Foreword by the Clerk of the House

A Working for an MP Guide
Foreword by Clerk of the House
First Published 7 May 2010 w4mp
Last Updated 30 January 2012 w4mp
Last Reviewed 27 January 2013 w4mp
Revision notes

Foreword by Sir Robert Rogers

Welcome to the Guide to Working for an MP. It’s a fantastic route map, work of reference and survival guide, all in one, and I am delighted to add my introduction to that of Mr Speaker.

This is a fascinating place, but a complex and often confusing one too. I speak with experience; after nearly forty years here I can still find it confusing, so take heart!

My job as Clerk of the House (the 49th since 1363, incidentally) means that I am the House’s principal adviser on constitutional and procedural issues. But I am also the Chief Executive of the House of Commons Service, of about 1,900 people. We provide the support and advice that the House, its Committees and Members need to work effectively. We aren’t civil servants; we serve the Legislature, not the Executive; and we are rigidly politically impartial.

In the past the House Service has perhaps been seen as a bit lukewarm in its relations with MPs’ staff. But all that has changed, I am delighted to say. You are a key part of Parliament, whether you work in the constituency or at Westminster. We in the House Service value and respect what you do in supporting the work of MPs and the democratic process.

I’d like to say two things as a preface to what you will find in this Guide. First, the House of Commons can seem overwhelming at first – but help is at hand! As well as the wise and intensely practical advice and support provided by Working4anMP and your colleagues, please do make use of all the information on the Parliamentary Intranet. Sign up to Commons View, the House Service’s electronic newsletter for MPs’ staff. Don’t be afraid to call House staff for advice. The House of Commons Service can seem a complicated structure, and the creation of IPSA means that MPs’ pay and expenses no longer fall to us, but where things are our responsibility we will do our best to help you; and where they aren’t, we can steer you in the right direction.

Second, you don’t have to be at Westminster to access an amazing range of resources. Whether you are here or in the constituency, the House of Commons Library has huge research expertise to offer. The PICT helpdesk is open to all. Procedural offices can advise on how your Member can go about tabling an amendment or a Parliamentary Question, or bringing in a Bill. Parliamentary Outreach and the Education Service have a wealth of teaching materials for schools or can help you organise a visit here.

New constituency staff will get a great deal out of attending a Constituency Staff Open Day. Organised by my office, an Open Day will help you to find out more about the services available to you, and how to get the best out of them. It also provides the opportunity to meet House staff and to share experiences with your colleagues.

There is absolutely nowhere quite like the House of Commons. I really enjoy working here; I hope that you do too.

Sir Robert Rogers
Clerk of the House of Commons

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