Parliamentary Digital Services (PDS)

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We really don’t need to tell you this but here goes anyway: getting your IT support right will make your life VERY MUCH EASIER.  First step is to know what is available.

Of course, this changes regularly so what you will read below is correct at the time of writing but it’s in your interests to check the PDS pages on the intranet for the latest information and advice.

  1. Introduction
  2. The Digital Support Desk
  3. Setting up a new account
  4. Logging in
  5. The equipment allowance
  6. Getting Broadband for your office
  7. Working away from the Estate
  8. Contact

1.  Introduction

Parliamentary Digital Services (PDS) is a bicameral service – i.e. it serves the IT requirements of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, providing technology and intranet services to all Parliamentary users.  Their intranet index page is here: https://intranet.parliament.uk/computers-equipment/

2.  The Digital Support Desk

The Digital Support Desk is committed to providing high quality customer service and technical support, whilst acting as a single point of contact for all Parliamentary Users.  The main aim of the Digital Support Desk is to provide rapid, effective resolutions, or escalation, for a wide variety of computer, network and telephone related problems and queries.

The Digital Support Desk’s aims are:

  • To ensure users are making the best use of the technology available to support their constituents or business function
  • To treat users with courtesy and deal with enquiries in a professional and efficient manner
  • To resolve problems as quickly as possible to ensure minimal disruption to the day to day work of users

You can contact the Digital Support Desk by the following means:

During peak times and outside of opening hours, a voicemail option is available to record your requests.  When you call the Digital Support Desk, your call is logged with an individual reference number (which you should write down) and its progress is recorded on the Digital Support Desk system.  You’ll need to have the following details to hand:

  • Full Name / User name
  • Office / Department / Member’s name
  • Where you are located (constituency, or address within the Parliamentary Estate)
  • Contact details
  • Exact nature of problem (it is helpful to have the equipment in front of you so that you are able to give a clear explanation of the problem)

There are various techniques used by the analysts to try to resolve your problem.  This may include shadowing your computer, in other words remotely taking control of your computer.

In the event that your problem is not resolved by the analyst, it will be handed to one of the other specialist teams, who will either offer further technical advice over the telephone or visit your office if it is located on the Parliamentary Estate.  In extreme cases, if you are in the constituency, they may ask for your computer to be returned to Westminster for repair.

3.  Setting up a new account

New user accounts can be requested by the Members of both Houses or their designated proxies (often their Office Managers) or, in the case of House Staff, Line Managers (for example, when you’re setting up an account for an intern).  This can be done by contacting the Digital Support Desk by any of the means listed in section 2, above.

4.  Logging in

Your Member (or their proxy) or your Line Manager will be notified once your new account has been set up, and you will have to telephone the Digital Support Desk on x2001 to be talked through the process of activating it or logging in for the first time.  This takes only a few minutes.

5.  The Equipment Allowance from the Parliamentary Digital Service

Members of the House of Commons are entitled to loan machines from PDS, up to a total value of £7,200, and you can choose from desktop computers, laptops, tablets, printers and associated accessories.  Your MP can purchase additional Parliamentary-supplied IT equipment if required.

6.  Getting Broadband for your Office

Members of the House of Commons are entitled to up to three centrally provided broadband connections by Parliament for the duration of their term as an MP. These services can be supplied to the constituency or home office for parliamentary use.  This is broadband-only – you can not obtain a telephone or television package as part of this service.  Read more about it here  https://intranet.parliament.uk/computers-equipment/working-flexibly/broadband/

The equipment catalogue can be access from the PDS intranet pages under ‘Ordering Computer Equipment‘.

7.  Working away from the Estate – Services to Members of the House of Commons

Working remotely has never been so easy.  If you have a PDS-supplied laptop then simply connect to your Internet connection and off you go.  If you are using personal devices, Office 365 will allow you to  access any of the cloud-based apps and some of the Parliamentary Network remotely, although there are still some parts of the network which are unavailable at the time of writing.

Whilst it might be useful to access your work emails and calendar from home, consider whether your MP is likely to send you ‘a little something to look into’ on a Saturday afternoon.

Up-to-date information can be seen here:
http://intranet.parliament.uk/computers-equipment/working-flexibly/remote-access/.

8.  Contacts

There’s a useful list of PDS contacts here:
https://intranet.parliament.uk/people-offices/offices-departments/bi-cameral-offices/about-pict/structure-and-contacts/