Understanding ModernGov


Understanding ModernGov (UMG) is the training arm of GovNet Communications, the complete public sector communications company.

UMG provides a portfolio of highly informative, interactive public sector and policy training courses, that clearly and concisely explain the workings of Government and Parliament.  Catering for the public, private and third sectors, our courses cover a wide range of areas designed to enrich your knowledge and enhance your skills.  We also produce bespoke training courses for a variety of clients on an in-house basis, and are a supplier to Government of policy skills courses through the Buying Solutions Learning and Development framework.  For more details e-mail enquiries@moderngov.com or call 0800 542 9440.


Think Productive


Think Productive offers practical support to organisations that want to increase productivity.  We help employees to beat stress, feel more in control and develop playful, productive momentum.  We were bored of the typical Time Management Training formats, so have developed workshops that incorporate ‘at-desk coaching’ to ensure that practical change happens straight away.  Workshops include:

  • Getting Your Inbox To Zero
  • Email Etiquette
  • How to Get Things Done
  • Making Meetings Magic
  • How to be a Productivity Ninja
  • Smells Like Team Spirit
  • One-to-one Consultancy with At-Desk Implementation

“It was a tremendously impressive and useful morning” – Tom Levitt MP

“I’m still keeping my inbox pretty much to zero which is a minor miracle. I know this sounds completely bonkers but I really think the ‘inbox to zero’ and ‘How to Get Things Done’ sessions are the most useful training sessions I have ever been on.  I don’t know if this is connected but I have definitely felt calmer and less stressed since the sessions and I genuinely feel a bit more in control of my workload.” – Zoe Pronger, The Cabinet Office




From their website:

Each year, we deliver training to hundreds of organisations throughout the UK and ROI. Our expertise stems from 60 years’ listening and supporting vulnerable people.

We offer a range of pricing options for all sectors.


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


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.


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)



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

Current Training Courses

Upcoming training courses

Here is the current list of training courses that staff can sign up for. 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. There are two new courses: Managing Suicidal Conversations Advice…

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Essential Writing Skills for Members’ staff

The course will cover the principles of good written communication and how to put them into practice. It will look at some essentials about the use of language, grammar, tone and writing style and will include an introduction to the ‘Plain English’ approach to business writing. For full details and dates, please click here: https://parliament.learningpool.com/course/view.php?id=429

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Speech Writing

This course will cover the elements which make up a compelling speech, focusing on structure and the ability to tailor to the best abilities of the speaker and understanding the needs of the audience. For full details and dates, please click here: https://parliament.learningpool.com/course/view.php?id=554

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Supervisory Management Course

This one day course has been designed to provide an initial opportunity to build management capability and will be of particular benefit to those with limited or no experience of line management. For full details and dates, please click here: https://parliament.learningpool.com/course/view.php?id=1412

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Taking Control of Your Time & Speed Reading

This workshop will give Members’ staff the opportunity to think about their roles and identify the tasks that really get results. In addition, delegates will learn a variety of tips and techniques on how to control more of their time, enabling them to focus on their key tasks. For full details and dates, please click…

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Media Handling and Social Media

This session will cover the opportunities and challenges that using social media in the Public Sector presents and introduce delegates to using social media platforms for themselves, their teams and their organisation. For full details and dates, please click here: https://parliament.learningpool.com/mod/facetoface/view.php?f=480

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Conversations with Vulnerable People

This one day course is designed to equip staff with the skills and confidence to handle challenging conversations with customers or employees in a sensitive and professional way. A person’s emotional state can affect their reactions. Understanding how this happens can help you resolve conflict more successfully. The Samaritans trains their volunteers in active-listening techniques…

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Mental Health Awareness

Attendees will discuss the causes signs and symptoms of mental health, how to respond to and deal with a situation and how they can support and unburden themselves after the event. For full details and dates, click here: https://parliament.learningpool.com/course/view.php?id=260

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Building Emotional Resilience

Having a good level of emotional resilience can positively affect teams, colleagues, other individuals and one’s own wellbeing, increasing productivity and performance in the workplace. Individuals will have a better chance of delivering results at work if they are able to deal with stressful life events. The course will focus on managing emotional health and…

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Writing a Brief

This course will cover the essentials of good writing which are needed for drafting briefings such as content, structure, layout & use of language that meets the reader’s needs, and the process of drafting, editing and clearing a briefing. For full details and dates, click here: https://parliament.learningpool.com/course/view.php?id=553

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