. This may be because not all staff are aware of the restrictions in place.

Under the current Administration Committee rules, no animals other than assistance dogs and security dogs are allowed in the Palace or any of its outbuildings (other than residences).  This rule is in place because of the duty of care that would arise in relation to animal welfare and the health, safety and wellbeing of Members, staff and visitors on the Parliamentary Estate.

In light of the increased traffic all across the Estate carrying out essential works programmes over the coming years, the Estate is likely to become an even less appropriate environment for dogs or cats.  The Committee therefore gave its support to Parliamentary security staff refusing entry to animals that do not fall within the exemption criteria, without express written permission by the Serjeant at Arms. (Exceptional circumstances may include access for purposes of guide dog training).

Department of Health Guide for Constituency Staff

The Department of Health has produced a helpful guide for constituency staff, which has been sent out by email to Office Managers.

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.

Tickets for weekday tours now available

Tickets are now available for audio tours, guided tours and family tours this February half-term and Easter.

Follow in the footsteps of the Queen’s procession at the State Opening of Parliament and view Pugin’s magnificent gilded throne canopy in the Lords Chamber. Pass through Central Lobby, the heart of Parliament, and see the Speaker’s Chair and despatch boxes in the Commons Chamber.

Tickets can now be booked for tours on:

  • Tuesday to Friday, 10 to 17 February
  • Tuesday to Friday, 7 to 13 April
  • All Saturdays until 24 June

Full details on the Parliamentary website.

Proposal to Create a “Public Service Ombudsman”

The Government published a draft bill on 5 December that would create a Public Service Ombudsman for UK reserved matters and public services in England.

The draft bill would abolish the existing Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman, merging their existing responsibilities into a single Public Service Ombudsman (PSO).

The draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill aims to simplify the public service ombudsman system, while also ‘modernising’ aspects of it. The Government expects its proposals will “make it easier than ever before to rectify complaints about a range of public services.”

One of the draft bill’s most notable features is the removal of the ‘MP filter’ – the requirement that all complaints to the existing Parliamentary Ombudsman (PO) must be made through an MP. This filter is unique to the PO.

For further information, see the House of Commons Library blog.