GMB Branch for MPs’ and Lords’ Staff

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If you’re ever having a problem at work, big or small, or if you want to be part of making things better for MPs’ and Lords’ staff, then the GMB is here for you.

The GMB is the trade union for MPs’ staff and Lords’ staff.  We represent staff of all political parties, both in Westminster and in the constituency.  Whether you’re an unpaid intern or a (more than) full-time office manager, we would love to have you join our community.

The GMB is Parliament’s campaigning union.  The Laura Cox and Gemma White reports have exposed the widespread bullying and harassment that has taken place in Parliament.  We refuse to tolerate any form of bullying: we are determined not only to stamp this out wherever we see it, but also put robust systems in place to stop this from ever happening again.  Parliament is an institution that is hundreds of years old – but that doesn’t mean we should have to put up with ancient standards of behaviour.

On top of this, we’ve been working tirelessly to make dealing with IPSA easier, for better pay, and simply to make sure everyone gets paid the right amount on time. It’s by working together that we can make the change that we want to see happen

We have a team of experienced reps on hand to help with any problem you may have, however big or small.  We will be there to give you impartial and confidential advice, be by your side in every step of a disciplinary procedure, help you make a complaint through the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, or simply to talk any issues you might have through.  You’re never alone when you’re with us.

GMB is the biggest Trade Union on Parliamentary Estate.  While our Branch is focused on the unique issues faced by staff that work for MPs and Peers, the GMB also represents staff working on the estate in catering, retail, and all sorts of others.  The partnership between all workers across the estate is the cornerstone of our union, and this allows us to run bigger campaigns with more impact.

We have a recognition agreement with the Parliamentary Labour Party, a productive working relationship with IPSA and the Members Services Team.

We want everyone to feel safe, secure and supported at work, and we’re going to stop until that’s the case.  Join us if you want to make Parliament a better place to work, and make sure your rights are protected. We will have your back no matter what.

For further information email: jenny.symmons@parliament.uk, and follow us on Twitter: @GMB_MPs_Staff.

Join us here: www.gmb.org.uk/join-GMB

The Privy Council

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What is the Privy Council?

The Privy Council is an advisory body to the Monarch; its members are known as Privy Counsellors. It is one of the oldest parts of the UK’s constitutional arrangements, with its origins dating back to at least the thirteenth century.

Find out more in this Commons Library Research Briefing which looks at the role and powers of the Privy Council: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-7460/

Finding legal advice for your constituents

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MPs’ offices should not give out legal advice to constituents.  You should ask your constituents to seek independent legal advice given by a suitably qualified person with professional liability insurance.

Law Centres defend the legal rights of people who cannot afford a lawyer. They are specialists working in their local communities to uphold justice and advance equality.

There are various Law Centres throughout the country who https://www.lawcentres.org.uk/about-law-centres/law-centres-on-google-maps/alphabetically

Immigration

In the case of immigration matters, it is against the law to dispense immigration advice unless you are registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or a member of an approved professional body such as the Law Society.

Find an immigration adviser: https://www.gov.uk/find-an-immigration-adviser

The Public Law Project employs specialist lawyers who assist individuals experiencing personal disadvantage, or charities or organisations representing the interests of marginalised or disadvantaged groups.  PLP also employs expert academics and researchers.

They may be able to take on individual cases that are referred to them by other lawyers, advisors, MPs or voluntary groups.  If they are unable to help, they may be able to signpost you to other lawyers or agencies that can.

Have a look at their page on helping individuals here; https://publiclawproject.org.uk/can-we-help/individuals/

The Unity Project supports migrants who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).

Karma Nirvana is a project which supports victims of honour-based violence and forced marriage.  https://karmanirvana.org.uk/

Further information

See the House of Commons Library Constituency Casework Guide to Legal Help: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/legal-help/

House of Commons Guide to Complaints against solicitors and other lawyers: 
https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn03762/

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid: https://www.apg-legalaid.org/

From the APPG’s website:

“The APPG on Legal Aid provides bespoke training to MPs and their caseworkers on a range of subjects through the House of Commons Library. Studies and research have shown that as a consequence of the LASPO cuts there has been a huge increase in the number and complexity of legal problems that MPs are encountering in their surgeries. Our training is designed specifically with caseworkers in mind and provided by industry experts. To date, we have provided training in the following areas:

  • Legal Aid,
  • Immigration,
  • Housing Law,
  • Disability and Discrimination Law,
  • Employment Law,
  • Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and
  • Special Education Needs.

Feedback for the courses has been excellent. We have also developed courses in soft skills and interviewing techniques for new casework staff as part of the House of Commons induction process.

For further information about these courses, please check the ACT website.

We also provide briefings for individual MPs and select committees on various areas within legal aid. For further information, please contact Rohini.Teather@lapg.co.uk.”

Workplace Equality Networks

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Workplace Equality Networks (WENs) are an opportunity for groups of people to discuss and consider issues relevant to their situation or of interest to them.  In particular, WENs can be useful forums for groups protected by equality legislation.

Current networks include:

WENs are open to all pass holders in the Commons, PDS and Lords staff, contractors employed by the House, MPs, Lords and members’ staff.

Membership is not restricted to people who require a platform relating to this WEN but those involved are required to respect the aims of the Network.

For more information on Workplace Equality Networks, please see their page on the intranet here: https://intranet.parliament.uk/people-offices/groups-associations/bicameral-groups/workplace-equality-networks/

 

A Welcome from Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons
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Whether you are interested in working for an MP – or need advice on parliamentary procedures, the W4MP website is an excellent resource.

As anyone starting a new position here knows, trying to navigate the estate and its way of working can be a bit overwhelming.

That is why W4MP serves as such an indispensable font of advice – from helping you to find your feet as a new member of staff, to understanding the business of the Chamber.

As MPs, and therefore the Commons, could not function effectively without your hard work, it is important that you get the support you need.

W4MP will help you get orientated, introduce you to the best practices of your fellow researchers, case workers and office managers.

It will also provide a guide to the resources available from the House of Commons Library, the Parliamentary Intranet, and the Members’ Services Team.

There is information on representation, trade unions, and social activities – and a place to post small ads for the attention of fellow staff.

The site is run by an independent organisation on behalf of the House and welcomes contributions from experienced staff who want to share their expertise.

It is there for all staff, however long your service and wherever you work. I thoroughly recommend it to you.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons

October 2020

 

LWPSN – What’s On

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Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network

Email: LWPSN@parliament.uk

(All virtual @12.30pm and joining details sent out to the network via email)

*Please note timings are approximates and some sessions may be subject to change

See past events here

Go back to the main LWPSN page here

March 2021

Thursday 4th | 6pm | Compassion in Politics | 1 hour (approx) 

Join us for a session with Jennifer Nadel, Co-director for Compassion in Politics, focusing on looking after your own wellbeing and gaining the tools and strategies to prevent burn out in a high pressured working environment. Jennifer Nadel is a qualified barrister, author, political strategist, activist and award-winning television journalist. She has reported for the BBC, Channel Four News and was ITN’s Home Affairs editor. Compassion in Politics is a cross-party organisation working to put compassion, inclusion, and cooperation at the heart of politics. More information on the organisation can be found here: https://www.compassioninpolitics.com/ ​

*This is a cross-party session open to all women working for MPs and Peers from all political parties. 

Tuesday 9th | 12.30pm | David Lammy MP | 40 mins (approx) 

David Lammy is the Labour MP for Tottenham, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice. Join us for an interactive discussion with David who will be sharing his experiences in front line politics and answering questions on a range of topics. We’re delighted to be partnering with the Labour BAME Staffers Network for this event.

Tuesday 23rd | 12.30pm | UK Women’s Budget Group | 45 mins (approx) 

We are delighted to be joined by Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the UK Women’s Budget Group, who will be talking to us about the principles of feminist economics and gender budget analysis in the month when we are expecting a budget statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There will be ample time for questions.

 

April 2021

Thursday 22nd | 12.30pm | Carolyn Harris MP and Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP | 1 hour (approx) 

Join us for this unique cross-party meeting for women working for MPs and Peers examining cross-party working to progress legislation through Parliament and the difference that can be made by working together across the political divide. We are delighted to be joined by Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP for Swansea East and Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour, and Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire, former Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President. There will be ample time for questions. Don’t miss it!

*This is a cross-party session open to all women working for MPs and Peers from all political parties. 

Tuesday 27th | 12.30pm | Women in local government | 1 hour (approx)

We are delighted to bring you a councillors panel discussion on women in local government where attendees will learn more about what you need to do to stand for selection, what it’s like to be a councillor, how to survive the election campaign and more! We are thrilled to be running this event in partnership with the Labour Women’s Network and Fabian Councillors Network. We will be hearing from Cllr Naushabah Khan, Labour and Co-operative Councillor at Medway Council, Cllr Josie Channer, Labour Councillor at Barking and Dagenham Council and other women to be announced.

LWPSN – Past Events

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Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network

Past Events

See forthcoming events here

Go back to the main LWPSN page here

February 2021

Thursday 11th | 12.30pm | Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP | 45 mins (approx)

We are delighted to be joined by the Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee and former minister at the Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions and Cabinet Office.  Caroline is the Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North, first elected in 2010. There will be ample time for questions. Don’t miss it!

Tuesday 9th | 12.30pm | Jacqui Smith | 45 mins (approx)

We are delighted to be joined by former Labour Home Secretary and For the Many podcast co-host Jacqui Smith for what promises to be a fascinating conversation about women in politics and public life.  Hear more on what it was like for women coming into Parliament following the 1997 general election, what you need to do to stand for elected office and we’ll be sure to have some back stage gossip from the Strictly Come Dancing show too! Join us for this unmissable session which promises to be lots of fun.

Tuesday 2nd | 12.30pm | Jess Phillips MP | 45 mins (approx)

Jess Phillips is Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley and Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding. A woman that’s never afraid of speaking the truth, we’re delighted she will be joining us for a conversation on women, politics and how to make an impact. Please be prepared for an interactive conversation with Jess. There will be opportunities for questions.

January 2021

Thursday 28th | 12:30pm | Social media skills | 1 hour

We’re delighted to be joined by Twitter and Facebook representatives for a session on developing your social media skills. The time will be split into two half hour sessions with each presenter. This much requested session will explore everything from creating compelling content to drive engagement on the two platforms to how to use all the features they offer to reach a wider audience. Do not miss it!

Thursday 21st | 12:30pm | Conflict resolution for yourself and others | 1 hour

Come and join us for a second session with Kay Scorah to learn more about conflict resolution. This session will look at applying all our learning in the previous session to conflict, harassment and bullying scenarios. There will be ample opportunity for questions throughout the session.

Tuesday 19th | 12:30pm | How to be an expert listener | 1 hour

Come and join us for the first of two interactive sessions with Kay Scorah to learn more about how you can become an expert listener in conflict situations, using what you hear to build bridges between yourself and others. Kay has over 40 years of experience working with leadership teams in business, science and the charity sector. In 2019, she founded the Turning the Tables conference where business leaders come to learn from young people who have been through difficult, even life-threatening experiences. There will be ample opportunity for questions throughout the session.

12 January 2021  |  The Great Winter Get Together

DECEMBER 2020 – Women’s representation themed month

Thursday 10 December 2020  |  Women, leadership and statistics  |  1 hour

Professor Rosie Campbell, Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London, will be joining the network for the last session of the winter to discuss the institute’s latest research produced with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, which has found that women political leaders are key to more equal and caring societies.  The report is based on an analysis of over 500 pieces of research into the impacts of women leaders in politics and public life, and shows that when women are able to exercise political leadership, there are gains for the whole of society.

You can read the full report here: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/women-political-leaders-key-to-more-equal-and-caring-societies

Tuesday 8 December 2020  |  Women in Westminster  |  1 hour

Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Labour MP for Leeds West, will be joining the network to talk about her book ‘Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics’.

Join us for what should be a fascinating conversation about the battles fought by women from 1919 to 2019.  There will be an opportunity for questions.

NOVEMBER 2020

Tuesday 24 November 2020  |  Journalists panel discussion on women in the media  |  1 hour

We’re excited to bring you a panel discussion on women’s experiences in the media with journalists from across the media who will share their insights into the challenges and opportunities they face bringing us the news from Westminster, the United Kingdom and around the world.  We will be joined by Esther Webber from the Times RedBox, and two other journalists to be confirmed.

 

Tuesday 17 November 2020  |  Preet Kaur Gill MP  |  40 mins

Preet Kaur Gill MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development and Member of Parliament for Birmingham Edgbaston, will be joining us to talk about her experiences in politics and discuss Labour’s view on how we can work more collaboratively with other countries around the world in a post Brexit era.

Thursday 12 November 2020  |  Women’s rights at work  |  40 mins

Join us for the second meeting with two trade union representatives – Jenny Symmons from the GMB and Lily Lewis from UNITE parliamentary staff union branches – who will brief the network on everything you need to know about your rights at work.  There will be ample opportunity for questions and useful information and links will be shared out with the network after the session.

Tuesday 10 November 2020  |  Sexual harassment and your rights  |  40 mins

We are delighted to be joined by Deeba Syed, Senior Legal Officer at Rights of Women, for a Q and A session on sexual harassment and your rights.  Deeba is a qualified solicitor, originally training in the financial sector and now specialising in employment law.  She is an experienced equality and women’s rights campaigner and activist.  She has previously worked in politics, communications and the charity sector.

OCTOBER 2020 – mental health and wellbeing focus for World Mental Health Day on 10th October

Tuesday 27 October 2020  |  Tackling Abuse in Public Life  |  1 hour

We are delighted that Catherine Anderson, CEO of the Jo Cox Foundation, will be joining us for a discussion on tackling abuse in public life and to tell us more about the work of the foundation and how we can get involved to help make a change.  Catherine is no stranger to Parliament having worked for Rory Stewart MP for a number of years.  The Foundation was established in 2016 by the friends and family of the late Jo Cox MP and is aiming to build a positive legacy for Jo.

Tuesday 20 October 2020  |  Great coffee get together  |  40 mins

This is an opportunity for just us to get together for a chat to share our recommendations on interesting things to read, what to watch and listen to.  This could be a book you’re reading at the moment, Podcast you’re listening to or an event you’re attending that may be useful to others.  Put the kettle on and check in with the network on how you’re doing and share some interesting things to get stuck into!

Thursday 15 October 2020  |  Women Political Advisors to the Shadow Cabinet  |  40 mins

Join us for a special session with the women advising members of the Shadow Cabinet including Sally Copley, Political Advisor (PAD) to Marsha de Cordova MP, Emma McNicholas, PAD to Lord Falconer of Thoroton (Charlie Falconer), Kate Robson, PAD to Cat Smith MP and Collette Bird, PAD to Jon Ashworth MP.

This much requested session will explore the role of an advisor, provide advice for those looking to progress their parliamentary careers and give the network an opportunity to meet and ask questions of these fantastic women.  Do not miss it!

Tuesday 13 October 2020  |  Looking after your mental health and wellbeing  |  1 hour

Dr Sonia Adesara is an NHS doctor, women’s activist and the former Director of 50:50 Parliament.  She will be talking to us about mental health and the effects of policies on women and give top tips on looking after our own health and wellbeing.  Do join us for what we’re sure will be an invaluable session for the network.

Tuesday 6 October 2020  |  Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP  |  40 mins

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan is Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Member of Parliament for Tooting, A and E doctor and a woman that always gets her tone right!  We’re delighted she will be joining us for a conversation with the network on mental health and wellbeing. Please be prepared for an interactive conversation with Rosena.  There will be opportunities for questions.

SEPTEMBER 2020

Tuesday 22 September 2020  |  The Good Parliament  | 1 hour

The network will be joined by Professor Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics and Gender at Royal Holloway University of London and author of ‘The Good Parliament’ report which was published on 20th July 2016.  We will discuss this report with Professor Childs who made 43 recommendations focusing on three elements; equality of participation, parliamentary infrastructure and Commons culture.  We’d recommend reading the report in advance of this meeting which can be found here: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/media-library/sites/news/2016/july/20%20Jul%20Prof%20Sarah%20Childs%20The%20Good%20Parliament%20report.pdf

Thursday 17 September 2020  |  Writing good comms  |  40 mins

This session will cover top tips on writing good emails, engaging articles and press releases and how to properly brief journalists.  We are delighted to be joined by Georgina Bailey, Policy Editor for The House Magazine and lead for parliamentary campaigns coverage, as well as covering the work of All-Party Parliamentary Groups.  This session is a must for all communications staff and an opportunity to meet one of the women lobby journalists in Westminster. You can read all articles published by Georgina here: https://www.politicshome.com/thehouse/peer/georgina-bailey.htm

Tuesday 15 September 2020  |  Women’s rights at work  |  40 mins

Join us for the first of two meetings with two trade union representatives – Jenny Symmons from the GMB and Priya Dev from UNITE parliamentary staff union branches – who will brief the network on everything you need to know about your rights at work.  There will be ample opportunity for questions and useful information and links will be shared out with the network after the session.

Thursday 10 September 2020  |  Parliamentary procedures  |  1 hour

Come and join us to explore parliamentary procedures with two senior clerks from the Table Office and Public Bill Office in the House of Commons.  The clerks will be taking the network through tabling orderly oral and written questions, amending legislation, explain how legislation is passed through both houses of Parliament, and more! The time will be split into two half hour sessions.  Each presenter will talk to the network for approx.10 minutes followed by approx. 20 mins of questions from the network. There will be materials to take away afterwards.

Tuesday 8 September 2020  |  Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP  |  40 mins

We are joined at our first formal meeting of the autumn with the Mother of the House of Commons and Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham, the Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP to discuss women’s participation in public life and her experiences in Parliament since first being elected to the House in 1982.  Questions will be read out that have been submitted in advance and some taken in real time.

 

Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network – Privacy Policy

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Privacy Policy

We respect your privacy and are committed to protecting your personal data.  This privacy notice tells you how we, Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network, will collect and use your personal data.

Why does Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network need to collect and store personal data?

In order for us to provide you with a service we need to collect personal data for the purposes of allowing our members to connect and work together within the network and keeping you informed of our programme of events. In any event, we are committed to ensuring that the information we collect and use is appropriate for this purpose, and does not constitute an invasion of your privacy.

Will Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network share my personal data with anyone else?

Your personal data will be shared with members of Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network who have indicated their consent for their personal data to be shared, in a secure and protected way only. We will not pass your personal data on to third-party service providers. In the event that we do wish to pass your personal data to a third party we will only do so once we have obtained your consent.

How will Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network use the personal data it collects about me?

Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network will process (collect, store and use) the information you provide in a manner compatible with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We will endeavour to keep your information accurate and up to date, and not keep it for longer than is necessary.

Under what circumstances will Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network contact me?

Our aim is not to be intrusive, and we undertake not to ask irrelevant or unnecessary questions. Moreover, the information you provide will be subject to rigorous measures and procedures to minimise the risk of unauthorised access or disclosure.

Can I find out the personal data that Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network holds about me?

At your request, Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network can confirm what information we hold about you and how it is processed.

Contact details for Labour Women’s Parliamentary Staff Network data queries:

Contact Name:Hannah Carson
Email: lwpsn@parliament.uk

 

Back to LWPSN main page

Westminster Gym

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Exclusive gym for Parliamentary employees – work out, right next to work.  The Westminster Gym has all the latest facilities:

  • Fantastic gym including brand new Technogym treadmills, rowers, steppers, cycles and cross trainers all with TV screens and digital connectivity
  • Strength machines and free weights which now come with Technogym Rep range and counters – tone up, slim down or build muscle fast.
  • Fully Air conditioned Gym, Spin Studio, changing rooms and exercise studio – keep cool, even when the action gets hot.
  • Classes and therapies: Numerous classes including spinning, circuit-training, yoga and pilates, all included in your membership fee.
  • Changing Rooms, Lockers and Saunas
  • If you need some extra motivation or a more personal training plan, our friendly staff and team of Personal Trainers will take you in hand to help you achieve your goals.

The gym is managed by the Jubilee Hall Trust, a charity which uses the gym’s profits to run outreach community programmes to promote healthy lifestyles.  The Trust works in partnership with the Health, Safety & Wellbeing Service offering stretch and relaxation classes elsewhere on the Parliamentary Estate.

Please contact the Westminster Gym on x5546 or

email: westminstergym@jubileehalltrust.org  

Website: www.jubileehalltrust.org/westminster-gym