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Last revised:  13 January 2003

6.1  Introduction

6.2  Casework Resources  (standard letters, immigration info. forms, advice surgery or interview sheet,  compliments slips, etc.)

6.3  Palace of Westminster Tours, Strangers' Gallery bookings  (booking sheet, application form, guide, standard letters, etc.)

6.4  Miscellaneous resources  (opening the Post, Permission Form, Confidentiality Agreement)

6.5  Library, Information Office and Serjeant at Arms leaflets

6.6  Maps of the Parliamentary Estate


NB:  In this html version some of the documents may become distorted on your screen.  
It's best to use the full width of the screen to view documents in this version.  

6.1    Introduction

This section offers you a selection of letters, forms, simple guides, information sheets, etc. to use in your everyday work. They have been gathered from a range of MPs' offices and are for you to use as you feel appropriate. They are not 'approved' or 'official' in any sense and you are welcome to adapt them for your own use. If you use something different, let us know, using the website's Feedback Form.

Also included are a number of standard House of Commons items (compliments slips, application forms, etc.) which you will find useful; these can be ordered from Universal Office Supplies (see our Guide, Setting up the Office, section 2.2) or from the House Department indicated.  

Here's a warning about use of HoC Stationery.  It was sent out on 11 April 2002.

USE OF HOUSE STATIONERY AND POST PAID ENVELOPES (Serjeant at Arms)

Members are reminded that for the purposes of the regulations the following are considered as circulars:

  • a letter sent in identical or near identical form to a number of addressees (whether or not it is individually signed and addressed) if it is unsolicited, i.e. if it is not sent in reply to queries or correspondence from the addressees

  • common-form coming-of-age greetings cards or letters, or equivalent communications sent to new constituents

  • a letter sent in identical or near identical form to a number of addressees acknowledging replies to any letter questionnaire or survey that itself was unsolicited

The effect of a letter being classified as a circular is that post-paid envelopes may not be used and original House stationery can only be used if purchased at the Members' own expense.  Such circulars may not be used for party fund raising or supporting the return of any person to public office, or for communications of a business, commercial or personal nature.

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6.2    Casework Resources


Standard response letter for constituents

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Mr John Brown
[address]
                                                                                                                                       [date]
Dear Mr Brown,

Thank you for your letter of [date] about [issue/problem/complaint].

I have sent a copy of your letter to [name] at [Ministry/Department/Agency] and asked him/her to [respond/investigate/comment]. I will let you know as soon as I receive a response.

In order to get the reply to you as quickly as possible, I will forward the reply to you with a compliment slip rather than wait for a letter to be typed out. However, if there are any issues arising from the response which you wish to pursue further, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Yours sincerely


Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown


Standard referral letter

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[Minister/Head of Department/Chief Executive etc]
[address]
                                                                                                                                       [date]
Dear Minister [etc],

I have received the enclosed letter from my constituent, Mr John Brown.

I would be most grateful if you could let me have your comments in a form that I can forward to my constituent.

Yours sincerely


Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown


Out-of-constituency standard letter

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Mrs Joan Smith
[address]
                                                                                                                                      [date]

Dear Mrs Smith,

Thank you for your letter of [date] about [issue/problem/complaint].

I have noted your concerns but I am afraid that I am not able to help you directly. There is a strict parliamentary protocol that Members of Parliament do not seek to intervene in matters raised by the constituents of other Members.

In order to be as helpful as possible I have, therefore, forwarded your letter to your own Member of Parliament, [name], who I am sure will do whatever s/he can to help you.

OR:

If you have not already done so, I recommend that you write to your own Member of Parliament for assistance. If you are not sure who this is, ring the House of Commons Information line on 020 7219 4272 or use this website to check: www.locata.co.uk/commons/ - all you need is your postcode.

Yours sincerely

Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown


Immigration forms

Information required when investigating the progress of an application to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate.

Full Name and Address of Applicant:  

 

 

Date of Birth:  
Nationality:  
Home Office Reference No:  
Type of Application:
e.g. Permanent Leave to Remain
 
Date application submitted:  
Additional Useful Information:
e.g. recorded delivery or registered post details; Home Office letter of receipt.
 

 

 

 

Information required when dealing with applications for Entry Clearance.

Full Name and Address of Applicant:  

 

 

Date of Birth:  
Nationality:  
Name of Embassy or High Commission or Consulate where application made:    
Tpe of application:
(visit/settlement/student etc)
 
Date application submitted:  
Application reference number:  
Name and address of sponsor:  
Additional useful information:
e.e. Entry Clearance Officer refusal notice
 

 


   
Standard advice surgery action sheet

ADVICE SURGERY ACTION SHEET

Date:____________ Place:_____________   Time: _______________
Name:________________________________Tel:_________________
Address:_____________________________  Postcode: ___________


Issue to Raise:








Other relevant information: (addresses, phone/reference numbers):









Action required:

 

 

July 2001 Update:  The Guardian Unlimited web pages now include a facility, aimed at the general public, but of great usefulness to caseworkers and others:  It's called "MP's Surgery" and you can access it at: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/mpsurgery


House of Commons Compliments Slips (smaller than actual size)

House of Commons referral slip

House of Commons "I took up ..…" slip

 
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                                     HOUSE OF COMMONS
                                       LONDON SW1A 0AA

             I shall be grateful if you will give the enclosed communication from..................................................your attention and send me a reply which I can forward to my constituent.

             Please acknowledge.

 

H.C.91B

 
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                                  HOUSE OF COMMONS
                                      LONDON SW1A 0AA

             I took up with the authorities the matter which you raised with me.  I have now received a reply, which I enclose.


 

H.C.92B

 

House of Commons compliments slip

 

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With Compliments

 

 

HOUSE OF COMMONS
LONDON, SW1A 0AA

6.3    Palace of Westminster Tours and Strangers' Gallery bookings

The next two forms and the letters which follow it relate to Section 3.10 on Booking Tours  and Section 3.11 on Booking Gallery Tickets in our Guide, Everyday Tasks.


Sample Booking Sheet for Tours

PALACE OF WESTMINSTER TOURS

Date of Visit:___________________________ Start time: ____________________________

Name of Group: ______________________________________________________________

Leader’s Name: ______________________________________________________________

Address:  ____________________________________________________________________

                  _____________________________    Postcode: ____________________________

Numbers in party: ______________________ Number of Permits:  ___________________

Any disabled visitors:   __________________ Other MPs contacted: __________________

Date AOO asked:  _______________________                                         __________________

Date permit(s) received: ________________                                          __________________

                                                                                                                       __________________

Guides booked (names/date) Palace staff:  ______________________________________

                                                      Others: ___________________________________________

Date confirmation sent:          to Guide(s) ____________ to Leader __________________

Permit(s) sent (tick)                to Guide(s) ___________  or to Leader ________________

Room booking:                          Room _________ Time _________ Booking ref _________

Comments

 

Application for Special Permit

SERJEANT AT ARMS DEPARTMENT
ADMISSION ORDER OFFICE

TEL:  020 7219 3700
FAX: 020 7219 3709

APPLICATION FOR A SPECIAL PERMIT
FOR THE LINE OF ROUTE

Ref: Information Pamphlet "Regulations for Visitors", paragraph 22

Name of Member:......................................................................................

Date Permit/s Required:.........................................................................

Number of Permits Required.............................

Number in Party:.........................(MAXIMUM OF SIXTEEN FOR EACH
MEMBER)

Supporting Members if more than one Permit required:

..............................................................................................................

..............................................................................................................

..............................................................................................................

..............................................................................................................

..............................................................................................................

..............................................................................................................

Date:............................... Signature:............................................................



Guide to Line of Route leaflet (front page only of an eight page leaflet )

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Guide to

The Line of Route

through the

Houses of Parliament


P A L A C E   O F
W E S T M I N S T E R

Standard letter of confirmation to Organiser/Leader of Tour

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Ms Joan Smith
[address]
                                                                                                                                                                     [date]
Dear Ms Smith ,

I am pleased to let you know that I have been able to arrange for permits for you to take a party of up to [number] to view the Palace of Westminster.

The visit is arranged for [time] on [date]. The guides have been arranged by Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx, who works in the House of Commons; the guides will meet you at the Norman Porch entrance. Please have 25 in cash with you to pay each guide. I have sent the permits for your party to Mr Xxxxxxx. Please note that the limit of 16 people per permit cannot be exceeded. If the tour is cancelled less than 7 days before the date of the tour, the fees will need to be paid to the guides.

Incidentally, you may wish to know that there are no toilets near the Norman Porch and, at present, no refreshments available for members of the public in the Palace of Westminster.

I hope that you and the party enjoy the visit and I look forward to meeting you all at [time], after the tour, in [name/number of room]. The guides will make sure that your party end their tour at the Committee Room.

Yours sincerely

Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown


Standard letter to constituent booking Big Ben Tour

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Ms Joan Smith
[address]
                                                                                                                                                       [date]
Dear Ms Smith,

I am pleased to confirm that I have arranged a tour of Big Ben for you on [date] at [time]. Please go to St Stephen's Entrance at the Palace of Westminster 15 minutes before your tour is due to start and tell Security that you have a tour of Big Ben booked in my name. They will direct you through Westminster Hall to the colonnades to the entrance of Big Ben where the Clock Guide will meet you.

I hope you enjoy the tour.

Yours sincerely

Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown



Standard letter to Black Rod's Office for Lords Strangers Gallery tickets

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The Admissions Clerk
Black Rod's Office
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW
                                                                                                               [date]

Dear Admissions Clerk,

I should like to apply for [maximum 15] tickets for a group of constituents to observe the day's business in the House of Lords from the start of the day's business on [date]. The group is from [name] and the contact person is [name].

Yours sincerely

Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown


Standard letter to other MPs asking for their Strangers Gallery tickets


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[Name] MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
                                                                                                                          [date]
Dear [Name],

I have a group of constituents visiting the Palace of Westminster on [date] and I note that you have gallery tickets allocated for that date. If you will not be using them, I should be most grateful if you could let me have them. It would be very helpful if you could either ring my office on [tel. No.] or complete and return the slip below.

I will, of course, reciprocate if possible at a future date.

Yours sincerely

Alex Chambers
Member of Parliament for Sometown


[  ]  Yes, I am able to let you have my gallery tickets for [date].

[ ]   No, my tickets for [date] are not available.

                                                                                   
Alex Chambers MP                                                   
House of Commons                                                  
London SW1A 0AA                                                 

[Note: Make the tear off section slightly shorter than the height of a HoC envelope and type the return  address so it will fit neatly into the return envelope's window]

6.4    Miscellaneous Resources

OPENING THE POST -
useful guide for volunteer workers


Open all envelopes and remove all contents, making sure all items from each envelope are stapled, or temporarily paper-clipped, together.

Date stamp everything at bottom right hand corner of top page only. Make sure stamp shows today's date!

Sort into piles:
Any urgent items.
New letters from individuals.
Invitations of notices of events. Check these against the diary and mark in pencil as "free" or list clashing commitments.
Replies to, or acknowledgement of, or further letters on, existing files/letters. The files need to be dug out of the cabinets and the most recent arrival fixed on the top. Remove existing staples and re-staple or files become messy. Most files are in the Waiting-for-Replies drawer but some may be in short-term or long-term archives. Acknowledgements should just be stapled to the file and put back in the Waiting-for-Replies drawer, unless it looks like there may be a long wait for the full reply or if it is an urgent or distressing matter, in which case send a photocopy of the acknowledgement to the person concerned.
Letters, circulars etc. from organisations.
House of Commons Order Papers etc. should be filed immediately in the appropriate places but check Order Papers to see if your MP has any Parliamentary Questions (PQs) listed and note them in diary.


Put all the post in one pile in the following order, with rubber band around it and a Post-it label with the date on it:
Hand-written letters
Other letters from individuals and organisations
Invitations/events

Replies or responses to our letters (with rest of file attached below)
Other letters, circulars, brochures, briefings etc

NB: Any very urgent letters or imminent events should be marked for immediate attention. Any letters marked "private" or "confidential" should have these words highlighted in yellow.



PERMISSION FORM


NAME [Please print]_____________________________________________________ 

Nat. Ins. No:____________________________________________________________

ADDRESS_______________________________________________________________

I have instructed my Member of Parliament [NAME] to act on my behalf in this matter and would be grateful if any correspondence or documents could be sent to the address of my MP.  I confirm that I have given my MP permission to pursue these matters and to use all information I have provided, whether written or spoken, and including sensitive personal information.  I understand that this will be done in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.


SIGNED_______________________________________ DATE____________________




CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT

To be signed by all staff, volunteers, interns, secondees etc.


1.   Work undertaken in the office of _____________ MP involves access to information which is confidential. It should be treated as such and protected from unauthorised disclosure. It is an express condition of your relationship with _____________ MP that you should not divulge to any person outside the office of the MP any confidential information or aid the outward transmission of any such information or data.

2.  This undertaking continues after you cease to work for the MP.

3.  This undertaking applies to all material, including constituents' casework, research, party political material, statistics, data, reports, etc.

4.  In the case of constituency casework, where it is necessary to relay information, letters, records of telephone conversations etc to third parties, this will always be done only in accordance with the interests of the constituent.


I have read this agreement and I understand and accept the above.


NAME ____________________________________________________________________


SIGNED __________________________________________________________________


WITNESS * _______________________________________________________________

* line manager

DATE ____________________________________________________________________


6.5    Library, Information Office and Serjeant at Arms leaflets

Both the Library and the Information Office produce a great number of leaflets and briefings on the history and workings of both Houses of Parliament. These are too many to list here; much better to visit the Library and Information Office to check out what they have. If you can't get to Westminster, ring the Library's general help point for MPs' staff on 020 7219 6767 or search on the parliamentary intranet.

The Library produces a long list of Factsheets (information on all aspects of work at Westminster, including a lot of historical material), Research Papers (formal papers in a numbered series), Standard Notes (briefer and more informal, usually information requested by an individual MP but then generally available) and many leaflets.

The old numbered list of Factsheets is being reorganised at present into four series: Procedure, Legislation, Members and General. Meanwhile, there is a transitional list. You can order Factsheets (just the ones you need, please, rather than the whole series) from the Information Office, House of Commons, London SW1A 2TT (telephone 020 7219 0633). Most of the Factsheets are also available on the parliamentary site: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/FACT.HTM

The Serjeant at Arms Department produces a wide range of leaflets on various subjects to do with the day-to-day running of the House and you will find it useful to have copies of most of these to hand. This is the current list (revised in Spring 2001) but check with the Serjeant at Arms helpline on 020 7219 5555 to get a copy of the up-to-date version. You can also pick up copies of this leaflet, and of all the individual leaflets listed, from the Serjeant at Arms Office (off the Central Lobby, past the Admission Order Office) or from Attendants in the outbuildings.

  • Access and Security
  • Accommodation facilities for Members and their staff
  • Admission to the Galleries
  • Car parking
  • Committee Rooms, Conference, Meeting and Interview Rooms (1)
  • Communications Services for Parliament (2)
  • Connecting to the PDVN (2)
  • Exhibitions in the Upper Waiting Hall
  • Facilities for Members' spouses
  • Facilities for visitors with disabilities
  • Fire precautions and fire safety measures
  • Guidance to Organisers of a Mass Lobby
  • Parliamentary Mail Service
  • Personal security (3)
  • Photography, filming, sound recording, painting, sketching, mobile telephones and pagers
  • Regulations for visitors
  • Use of film, slide, video and other special equipment (4)
  • Use of the House Emblem and of House stationery and post paid envelopes

(1)    revised in Summer 2001
(2)    from the PCD (Parliamentary
           Communications Directorate)
(3)   produced by the Home Office
(4)  order form 


6.6  Maps of the Parliamentary Estate

A comprehensive selection of maps of the Parliamentary Estate is now available on the Parliamentary Intranet in PDF format.  Most of the detailed maps of the interiors of buildings are available only via PDVN (the parliamentary intranet) but a couple (of the overall parliamentary estate) are available on the public website:  http://www.parliament.uk/