Updated: 31 January 2009
TheyWorkForYou.com is a volunteer-built website, launched in June 2004, which makes it easy for members of the public to keep tabs on their MP’s parliamentary activities. Joe Public can find out his/her MP’s name and then check their MPs recent appearances (e.g. PQs tabled or participation in debates), voting record, expenses and committee membership, etc.
They Work For You includes:
- all debates, written answers, and written ministerial statements in the House of Commons Hansard back to the General Election of June 2001;
- the same for the House of Lords Hansard (so as yet no Grand Committees) back to around November 1999;
- everything in the various Northern Ireland (Transitional) Assembly debates;
- everything in the Scottish Parliament official report.
Even as a staffer, it’s not always possible to keep up with exactly what your MP has been doing – every PQ answered, EDM signed or vote, especially if your MP – shock, horror! – is capable of doing things on his/her own. You might find that They Work For You can often be an easier option than Hansard when you’re looking for something in particular. For example, those pesky casework letters addressed to your MP but from someone who you’re sure isn’t in your constituency – simply type their postcode into the ‘MP finder’ facility and it’ll tell you whose office to forward it on to.
If you’re an intern applying for a job with an MP, using the site can help you get a quick handle on that MP’s interests – it will show you their recent debates and PQs at the touch of a button. Public affairs professionals also find the site useful, as they can receive email alerts for keywords of importance to their clients.
Also for staffers, you might consider the ranking section useful – this shows how many debates your MP has appeared in, PQs tabled, votes attended and so on, and whether this is above or below average in comparison to other MPs.
Members of the public might also use it as a quick guide to see how prolific in parliament their MP is. The site used to show these results in terms of ranking against other MPs, but has stopped doing this since discovering Researchers tabling PQs in abundance simply to push their MP up the ranking.
- ‘e-mail me when’ – a e-mail alert facility where theyworkforyou.com will e-mail you each time your MP speaks in the house, or whenever an issue in which you register an interest is raised;
- a facility to search when a particular issue was last raised in Parliament;
- a facility to search on everything your MP has said in the Chamber or Westminster Hall, including Written Ministerial Statements;
- a handy page which covers Public Bill Committee proceedings, shows how many speeches have been made during each session and allows members of the public to leave comments at www.theyworkforyou.com/pbc/
- video footage of debates in the Chamber – they get their footage from the BBC and text from Hansard, but need help from site users to match up the correct video with the Hansard, using a handy Flash application
- since 2008, coverage of the Scottish Parliament – all proceedings back to its launch in 1999;
- since 2006, coverage of the Northern Ireland Assembly – all proceedings back to its first inception in 1998.
- “This is the best place to get the unadulterated lowdown on what your MP has said and done in your name.
- As the election approaches, we think the site could make a real difference to democratic transparency and engagement.
- If you agree, please tell your friends. Blog about us. Write about us. Link to us. Use our RSS feeds in your sites. Tell your enemies. Hell, even tell your parents. You’re the only marketing we can afford!”