Financial Ombudsman Service

Helping your constituents with money worries and complaints – free training from the Financial Ombudsman

If a constituent can’t sort out a problem with a financial business – whether it’s their insurer, bank or mortgage company, a lender or debt collector – the Ombudsman can help find a way forward.

Set up by Parliament, we’re here to resolve complaints fairly, quickly and informally – as an alternative to the courts. Independent and unbiased, we’re completely free for constituents to use. We can also help very small businesses.

We run free training across the UK to help MPs and their caseworkers – alongside other community advisers – resolve their constituents’ money worries.

Our practical half-day workshop will cover:

  • the role of the ombudsman, our powers – and how to use us
  • our approach when someone is having serious money problems
  • our approach when someone is struggling to pay back a loan

But we also want to hear from you – and we’re always happy to talk through specific local issues and the problems your constituents are bringing to you.

To find a free training event near you and book a place, check the news and outreach pages on our website and apply for the event you’re interested in.

Our events run for half a day and refreshments will be provided. If you have any other questions, please email outreach@financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

We’ve also run successful constituency events with MPs. If you’re interested in working together – or if you think there’s any other way we can help you – please email laura.mccormack@financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

Industry and Parliament Trust

From their website: 

The IPT is an independent, non-lobbying, non-partisan charity that provides a trusted platform of engagement between Parliament and UK business. The IPT is dually supported by cross-party representation of senior parliamentarians on its Board of Trustees, and through the patronage of its industry supporters. The IPT is non-party political and works with all parliamentarians and businesses of any sector or size.

The IPT creates an environment that supports trusted, open and two-way dialogue between Parliament and UK business. IPT platforms engage, educate and inform, create lasting relationships and facilitate the exchange of ideas. Specifically, we aim to:

  • Equip parliamentarians from all parties with a greater understanding of commerce and industry through non-partisan platforms
  • Enable businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to develop knowledge of parliamentary and legislative processes
  • Enrich policy debates by deepening the dialogue between Parliament and industry
  • Support the efficient administration of government through our Civil Service Attachment Scheme

Link

Parli-Training

Parli-Training provides vocational training courses for MP’s staff, covering casework, office management and Parliamentary procedure. The courses are designed to offer professional guidance on how to assist the support staff of Members of Parliament.

We currently run eleven individual training courses for Caseworkers working in the constituency offices of MPs, a further six designed for Office Managers ranging from time management, HR and budget & accounting skills; and finally seven further courses applicable for Parliamentary Aides. Researchers and Assistants based within Members’ private offices in Westminster.

The courses have all been designed to match the specific requirements of support and enhance their ability to perform key tasks and responsibilities associated with working for an elected Member of Parliament.

Link

Westminster Explained

From their website: 

Westminster Explained is the division of Dods Training which delivers the core skills for dealing with Parliament, Government and policy making. The practical nature of our innovative workshops is blended with discussion and reflection on theory. This combination will help you implement or influence policy and legislation in the UK or on an international stage.

Our courses are aimed at anyone in any sector with an interest in how decisions are taken – and implemented – in government.

Link

Unite Parliamentary Branch

Working for an MP is an exciting and rewarding job, but at some point you may face exactly the same difficulties as you would in any other workplace – a dispute over your job description, a grievance against your employer or simply the need to put a collective case for improvements in working conditions.

The Unite Parliamentary Staff Branch represents staff of MPs and MEPs, both in Parliament and in the constituency, and has many trained shop stewards who will be more than willing to help, however small your problem may seem.  Our members’ well-being in the workplace is of the utmost importance to the branch.

MPs’ staff find themselves in a difficult position in terms of claiming their basic working rights.  Whilst, legally, our MP is usually considered our employer, it is IPSA and the House Authorities who are our de facto employers, setting our pay levels, contractual terms and conditions, and working environment.  Staff pay and employment conditions suffered a significant blow when the IPSA MPs’ Expenses Scheme was introduced in 2010.  Now, more than ever, it is important for MPs’ staff to speak with one voice on all of these issues, and the union is fighting to improve the terms for MPs’ staff under IPSA.  The more staff who join, the stronger a case they can put for improvements in pay and conditions.

Unite has been representing the staff of Members of Parliament for over 25 years.

The Unite Parliamentary Staff Branch is part of the largest trade union in the UK, Unite, and is the only union recognised as representing MPs’ staff.  It is the only union recognised by the Parliamentary Labour Party and is regularly consulted by the Houses of Parliament authorities on issues affecting staff.  We hope that if you have not already done so, you will join.

Where we fit in…

The Unite Parliamentary Staff Branch is based in Region 1 of the Union (London and the South East) but includes staff from all over England, Scotland and Wales.  It has members who work for MPs and MEPs of all the major political parties and most of the smaller ones.

Urgent – Training for Members’ Staff

There are some training courses which have been arranged specifically for Members’ staff, for which there have been very few bookings so far.  If numbers do not significantly increase, they will have to be cancelled.

If you would like to reserve a place on any of the courses listed below please let Genna Mohammed know by close of play on Tuesday 21 October.  She can be reached on ext. 1422 or at learninganddevelopment@parliament.uk

 

Mental Health Awareness

– 20 November 2014, 10.00 – 16.30 (London)

– 9 December 2014, 10.00 – 16.30 (Birmingham)

 

Welfare Benefits

– 13 & 14 November 2014, 9.30 – 16.30 (York) 2 day course

 

Personal Independence Payments

– 4 November 2014, 9.30 – 16.30 (Manchester)

– 4 December 2014, 9.30 – 16.30 (London)

 

Deaf Awareness

– 19 November 2014, 9.30 – 12.30 (London)

Training

Learning and Development

The main resource for training for Members’ Staff is The Commons Learning and Development team. Courses take place both on the Parliamentary Estate and in regional cities, and if a course of interest is not available at a convenient location or date, they will endeavor to accommodate specific requirements, subject to sufficient demand.

Courses are free of charge to all Members’ staff who are paid through IPSA’s staffing allowance and travel costs to training events can be met from the expenses scheme administered by IPSA.

Full details can be found in the training section of the Parliamentary Intranet.

The full course catalogue is available via Act – the Parliamentary learning management system.  A list of course can be found at the bottom of this page.

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library also provides training that may be of value to staff.  Courses are open to Members of both Houses, their staff and parliamentary staff, unless otherwise stated on the course schedule and individual arrangements can be made for constituency staff.

See the Library’s training page on the Parliamentary Intranet for details and booking.

Other Providers

As you would expect, listing here does not imply any endorsement or promotion of the providers, but we are happy to list any organisation offering relevant training for Members’ staff. 

If you have any suggestions, or if you would like your organisation to be featured here, please contact us via our Feedback Form

Westminster Professionals

Training, networking and support for those in and around Westminster

  • Training delivered by political professionals who understand your daily challenges
  • Networking opportunities across Parliament – strengthening your connections, giving you new ideas and enhancing your career prospects.
  • Support for you and your office with individualised training, advice and services

Current Training Courses

Find It Online

Who should attend this course? Think you know about searching online? Do you type a word or two into Google and find what you think you’re looking for? This course focuses on effective research techniques and strategies to retrieve meaningful results when searching the internet as well as an introduction to other search tools. This …

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Finding Parliamentary Papers Online

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