Standard letters and forms

This page is full of standard letters, templates and forms for you to use when dealing with casework as well as in applying for tours, tickets etc at Westminster. A few are ‘official’ forms and should not be altered but all the others are there for you to adapt and make your own. You will find that having a store of these, either as part of your casework management software or in a folder to be copied and pasted, will save you hours of work – so feel free to help yourself.

  1. Casework Resources
  2. Palace of Westminster tours, Big Ben tours and Gallery bookings
  3. Opening the post
  4. Other useful templates

1. Casework Resources

Standard response letter for constituents

 

Mr John Brown
[address]
 [date]
Dear Mr Brown,

Thank you for your letter of [date] about [issue/problem/complaint].

I have sent a copy of your letter to [name] at [Ministry/Department/Agency] and asked him/her to [respond/investigate/comment]. I will let you know as soon as I receive a response.

In order to get the reply to you as quickly as possible, I will forward the reply to you with a compliment slip rather than wait for a letter to be typed out. However, if there are any issues arising from the response which you wish to pursue further, please do not hesitate to let me know.

I will treat as confidential all personal information you give to me or to my staff. I may need to pass on this information to others so they can help you. I undertake to handle the information you give me in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. If you have any queries regarding the processing of your personal data by my office, please contact (insert contact details).

Yours sincerely

Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown

 

Standard referral letter

 

[Minister/Head of Department/Chief Executive etc]
[address]
[date]

Dear Minister [etc],
I have received the enclosed letter from my constituent, Mr John Brown.I would be most grateful if you could let me have your comments in a form that I can forward to my constituent.Yours sincerely

Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown

 

Out-of-constituency standard letter

 

Mrs Joan Smith
[address]
[date]

Dear Mrs Smith,

Thank you for your letter of [date] about [issue/problem/complaint].

I have noted your concerns but I am afraid that I am not able to help you directly. There is a strict parliamentary protocol that Members of Parliament do not seek to intervene in matters raised by the constituents of other Members.

If you have not already done so, I recommend that you write to your own Member of Parliament for assistance. If you are not sure who this is, ring the House of Commons Information line on 020 7219 4272 or use this website to check: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk – all you need is your postcode.

Yours sincerely

Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown

 

Immigration and asylum casework forms. You need to create forms which suit your circumstances but here are a  couple of suggestions.

 

Information required when investigating the progress of an application to the UK Border Agency

Full Name and Address of Applicant:
Date of Birth:
Nationality:
Home Office Reference No:
Type of Application:
e.g. Asylum, Indefinite Leave to Remain
Date application submitted:
Additional Useful Information:
e.g. recorded delivery details, 
correspondence from UKBA , date of any decisions or appeals, reasons for refusal, solicitor’s details.

 

 

Information required when dealing with applications for Entry Clearance (visas).

Full Name and Address of Applicant:
Date of Birth:
Nationality:
Where was application made:  
Type of application:
(visit/spouse/student etc)
Date application submitted:
Application reference number:
Sponsor’s details (if relevant):
e.g. occupation and income, relationship to applicant, accommodation offered
Additional useful information:
e.g. details of Entry Clearance Officer reasons for refusal notice, any appeal submitted, applicant’s previous immigration history, solicitor’s details

 


Standard advice surgery action sheet

 

ADVICE SURGERY ACTION SHEET

Date:____________ Place:_______________________   Time: _______________________
Name:_______________________________________    Tel:_________________________
Address:______________________________________   Postcode: ___________________
email:________________________________________

Issue to Raise:

Other relevant information: (addresses, phone/reference numbers):

Action required:

To: _________________________ MP    From: ________________________ Constituent(s)

Data Protection Notice

The information that you have provided on this form will only be used by (….insert MP name….) and constituency staff in relation to the issues recorded above. In order to deal with these issues it may be necessary to pass your details to third parties including, but not limited to, officials and elected representatives of local and national authorities and bodies. You should read and sign the statement below to show that you understand that your information will be used for the purpose described and that you consent to the proposed processing.

If you have any questions or concerns about how your information will be processed or about your right under the Data Protection Act 1998 please contact (insert contact details).

I confirm that it is my wish for you to pursue the matters I have discussed with you. In order to do so you may use all information I have provided about me, whether written or spoken, and including sensitive personal information. I understand that you will do so in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Signed: _________________________________________ (Constituent(s))    Date: _______________

 

House of Commons Compliments Slips with text added (smaller than actual size) These can be ordered from the  stationery supplier.

 

House of Commons referral slip

House of Commons “I took up ..…” slip

 

                                    

             I shall be grateful if you will give the enclosed communication from…………………………………………..your attention and send me a reply which I can forward to my constituent.

Please acknowledge.

 

H.C.91B

 

             I took up with the authorities the matter which you raised with me.  I have now received a reply, which I enclose.

 

H.C.92B

 



2. Palace of Westminster tours, Big Ben tours and Gallery bookings

Sample Booking Sheet for Tours, for use in your own office. (It’s important to keep track of progress of permits)

 

PALACE OF WESTMINSTER TOURS

Date of Visit:___________________________ Start time: ____________________________Name of Group: ______________________________________________________________Leader’s Name: ______________________________________________________________Address:  ___________________________________________________________________

Email:  ______________________________    Phone: _______________________________

Numbers in party: ______________________ Number of Permits:  ___________________Any disabled visitors:   __________________ Other MPs contacted: __________________Date booking sent to CTO:  _______________                                    __________________Date permits received from CTO: __________                                    __________________

Date permits sent to group leader:  ________                                    __________________

If meeting group after tour:    Room ___________ Time _________ Booking ref _________
Comments

 


There are various forms for booking tours and access to the galleries of the Commons (and Lords) chambers.  Best place to start is here:  http://intranet.parliament.uk/access-buildings/access-security/.

Tours are arranged via the Central Tours Office (CTO); more info at http://intranet.parliament.uk/access-buildings/exhibitions-tours/parliamentary-tours/.

For access to the Galleries start here: http://intranet.parliament.uk/access-buildings/access-security/galleries/.

All the forms you need for tours, gallery access, etc, as well as the current Public Gallery Ticket Allocation List, can be found on those pages.

Tour script for the Visitor Route

The whole script is 56 pages long and is stuffed full of information you never knew. You can download it from:http://intranet.parliament.uk/intranet/exhibitions-tours/assets/ToursScript.doc


Standard letter of confirmation to Organiser/Leader of Tour
 

 

Ms Joan Smith
[address] 
   [date]
Dear Ms Smith ,

I am pleased to let you know that I have been able to arrange for permits for you to take a party of up to [number] to view the Palace of Westminster.  Please note that the booking has been made for [number] people; if there is an increase or decrease in the number in your party please contact my office at your earliest convenience.

The visit is arranged for [time] on [date]. The guides have been arranged for you by the Visitor Services department at the House. The guides will meet you in Westminster Hall on arrival.  You will need to enter the building via the Cromwell Green Entrance (please see enclosed permits with  joining instructions and visitor information). If you could please ensure that the permits are presented to the Visitor Services staff at the main entrance upon arrival.

I hope that you and the party enjoy the visit.

Yours sincerely

Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown

 

The arrangements for tours of the Clock Tower (‘Big Ben’ to you and me and everyone else) are that you make a request to the Facilities Department and then they write direct to your constituents; full details at http://intranet.parliament.uk/exhibitions-tours/big-ben.

Standard letter to other MPs asking for their Commons Chamber Gallery tickets

[Name] MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
   [date]
Dear [Name],

I have a group of constituents visiting the Palace of Westminster on [date] and I note that you have gallery tickets allocated for that date. If you will not be using them, I should be most grateful if you could let me have them. It would be very helpful if you could either ring my office on [tel. No.] or complete and return the slip below.

I will, of course, reciprocate if possible at a future date.

Yours sincerely

Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

[  ]  Yes, I am able to let you have my gallery tickets for [date].

[ ]   No, my tickets for [date] are not available.

Alex Chambers MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

[Note: Make the tear off section slightly shorter than the height of a HoC envelope and type the return  address so it will fit neatly into the return envelope’s window]


Visitors to the Lords public gallery will be directed to a separate queue by the Cromwell Green visitor entrance. No tickets are issued, although be aware that Question Time in the Lords is the busiest period.



3. Opening the post

 

OPENING THE POST –
useful guide for staff and/or volunteer workers


Open all envelopes and remove all contents, making sure all items from each envelope are stapled, or temporarily paper-clipped, together.

Date stamp everything at bottom right hand corner of top page only. Make sure stamp shows today’s date!

Sort into piles:

  • Any urgent items.

  • New letters from individuals.

  • Invitations of notices of events. Check these against the diary and mark in pencil as “free” or list clashing commitments.

  • Replies to, or acknowledgement of, or further letters on, existing files/letters. The files need to be dug out of the cabinets and the most recent arrival fixed on the top. Remove existing staples and re-staple or files become messy. Most files are in the Waiting-for-Replies drawer but some may be in short-term or long-term archives. Acknowledgements should just be stapled to the file and put back in the Waiting-for-Replies drawer, unless it looks like there may be a long wait for the full reply or if it is an urgent or distressing matter, in which case send a photocopy of the acknowledgement to the person concerned.

  • Letters, circulars etc. from organisations.

  • House of Commons Order Papers etc. should be filed immediately in the appropriate places but check Order Papers to see if your MP has any Parliamentary Questions (PQs) listed and note them in diary.

Put all the post in one pile in the following order, with rubber band around it and a Post-it label with the date on it:

  • Hand-written letters

  • Other letters from individuals and organisations

  • Invitations/events

  • Replies or responses to our letters (with rest of file attached below)

  • Other letters, circulars, brochures, briefings etc

NB: Any very urgent letters or imminent events should be marked for immediate attention. Any letters marked “private” or “confidential” should have these words highlighted in yellow.

Suspect packages – all packages are scanned on their way into the Parliamentary Estate, but all staff who are required to open mail in the course of their work should bear in mind the possibility of receiving dangerous items or substances. For example, in 2005, packages were detected addressed to Ministers in their Commons offices which turned out to contain a mixture of sugar and weed killer. Look out for:

  • grease marks on the envelope or wrapping
  • an unusual odour
  • visible wiring or tin foil
  • if it feels very heavy for its size
  • delivered by hand or from an unknown source, or posted from an unusual place
  • excessive wrapping
  • too many stamps for the weight of the package

In the event of receiving a suspicious package or letter:

  • do not attempt to open it, bend it, squeeze it or tamper with it in any way
  • do not place it in anything (including water) or cover it
  • put it down gently on a dry, flat surface and walk away from it
  • evacuate the immediate room or area and call security on x3333 or local police in the constituency

 


4. Other useful templates

You will also find a number of helpful templates in the booklet ‘Advice for Members and their staff – Data Protection Act 1998 – Personal information about constituents and others’ from page 32 onwards:  www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/advice-for-members-offices.pdf.  Many of these have been ‘borrowed’ from W4MP and adopted officially so it’s good to see our work is not in vain!

Here’s a list of them:

  • Confidentiality agreement for signature by volunteers, interns, agency and contract staff etc

  • Website privacy policy

  • Data privacy notice for forms and questionnaires

  • Consent to use personal data for constituency news updates

  • Data privacy notice for petitions

  • Opt-out text to include in newsletters and marketing material

  • Record of a constituent’s wishes

  • Advice surgery or interview action sheet

  • Acknowledging contact from constituents

  • Confirming the wishes of a constituent

  • Contacting others about constituency casework

  • Response to a request to act on behalf of a non-constituent

  • Obtaining information from other agencies

  • Freedom of Information requests

  • Notice to constituents from Members intending to stand down

  • Form for constituents to indicate preference for what will happen to their case file in the event of a change in Member


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