Dissolution Guidance – updated 2019

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.

See also the Dissolution guidance: FAQs for Members

 

IPSA

IPSA’s General Election Guidance

IPSA Campaign Activities Guidance

Evidence Guidance

 

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

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

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

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: https://intranet.parliament.uk/research-online/commons-library-services/commons-library-talks/


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: http://bit.ly/2fX3jt1
YouTube link: http://bit.ly/2kzWCuw

Title: Brexit: ask the experts – Commons Library talk and Q&A
Date originally presented: Wednesday 16 Nov 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/2fX3jt1
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/cIHGudcm9kA

Title: Earnings in 2016 – Commons Library talk
Date originally presented: Tuesday 08 Nov 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/2kAai8J
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/hSdpD7xEDgY

Title: The Northern Powerhouse?
Date originally presented: Tuesday 01 Nov 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/2kzOWs3
YouTube link: http://bit.ly/2kzZEPt

Title: Introduction of 30 hours of free childcare
Date originally presented: Tuesday 19 Jul 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/28SzFSq
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/bEobVUKsC80

Title: Brexit: what happens next?
Date originally presented: Wednesday 13 Jul 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/2kzZVlt
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/f62o-q_8cak

Title: Employment and Support Allowance changes from April 2017
Date originally presented: Tuesday 12 Jul 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/28SzR3N
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/3QzscsAVCB8

Title: The role of the courts in the contemporary constitution
Date originally presented: Tuesday 05 Jul 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/28SzxSS
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/Z2tuwczlgdk

Title: Elections May 2016: results in context
Date originally presented: Tuesday 24 May 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/2kzSniu
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqcL-FtAQR0

Title: The phasing out of security of tenure in the social rented sector
Date originally presented: Tuesday 15 Mar 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/21b5aIc
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/yl7PArqsj2g

Title: The Barnett Formula
Date originally presented: Wednesday 09 Mar 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/21b50k0
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/OPlYOogzOCQ

Title: Replacing the UK’s nuclear deterrent
Date originally presented: Tuesday 08 Mar 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/21b4QJv
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/J70VC77Cwu8

Title: Supporting science
Date originally presented: Wednesday 02 Mar 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/1Uam2wF
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/M11BoqoEwOI

Title: The Draft Investigatory Powers Bill
Date originally presented: Tuesday 23 Feb 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/2kA7SLs
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/k5SRZphmVho

Title: Hot topics in Higher Education and Further Education: funding and policy changes
Date originally presented: Wednesday 10 Feb 2016
Intranet page: http://bit.ly/2kAbblY
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/z9Fg4cVA4rQ

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

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.

Email etiquette

Isn’t it annoying when people send you e-mails that don’t contain any punctuation?  Or when you are sent an e-mail which has 300 recipients, and you scroll down through all the names to find a one-line message at the bottom?  Honestly, some people should use a bit of Netiquette!

What is Netiquette? 

Internet Etiquette, or ‘Netiquette’ is the unofficial ‘code of conduct’ for Internet users; a guide to avoiding inadvertently offending those with whom you communicate by e-mail and other electronic means such as chat rooms, instant messengers and message boards.

Blind Copying

Blind copying, or ‘BCC’ is a useful way of hiding the names of the recipients of an e-mail.  There are three main reasons for using the ‘BCC field’:

  1. to keep e-mail addresses private (so that the recipients aren’t able to copy the e-mail addresses of everyone else on the list)
  2. to prevent long lists of names appearing when printing or forwarding messages – some recipients get so irritated by long recipient lists, that they just delete the message without reading it.
  3. To prevent accidental clicking ‘Reply to All’ occurring.

If you can’t see the BCC field when you open up a new message in Outlook, simply click VIEW > BCC field and it will appear.  It will then show up on all new messages, unless you choose to hide it again.

Shouting

When people type messages which are all in capital letters, e.g. with the Caps Lock on, it is referred to as ‘shouting’ and is considered very rude indeed.

Use Appropriate Language

Just as in face-to-face communication, adjust your language according to your audience.  Avoid swearing or using abusive language, don’t write anything which could be construed as sexist, racist, homophobic or comments which could incite arguments (flaming)

Punctuation

Rules of punctuation still exist in e-mails.  When it comes to punctuation, you should treat an e-mail in the same manner as a formal written letter.  Lack of punctuation not only makes a message very difficult to read, but also makes the writer look very unprofessional and, on occasion, a bit of an idiot.

Emoticons

An emoticon is a graphical representation of an emotion.  The most common of these is a ‘smiley’  –   :o)   When looked at sideways, it looks like a smiley face.  These should not be used in formal communication, but are sometimes useful in very informal chat situations where a message you mean as a joke may be misunderstood, or otherwise be deemed rather impolite.  There are many different emoticons and many  lists of them can be found on the Internet, simply by searching on the word “emoticons”.

Post in Haste, Repent at Leisure

If you receive an e-mail which annoys or upsets you, don’t respond to it immediately.  Print it out and keep it for a while.  With e-mail, it’s too easy to whip off a tart response in seconds, hit the ‘send’ button and…..”damn, I got it wrong, I didn’t mean that”.  Too late.  It’s gone, and it’s almost certain you can’t get it back.  Always think before you reply.

Flaming

Flaming is where people make personal (written) attacks, especially in chat rooms, rather than sticking to the topic of conversation.  Flaming should be avoided at all costs, because it spoils the conversation for other members of the group.  Sometimes, flaming occurs because of a misunderstanding, for example when someone has been SHOUTING in their messages.

Beware of ‘Reply All’

Beware of defaulting to use the ‘reply all’ button all the time. Only use ‘reply all’ if your reply is important to all the recipients. Also, using it too often can lead to automatically replying all with an email not intended for all recipients – very embarrassing and a sticky situation to have to escape from.

Avoid Embarrassing Emails

It’s easy to accidentally hit ‘send’ when a message was not yet ready to go. This can be quite embarrassing, especially if you’d intended to change the text later before sending the mail. Since it’s difficult to disable the ‘send’ button, you should make sure the message does no harm even if you hit that button accidentally.

Either:

  • leave the address field empty, or
  • address the message to yourself while you are still composing it.

Only enter the final recipient when you are absolutely ready to send the mail.

Safety Online

Spam

Spam is, quite simply, unsolicited junk mail.  The name ‘spam’ comes from a Monty Python sketch where, on the menu in a cafe, everything comes with spam.

Some people are lucky enough not to get any spam at all, others may get hundreds of unwanted messages a day. Users of the Parliamentary Network benefit from a spam filter, which does catch most of the rubbish before it gets to your inbox.

Spam does not necessarily have to come from unknown sources, a lot of spam comes from friends in the form of jokes and ‘sillies’, which they send to all of their friends, who in turn send it to all of their friends. Before you know it, your e-mail is full of the stuff and you’ve got no work done. If a friend starts sending you unwanted e-mails, ask them to stop.

However, you must never click on an ‘unsubscribe’ link (or any other links) in messages from unknown sources, as you are just confirming to the spammer that you exist, and you’ll probably end up on even more junk mailing lists.

If you receive spam of a racist or obscene nature, especially if it involves children, you can report it (anonymously, if you prefer) to the Internet Watch Foundation (www.iwf.org.uk) who will investigate and take appropriate action.

Personal Information

There is a famous cartoon from the New York Times, showing two dogs at a computer, and one says “On the Internet, no-one knows you’re a dog”.  We can’t reproduce the picture here, for copyright reasons, but you can find it easily enough by searching on the Internet.  Although it’s funny, it’s also a very serious warning.

People you may chat with by e-mail or in chat rooms may not always be who they seem.  Anyone can be nice in such an anonymous setting, but how would you like it if those people started knocking on your door, or phoning you?  Don’t ever give out personal details such as phone numbers, e-mail addresses, or information about your family, school or workplace.  There have been many cases of personal details being abused, causing great distress to the victims.

Office Email Policy

You may find it useful to establish an office email policy, which can incorporate the above and any other rules for using email you think appropriate for your office and staff (seek colleagues’ opinions first of course). All employees should sign off on having received the information once it is finalised.

You might consider:

  • how restrictive you should be on the use of email for personal reasons at work. Your policy may like to emphasise that the use of the domain name (@parliament.uk) should be reserved for work-related emails and emails to colleagues only.
  • whether you will require all employees to have an email signature.
  • whether to establish a policy for deleting messages.
  • when to use email and when to use post – is your MP happy for you to contact constituents via email if they have emailed you, or should a letter always be sent?
  • When sending emails outside of the Parliamentary Network, a disclaimer is added automatically, which reads:

“UK Parliament Disclaimer: This e-mail is confidential to the intended recipient. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender and delete it from your system. Any unauthorised use, disclosure, or copying is not permitted. This e-mail has been checked for viruses, but no liability is accepted for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail. This e-mail address is not secure, is not encrypted and should not be used for sensitive data.”

  • Do not allow the employee to pass off personal views as representing those of the party or Parliament – you should add your own disclaimer, along the lines of:

“Views expressed in personal emails do not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of the Labour Party/Conservative Party/Liberal Democrats.”

Further reading : The Core Rules of Netiquette, by Virginia Shea

Support in Your Job

Guides

When you begin working for an MP, you will receive a Members’ Staff Induction Pack, including a letter from the Clerk of the House of Commons that provides links to relevant resources on the Parliamentary Intranet and elsewhere.

Here, you will find a collection of guides to good practice that will offer you advice in carrying out the main activities expected of you in your job.  They are constantly being revised and updated, so if you do print a guide out, please remember to check back from time to time.

Your Job

Casework

Your Office

Research

Parliament

Others