The Members and Peers Staff Association
Page last updated: 22 February 2012
MAPSA Newsletter –
Following on from our November newsletter, I am pleased to say that it has
been another busy few months for MAPSA and we have been involved with a
varied range of meetings in the House, alongside advising individual
members on employment matters. In no particular order, here are the
Procedure Select Committee
11th January I appeared on behalf of MAPSA before the Procedure Select
Committee and give evidence to its consultation on sitting hours and the
Click here to read the transcript.
most of the discussion centred around the potential effects of any changes
to the House Staff, I and Max Friedman from UNITE talked about family
friendly hours and the possible effects on our staff who do not have fixed
hours and rotas, and are therefore more liable to be taken advantage of if
late sittings return with more frequency. Hopefully our views were taken
on board and all staff involved will be continue to be fully consulted
before any major changes occur.
submission to the Annual Review of the MP's Scheme of Expenses and Costs
members managed to get their own submissions in too, but meantime
to read ours in response to IPSA's consultation document.
(PDF 16KB) Obviously, our main bid, along with all the other staff
organisations, was for an increase in the staffing budget so, we shall
find out very soon if we have been successful.
Meeting with Ken Olisa, IPSA Board Member
10th January we, along with Representatives of UNITE, and the Labour, Tory
and Lib Dem staff organisations, met with Ken Olisa who is a member of the
IPSA Board. Although we are now fairly plugged in to the IPSA team this is
the first time we have formally met a member of the Board, and we were all
very impressed with his interest and understanding of our points of view
and we covered a wide range of topics - all of which are covered in the
Meeting with Representatives of the Vote Office
before Xmas, Gill Cheesman and I met with representatives of the Vote
Office with regard to the Savings Programme and how they could make their
services better, in particular with regard to how they deal with staff and
this is to be an ongoing consultation with all staff groups, our initial
thoughts were that the main problem was lack of communication and also the
lack of a decent website! If the intranet was better, we could use it more
effectively and then not rely so much on paper based documents from the
Vote Office - although recognising some MPs and staff will always prefer
paper! Some of the questions raised were incorporated into the Staff
Survey which I hope you all completed but, if you have any particular
comments on this area, please let us know.
Meeting with staff from the Communications Directorate
weeks ago I met with Vasillis and Marianne regarding Members Staff and
internal communication. We are
going to be allowed to send round emails to all on the Parliamentary
system but we will be able to provide information and a link to our page
on W4MP on the weekly "Dates for Your Diary" email that the Communications
Department send round so that should really increase our profile, and I
will try and do that after recess in order to reach the maximum number of
people. If anyone has any ideas how to use this particular means of
communication to the best of our ability, please get in touch!
one aborted, and indeed very cold, attempt to set up the new account Julie
and I have now signed our lives away and the new Lloyds account (which is
the only one that does not charge for the privilege of looking after our
money) should be up and running shortly.
Meeting with ParliOut
Baker and Alex Hernandez met with representatives of ParliOut, the new
body representing LGBT staff to see how we could work together with them.
with Liz Crotty to look at the Catering Services now that the Savings
Programme is under way, and they plan to meet more regularly so we can
feed in (no pun intended!) to the process and see how members feel about
the changes in the Catering and Banqueting services.
all for now,
Message from the
Chair, Sian Norris-Copson to MAPSA members. 7th November 2011
Savings Programme and Staff
Deadline for your response: Friday 11 November.
The House of Commons Commission is committed to reducing the cost of the
House Service by at least 17% by 2014/15. Last year the Management Board
consulted on a package of initial savings which amount to £12 million
for this year, rising to £17 million by 2014/15. We recently had a
meeting with the Director of Resources, Andrew Walker, and have been
asked for our views on their proposals.
The consultation document sets out the Management Board’s direction of
travel for achieving further savings and can be seen at:
The aim for this stage is that, by examining what services are really
needed and how they can best be provided, it will be possible to provide
services which are not only less costly but also more effective. That
will only be achieved if the Commission hears your views on how the
proposed changes will affect staff, and your thoughts on any additional
ideas for savings.
It is therefore vital therefore that as many MAPSA members as possible
engage with the consultation process and contribute their views both
individually (by email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Central Communications
Team, Office of Chief Executive, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA) and
The consultation deadline is this Friday 11th November so, if you
wish to send some thoughts for our submission, please can you do so by
end Thursday 10that the latest. Again please send directly to me on
Committee on Members Expenses
Thank you for your thoughts on the Committee.
here to read our submission.
Lisa Townsend and I appeared before the Committee last Thursday morning
and, if you really want to (!), you can see our evidence session here:
http://www.parliamentlive.tv/. Alternatively, the
uncorrected transcript of our session is on the Committee’s website.
(Please note, that although the evidence was taken in public, because it
is uncorrected the final form of its publication has not yet been
approved by the Committee)
It was well worth doing and we made the Committee aware of the problems
we have with operating the expenses system, and brought up several
issues they had not come across before so we look forward the
Committee’s final report and conclusions.
Commons View - Issue 3, October 2011
We were asked to contribute towards the new edition of Commons View, the
e-newsletter for Members’ staff provided by the House of Commons
Service, and this is available online. Click
here (on the intranet) to view the new edition.
If you would like to offer feedback, submit an article for inclusion in
future editions or for ideas how to improve House services available to
Members’ staff, contact
As you have no doubt discovered, HR and personnel advice is one of those
grey areas currently not provided either by the House or IPSA. We are
working on getting this resolved but, in the meantime you might like to
know that there is a service available for Members with HR queries and,
on a very limited basis to others. If you do have any personnel issues,
and would prefer us to raise this on your behalf, please let me know.
For information the intranet link is
It has been suggested that MAPSA set up a mentoring scheme for new
members of staff to help them find their way around, use IPSA and just
provide a helpful resource. If anyone would be interested in being a
mentor or if you know of any new members of staff who would like to be
helped out, then please let me know.
Internet and Email Security
There seem to be an increasing number of cases of MPs asking for access
to their staff’s email and internet accounts, and UNITE have been told
about this too. If you do know of any examples of this can you let us
know as, although an MP technically owns the data for any parliamentary
account in their office, they still have to tell staff this and it would
seem most don’t. It may become a big issue so any information would be
Thank you all for continuing with your MAPSA membership, please stay
involved and “watch this space” for information about forthcoming
socials including visits to Number 10 and Xmas Drinks.
Patron: The Speaker of
the House of Commons
The Members and Peers Staff Association (MAPSA) is
the successor organisation to the Secretaries and Assistants Council (SAAC).
MAPSA aims to further the interests of all staff, whether members or
not, and acts a channel between them and Members, Peers, Officers and
Departments of the House. We have achieved many improvements in working
conditions including the introduction of pensions for all staff of MPs
and, more recently, we successfully opposed the proposed introduction of
central employment for staff.
We are in constant contact with IPSA about improving terms and
conditions for Members' staff as the new system continues to bed in and
are heavily involved in the current staffing consultation.
Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed with
the House Authorities and UNITE, we are consulted on areas of direct
interest to all staff, including security, health and safety and the
environment. We are also invited to contribute to House of Commons
Committee investigations and our submissions to both the House of
Commons Commission and the Committee on Standards in Public Life can be
online here and the transcript of the evidence we gave to the
Kelly Commission is also available
We also gave evidence to the Administration Committee regarding changes
in Catering, and are involved with future consultations on the
Parliamentary Standards Act. MAPSA holds regular meetings as well as
organising social events and visits to places of interest both inside
and outside the Houses of Parliament. If you are interested in joining
us, and helping to improve working conditions for staff, membership is
open to everyone working for a Member of Parliament or a Peer, including
staff members working in constituency offices.
Membership is just £1 per year and more information is available from
our Membership Secretary, Alexandra Hernandez (email@example.com).
The Members of
the Executive are:
Check out other groups staff can join here.