Members’ survey will help improve services on offer to better support parliamentarians
Being an MP is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. We can make a real impact on our communities, change legislation and fight for the interests of our constituents.
From a part-time and exclusively male privilege just over 100 years ago, this job has changed as our country has changed, to what is now an often-all-consuming position of public service held by people from a broad range of identities and backgrounds.
The support and resources available to parliamentarians must be fit for the times we're operating in – from strengthening cyber security to helping train new Members on parliamentary procedure; it is vital that we have the right tools for us to be able to do our job in the best way possible. That's why, through the Commission, the Leader of the House has instigated a survey for all MPs so that we can gauge whether the right support is in place for us to best serve our constituents, as well as ascertain what more we can do to support colleagues across the House.
Parliament's offering must evolve with the times, and colleagues now have a unique chance to help shape what that looks like
This survey is especially needed as today’s MPs are taking on new roles which they must be properly equipped for. Increasingly, colleagues find themselves responsible for management or maintenance of social enterprises, community ventures or other projects that require some degree of input from professional corporate services. Similarly, the pressures of establishing a safe but public online presence may mean that we as parliamentarians need to seek specialist or legal advice.
Members of Parliament must have the right resources to operate to the best of their ability, and in recognising this, I strongly encourage colleagues to be open in their responses to this survey. Some colleagues have expressed concerns about the privacy of their responses. I can assure you that your replies will be strictly confidential.
In light of harrowing attacks on politicians and ever-increasing online threats, many Members have rightly raised concerns about safety. Our staff often unfairly bear the brunt of abuse, affecting our ability to carry out vital work on behalf of constituents. This survey can act as a mechanism for colleagues across the House to share concerns and help find solutions.
Additionally, MPs should share their experiences with the online data protection team as well as suggestions they have for improvements. It is vital that all offices keep up to date with best practices and change systems where necessary to meet the developing threats posed by hackers, hostile interventions or developments with tracker apps and Al.
Colleagues may also have misgivings about the validity and veracity of reports or stories gaining traction online or in public discourse because of the growing prevalence of misinformation. It may prove useful to examine what more parliamentary services can do to scrutinise false narratives and support Members in discerning fact from fiction.
Finally, as we reflect on Mental Health Awareness Week, we must ensure there are sufficient processes in place to support those under pressure and continue to develop our provisions in this area to ensure everyone who works in the House does so in the knowledge there is support at hand. Parliament is a treasured and historic building but it must also be fit for the work of a modern Member of Parliament, with the right services available.
This survey is a chance for every MP to have a say on the services available to them and to future generations of parliamentarians. Parliament's offering must evolve with the times, and colleagues now have a unique chance to help shape what that looks like.
Andrea Leadsom, Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire and former leader of the House
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