A guide to Parliament for Westminster staffers
Audience: Parliamentary staffers for Lords and MPs
Are you a Parliamentary staffer, working for a politician? This comprehensive training will help you to understand the often confusing world of Parliament and tell you everything you need to know about your workplace.
The day will run from 10am to 4pm in Westminster and will cover:
The parliamentary facilities and support services you need to know about
Understanding parliamentary procedure
Tabling questions, motions etc.
Dealing with journalists
Navigating the strict expenses rules
Delivering the sessions will be Andy McSmith, an experienced political journalist, James Robinson, a Fleet Street journalist turned Director of Communications, and a former political staffer who worked for a prominent Conservative minister.
It is likely that your politician will want your help in drafting speeches, parliamentary questions, or motions to be tabled. Andy will cover the different ways MPs and Lords can raise issues in Parliament, including intervening in debates, initiating debates, asking written and oral questions, presenting bills - and how you can support them to do so. Andy was a Lobby correspondent for a range of national newspapers, and has met and written about every Prime Minister from Margaret Thatcher to Boris Johnson.
You may well be expected to deal with journalists from newspapers, broadcast outlets or social media covering your MP's constituency or, in some cases, national journalists. There is also the possibility that you will have to deal with a media storm involving your employer - even fielding phone calls from journalists can be trickier than it sounds, if you are the first point of contact in the office. James has been on both sides of the phone, first as a senior journalist at the Guardian and the Observer, and then as Director of Communications to the deputy leader of the Labour Party. He will give you practical advice on how to deal with the national and local media and how to ensure you and your employer have a constructive working relationship with journalists.
Our former staffer, who used to work for a prominent minister in the Conservative government, will cover the day to day of a parliamentary staffer. They will explain how best to make use of all the facilities that are available to you, such as the House of Commons Library, the Vote Office, digital services etc., as well as how to deal with IPSA, which pays your salary and controls politicians' expenses. They will also cover how any issues can best be resolved in a workplace with no formal HR services and what good career progression can look like.
Who this course is for:
This course is open to staff employed by MPs or Lords, from any political party, and we anticipate a politically mixed audience. It will cover parliamentary work only. No advice will be given on political campaigning.
The Scheme of MPs' Business Costs and Expenses recognises courses for parliamentary staff that concentrate on parliamentary work as a 'claimable cost' which can be reclaimed from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).