Covid-19 and Casework: Ask the Library 25-26 June 2020


On 25 and 26 June 2020 the House of Commons Library is offering a series of sessions which are aimed at helping Members’ staff deal with casework arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The sessions will also be of wider interest to Members’ staff interested in policy development.

The sessions will be provided online via MS Teams and will be recorded, so if you miss one you can listen later.

The cut-off date for signing up is Midnight on 22 June 2020.

You must have a Parliamentary network account to access this.  See here for more details:

House of Commons Library Help Hub Community


Have you visited the House of Commons Library Help Hub Community yet?

The Help Hub Community is a forum where caseworkers can ask each other questions, share experiences and provide advice.  They also run regular ‘ask the expert sessions’ with Library specialists.

MPs’ Staff should have been sent an email inviting them to join the community.  If you haven’t received one, please contact and they will sign you up and send you a link.

Listen to the new House of Commons Library Podcast


Bringing you the latest in Westminster and beyond.

Each week the House of Commons Library will tackle a new topic in 20 minutes, helping you stay up to date. The schedule for future episodes is as follows:

Please listen, and subscribe via the site if you’d like to have future episodes delivered straight to your inbox.

Find the podcast here:

Happy listening!
House of Commons Library

NEW: courses to help you with casework


The House of Commons Library is offering four new ‘taster’ courses aimed at helping you answer common constituents’ questions in the areas of housing, special educational needs, employment law and anti-social behaviour.

The training will be provided in Westminster by experienced lawyers. You can sign-up via ACT by first logging into the ACT Learning Pool (via Office 365), and then clicking the links below:

Introduction to Housing Law for caseworkers
The Law and Special Educational Needs and Disability
An introduction to employment law for caseworkers
The Law and anti-social behaviour

Once you have registered, we will be in touch with further details.  If you have any questions, please contact or call x3666.

Library Talks


The House of Commons Library Talks are available in audio format on the UK Parliament YouTube Channel.

A full list of talks, including those without audio, can be found on the intranet here:

The following list contains only those talks for which an audio recording is available:

Title: Social Policy – Commons Library talk and Q&A
Date originally presented: Wednesday 30 Nov 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: Brexit: ask the experts – Commons Library talk and Q&A
Date originally presented: Wednesday 16 Nov 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: Earnings in 2016 – Commons Library talk
Date originally presented: Tuesday 08 Nov 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: The Northern Powerhouse?
Date originally presented: Tuesday 01 Nov 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: Introduction of 30 hours of free childcare
Date originally presented: Tuesday 19 Jul 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: Brexit: what happens next?
Date originally presented: Wednesday 13 Jul 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: Employment and Support Allowance changes from April 2017
Date originally presented: Tuesday 12 Jul 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: The role of the courts in the contemporary constitution
Date originally presented: Tuesday 05 Jul 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: Elections May 2016: results in context
Date originally presented: Tuesday 24 May 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: The phasing out of security of tenure in the social rented sector
Date originally presented: Tuesday 15 Mar 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: The Barnett Formula
Date originally presented: Wednesday 09 Mar 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: Replacing the UK’s nuclear deterrent
Date originally presented: Tuesday 08 Mar 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: Supporting science
Date originally presented: Wednesday 02 Mar 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: The Draft Investigatory Powers Bill
Date originally presented: Tuesday 23 Feb 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Title: Hot topics in Higher Education and Further Education: funding and policy changes
Date originally presented: Wednesday 10 Feb 2016
Intranet page:
YouTube link:

Complaints about an MP


w4mp is not able to investigate complaints about MPs or the House of Commons. Please do not send complaints or personal information to w4mp, as we will not be able to assist.

There are two organisations which deal with complaints about Members of Parliament:

You may wish to contact the House of Commons Enquiry Service for further advice on how to make a complaint.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards will investigate allegations that an MP has broken the Code of Conduct and the rules associated with it. These include for example rules about: „

The Commissioner will not investigate complaints about:

  • policy matters;
  • an MP’s views or opinions;
  • an MP’s handling of or decision about constituency cases and correspondence at any stage; (A local MP will generally do as much as they can to help a constituent, but (s)he is not obliged to take up every matter that is brought to their attention);
  • the conduct of an MP’s wider public life, unless the MP’s conduct has caused serious damage to the reputation of the House of Commons as a whole or of MPs more generally.

Further information can be found in the advice leaflet from the PCS.

Compliance Officer for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

The post of Compliance Officer for IPSA was established by the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009, as amended by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

The Compliance Officer’s remit is defined in statute and is to:

  • conduct an investigation if he has reason to believe that an MP may have been paid an amount under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (the Scheme) that should not have been allowed; and
  • at the request of an MP, review a determination by IPSA to refuse reimbursement for an expense claim, in whole or in part.

As the Compliance Officer’s role is confined to matters pertaining to the Scheme, he has no power to investigate complaints that pre-date the creation of IPSA in May 2010.  Complaints regarding expense claims prior to May 2010 are usually handled by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

w4mp Guides-


LIBRARY:  Authoritative guides to help in your job, useful links and light reading.  


Since it began in 2000 w4mp has commissioned an extensive collection is a of guides to good practice to provide you with advice and support in carrying out the main activities expected of you in your job.

Most guides are written by staff working for MPs; some originate from various House Departments or our good friends in the  House of Commons Library.

Guides are constantly being revised and updated so if you do print a guide out please remember to check back from time to time to see if changes have been made.

Navigating the w4mp Library

You can search the whole site, including guides, using the standard search bar or this search box:

Or you can follow these links

If you would like to see a full list of all guides then we have a Guide Index that you can consult.

“My Constituency” iPad app now available


A new version of the ‘My Constituency’ iPad app has been released on the iTunes Store. Created by the find people in the House of Commons Library it will display key statistics for each constituency area including election results, unemployment, youth unemployment and population,



In this version new datasets have been added and improvements to the displays have been made.

You can find out and compare results from one area to another and against the region or the UK as a whole. The information is displayed in bar charts and line graphs. Or you can use My Constituency’s map to find out about a constituency and those around it.

The datasets are produced by House of Commons Library statisticians using a variety of authoritative sources including the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Department for Work and Pensions. The unemployment figures are updated monthly and with other statistics updated annually.

Find out more and if you do download it you might like to provide feedback.

View In iTunes  (an Android version is promised for the next release)

Planning matters


This very useful Standard Note by Christopher Barclay in the Commons Library provides a short introduction to planning, including the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), mainly to assist with replying to constituency questions.

It is on the public website at:

It includes:

  1. The normal planning procedure
  2. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. Third Party right of appeal
    2. The Planning Inspector
    3. Planning Policy and the Green Belt
    4. Paying for infrastructure
    5. Buying planning consent
    6. Housing Targets
    7. Garden Grabbing
    8. Permitted Development Rights
    9. Calling in/ recovered inquiries
    10. Consent given on the basis of false information
    11. Enforcement
  3. The Role of an MP in planning