Members’ stationery is split into two different types, general and bespoke.
General stationery consists of the day to day items you will need in your office – writing implements, notebooks, staplers, sellotape etc.
Bespoke stationery is that which has a House of Commons Portcullis or Crest, such as letterheads and post-paid envelopes.
Whilst they are ordered from the same website, the bespoke and general orders are placed and billed separately.
General stationery orders are paid from the MP’s Office Costs Budget. The bespoke stationery comes from a separate cash-limited annual allowance which is billed directly to the House of Commons. It is also possible to order personalised stationery, such as overprinted letterheads, business cards or compliment slips. You can also order copier paper from the bespoke budget.
Details of how to order stationery from either category can be found on the intranet here: https://intranet.parliament.uk/computers-equipment/equipment-supplies/stat/commons-stationery and you can also download a digital letterhead template for use in emails.
Stationery is ordered online and is usually delivered next day, so there is no need to order hundreds of items in advance and then struggle to find anywhere to store them.
There are very strict rules on the usage of the bespoke stationery, postage-paid envelopes and the crowned portcullis. See our guide here for further information: http://www.w4mp.org/w4mp/w4mp-guides/guides-to-parliament/rules-for-the-use-of-stationery-and-postage-paid-envelopes-and-for-the-use-of-the-crowned-portcullis/
When writing to anyone on House of Commons paper, remember that the very symbol at the top is of significant importance. Some organisations can turn white and go apoplectic on receipt of a letter with a House of Commons Crest at the top. It is therefore very important to ensure that all letters that go out in the name of a Member are thoroughly checked for spelling and grammar. Remember, too, that you may be sending other important documents with the covering letter from the Member, so don’t forget to include everything!
You will find that quite a bit of your work becomes repetitive and it’s useful to have some standard letters and forms handy so you don’t have to keep on reinventing them. We have put together a few of these and you can view them all on our page on Standard Letters and Forms. These include:
- some standard letters connected with handling casework (you’ll be using them a lot) as well as forms for collecting information in connection with immigration and asylum casework. The volume of this category of casework varies enormously from constituency to constituency;
- a few forms and letters you’ll need when arranging for constituents to tour the Palace of Westminster, visit Big Ben or sit in the Commons Gallery;
- a guide on opening the post which includes information about suspect packages
Many of these have been ‘borrowed’ from W4MP and adopted officially, so it’s good to see our work is not in vain! It’s worth spending some time reading through these so you get a clear idea of your legal responsibilities in relation to the Data Protection Act 2018.
Apart from the official forms used by departments of the House of Commons and others, feel free to adapt these letters and forms to suit your own purposes. Our suggested examples aren’t meant to be prescriptive – just helpful hints on the items you are likely to find useful.