The Commons, Our Parliament, Play your Part

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A new campaign has launched: The Commons, Our Parliament, Play your Part.

Its aim is to help colleagues understand how the House of Commons works and connect us to the wider parliamentary community, including Members and Members staff.

Have you ever wondered…

  • What goes on behind the scenes of the Chamber and select committees?
  • How has the pandemic affected the work of the House of Commons and MPs’ offices?
  • What happens during a constituency surgery?
  • What do the whips really do and how do they work with House staff?
  • How your role fits into all this?

The campaign will have a range of events and content including lunch and learns and conversations on culture, videos on what a week in Parliament looks like, resources on how Committees function and lots more!

See here for further information: https://intranet.parliament.uk/business-news/news-current-issues/news/2021/february-correct/the-commons-our-parliament-play-your-part-/

Is your security clearance up to date?

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Your security clearance lasts for a maximum of three years.  With staff working from home, it’s quite easy to let your security clearance lapse without you realising it.  However, if it does lapse, you will not only lose access to the Parliamentary estate, but you may also lose access to the Parliamentary network – i.e. your emails, the intranet, etc.

Go and have a look at your pass and check if it’s still in date.  If you don’t have a physical pass, but have security clearance for network access, you can check the date on the email you were sent when clearance was first granted (you did keep it, didn’t you?)

If your clearance is due to expire soon, or has already expired, please download the Members’ Staff Security Clearance form here: https://intranet.parliament.uk/security/personal-security-vetting-and-passes/security-forms/ fill it in and send it off to the Security and Vetting Team.

 

 

Parliamentary Constituencies Act receives Royal Assent and becomes law

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The Parliamentary Constituencies Act received Royal Assent on Tuesday 14 December.  This law will ensure that Parliamentary constituencies in the UK are more equal in size and will make elections fairer.

You can read the Government press release here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-law-passed-will-make-voting-in-uk-general-election-fairer

The House of Commons Library has some new research documents on the topic.

The Parliamentary Constituencies Bill 2019-21 – https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8921/

Parliamentary boundary reviews: public consultations – https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-7696/

Constituency boundary reviews and the number of MPs – https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn05929/

Dissolution Guidance – updated 2019

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Updated 8 November 2019.

With the prospect of a General Election in sight, the House Authorities have published Dissolution Guidance for

Please also see the Summary of changes to dissolution guidance for 2019 which gives updates on support services, Data Protection and GDPR, IPSA, Parliamentary Digital Service, Library Services, Security and the nursery.

IPSA

IPSA’s General Election Guidance

IPSA Campaign Activities Guidance

Evidence Guidance

NB – ISPA has now removed the relevant pages from its website

 

HoC Library Services

You will no longer have access to the services of the House of Commons Library.  If you have any subscriptions via the House of Commons Library, they will be suspended for the duration of dissolution.  This includes RightsNet and and any newspapers and databases.

We will update this page as we receive further information.

Survey of MPs Staff – please respond

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Following the Gemma White QC Report into bullying and harassment of MPs’ staff, the House of Commons service are thinking about what they can do to help to include MPs’ staff within the parliamentary community.  They would like to take the opportunity to ask you your views on how they can best do this.  The survey takes only a minute or two and can be accessed here:

MP staff survey

The survey will close on Friday 8 November 2019.

POST Training for Academic Researchers

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POST – the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology – is presenting regional training sessions for researchers to learn how the UK Parliament works and ways to engage with Parliament using research, with a particular focus on framing and communicating your research in a policy context.

What does the training cover?
This training gives an overview of the UK Parliament and covers ways to work with the institution including details on Select Committees, legislative scrutiny, the House of Commons and House of Lords libraries, and POST. It also includes sessions on identifying how your research relates to policy, and communicating your research at Parliament.

How is the training delivered?
Sessions are delivered by officials from POST and Select Committees. The training is interactive and practical. You will leave with an action plan, plenty of resources and the chance to join our alumni network to receive further opportunities and support from Parliament. Refreshments and lunch are included.

Who should attend?
This event is aimed at academic researchers as well as those working in policy brokerage/research impact roles.

What will I learn?
As a result of the training you will:

  • understand Parliament’s role and processes and the difference between Parliament and Government
  • know how research is used in the UK Parliament
  • be able to identify opportunities to feed your research into Parliament’s work
  • know how your research could be relevant to Parliament’s work, and how to frame it in this context
  • learn tips and advice on communicating your research at Parliament including style and tone
  • be aware of where to go for further support

What does it cost?
There is an attendance fee of £40, including VAT. If this fee is a barrier to your attendance, please contact us; we may make exceptions in some circumstances.

More information can be found at www.parliament.uk/academic-training

Parliamentary or political? Advice on use of House-provided stationery in the coming months

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The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has issued a reminder to Members about the appropriate use of House-provided stationery, particularly in the run-up to the May elections and the EU Referendum. Your Member will have received this message by email on 4 April, and a hard copy has been circulated to the Westminster offices. Please do take time to read this, and refer to the current rules on the use of the House emblem and House of Commons stationery published on the intranet.

What is ‘Prorogation’?

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Need some light shedding on this strange term?  Here are some definitions.

From Parliament’s own website:
https://www.parliament.uk/site-information/glossary/prorogation/

Prorogation marks the end of a parliamentary session.  It is the formal name given to the period between the end of a session of Parliament and the State Opening of Parliament that begins the next session.  The parliamentary session may also be prorogued when Parliament is dissolved and a general election called.

How is prorogation marked?

The Queen formally prorogues Parliament on the advice of the Privy Council.

Prorogation usually takes the form of an announcement, on behalf of the Queen, read in the House of Lords.  As with the State Opening, it is made to both Houses and the Speaker of the House of Commons and MPs attend the Lords Chamber to listen to the speech.

The same announcement is then read out by the Speaker in the Commons.  Following this both the House of Commons and House of Lords are officially prorogued and will not meet again until the State Opening of Parliament.

Prorogation announcement

The prorogation announcement sets out the major Bills which have been passed during that session and also describes other measures which have been taken by the Government.

Prorogation: what happens to Bills still in progress?

Prorogation brings to an end nearly all parliamentary business.

However, Public Bills may be carried over from one session to the next, subject to agreement.  The first Bill to be treated in this way was the Financial Services and Markets Bill in session 1998-99.

From the BBC’s Politics pages:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/a-z_of_parliament/default.stm

When a parliamentary session comes to an end, Parliament is said to “prorogue” until the next session begins.

Following the prorogation ceremony all outstanding business falls, including early day motions and questions which have not been answered.

Any uncompleted bills have to be re-introduced afresh in the next session.

The power to prorogue Parliament lies with the Queen, who does so on the advice of the Privy Council.

The ceremony

In an echo of the state opening of Parliament, the Speaker and members of the Commons attend the upper chamber where they listen to a speech by the leader of the House of Lords reviewing the session’s work.

By ancient tradition, legislation which has passed all parliamentary stages is given royal assent in Norman French using the words “La Reyne le veult”, which roughly translates as “the Queen wills it”.

The Speaker then returns to the Commons and reads out the same speech.

Following this, the House is officially prorogued and the Commons will not meet again until the next state opening of Parliament.

There’s also some more useful stuff in
House of Commons Factsheet P4 “Sittings of the House” at: 
http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/p04.pdf

and you can view the most recent prorogation at https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/occasions/prorogation/