Interpreters and Translation Services


Members of Parliament serve constituents who speak many different languages and sometimes it is necessary to engage the services of an interpreter or a translation service.

The House of Commons does not provide interpretation and translation services, but the cost of engaging such services can be covered by IPSA under ‘translation services. ‘

The services below are ones which have been suggested by MPs’ staff. You could also search for translators and interpreters local to you on

The Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office can help you to find an interpreter abroad. See this website: Find a translator or interpreter abroad

Please note that reference to a site or service here should not imply an endorsement and we cannot be responsible for anything on third party sites.

Live Services


LanguageLine offers live interpreting services in over 240 spoken languages, face-to-face, online, via telephone or via a mobile app. They also provide interpreters for British Sign Language (BSL), either face-to-face or online via video.

LanguageLine also offers translation services such as document translation and website translation in over 190 languages.

Interpreting Line

Interpreting line offers face-to-face, video and telephone translation services for over 250 spoken languages and also British Sign Language (BSL.) They also offer document translation services.

Internet/Mobile Apps

Internet/mobile apps can be useful for quick translations where you need the gist of something quickly, rather than a definitive translation.

Say Hi is a mobile app which requires an Internet connection:

Siri is built into Apple IOS devices and you can ask it simple questions such as “How do I say in French…”

Google Translate is an online text translator: and there is also a mobile app.



Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs have updated their very helpful booklets, explaining how they can help you to help your constituents. The two booklets are:

  • Help for you and your constituents – Working with HM Revenue and Customs: a guide for MPs
  • Tax and National Insurance contributions – Guide for MPs and Ministers (MPs managing their own tax affairs)

If you would like a copy of the updated versions, please email us letting us know which version(s) you require*.

* Please note that we are able to send these documents only to current MPs and their staff with intranet email accounts.  It is not available to members of the public.

Helping tenants with damp and mouldy housing (England)


The House of Commons Library has produced a new guide for MPs and their staff to help them to assist their constituents: ‘A short guide to tenants’ rights when living in damp and mouldy homes and Government action to address this issue.’

You can find the new House of Commons Library guide here:

Migrant Help


Migrant Help exists to protect people affected by displacement and exploitation, helping them thrive as individuals and recover from their trauma. They support those most in need and least likely to find support elsewhere, whilst aiming to bridge community gaps and bring services and support together.

You can read more about Migrant Help here:

Whilst there is no MP hotline for Migrant Help, they have provided some information on how to help your constituents:

A guide to reporting issues via their website:

Accessing Migrant Help’s Service User Portal and webchat:

The Public Affairs Guide to Westminster: The Handbook of Effective and Ethical Lobbying


Award-winning public affairs professional Robert McGeachy has written The Public Affairs Guide to Westminster: The Handbook of Effective and Ethical Lobbying, drawing upon his experience of working in the House of Lords for many years, and of leading successful UK-wide public affairs campaigns.

The Westminster Public Affairs Guide shows organisations and individuals how to influence both Houses of the UK Parliament and the UK Government, and to do so on an ethical, cost effective basis.  Full of useful hints and tips, and written with the benefit of years of experience and success in the profession, the Westminster Public Affairs Guide is the essential tool for those seeking to find out more about the Westminster political system, about developing campaigns and about how to engage with the UK Government, and with both Houses of the UK Parliament, to influence policy and legislation.

The book will be of interest both to public affairs professionals, and to parliamentary staff. It will help parliamentary staff to maximise the effectiveness of their support for the MPs or Peers they work for, and strengthen the latter’s capacity to influence legislation and policy development.

The Westminster Public Affairs Guide has been published by the Welsh Academic Press. Further details can be accessed at or

Best Practice Guide to Recruitment and Selection


The House of Commons Members’ HR Service has produced a Best Practice Guide to Recruitment and Selection.

It provides practical advice on efficient and effective recruitment practices. The guide aims to support Members (and their Office Managers) with the tools to attract and recruit people with diverse backgrounds, skills and abilities.

Even if you’re not currently recruiting, w4mp recommends that MPs and Office Manager take the time to read this very useful document.

Please see here for further information:

Recruitment and Selection – Best Practice Guides


Please note that links to the old Parliamentary intranet have been removed as of October 2023. Please use search on ParliNet to find relevant current details, if available.

The House of Commons Members’ HR Service has produced a series of Best Practice Guides. Recruitment and Selection.

They can be found on Sharepoint

The one on Recruitment and Selection provides practical advice on efficient and effective recruitment practices and support Members (and their Office Managers) with the tools to attract and recruit people with diverse backgrounds, skills and abilities.

Recruiting staff can be a rewarding experience, unfortunately, there are some common pitfalls if the process is rushed or not well thought through.  There is also a legal requirement placed on all employers to ensure that recruitment practices meet the requirements of the Equality Act (2010).  It is therefore important to ensure that your recruitment practices are not only deemed to be fair, consistent and transparent but that this is also the experience of the individuals going through your recruitment process.

The guide looks at the different stages of a recruitment process, which would normally include:

  • Identifying the role you need and how it will support the function of your office.
  • How to write a job description in line with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) requirements.
  • Guidance on writing a person specification.
  • Putting an advert together and exploring various options to advertise your vacancy.
  • Best practice on selection methods.
  • Making the job offer, and the following checks that need to be carried out e.g. security vetting, employment references etc.

Although this is a guide to recruitment and selection, it is well worth reading it even if you’re not currently in the process of seeking a new employee.  It contains a wealth of valuable information which could also be used to help you to carry out appraisals and self-assessments.



For information about security clearance for people on work experience see Apply for security vetting and passes

Finding legal advice for your constituents


MPs are there to help only with those matters for which Parliament or central government is  responsible.  MPs are not there to help in private disputes with neighbours, with an employer, with family matters or with companies who have sold faulty goods; nor can they interfere with decisions made by courts.

MPs’ offices should not give out legal advice to constituents, nor should they be involved in Judicial Reviews.  You should ask your constituents to seek independent legal advice given by a suitably qualified person with professional liability insurance.  Judicial Reviews require specialist advice.

MPs should not write to judges as they may appear as attempts to interfere with legal proceedings.  Read more in the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Advice Note.

Law Centres defend the legal rights of people who cannot afford a lawyer. They are specialists working in their local communities to uphold justice and advance equality.  There are various Law Centres throughout the country who

LawWorks is a charity working in England and Wales to connect volunteer lawyers with people in need of legal advice, who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford to pay and with the not-for-profit organisations that support them.

Citizens Advice Bureau: Citizens Advice Bureau (external website)
Their network of independent charities offers confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free.  They are independent and totally impartial.  They also give advice on consumer rights on their consumer helpline, support witnesses in courts through the Witness Service and give pension guidance to people aged over 50.


In the case of immigration matters, it is against the law to dispense immigration advice unless you are registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) or a member of an approved professional body such as the Law Society.

Find an immigration adviser:

The Public Law Project employs specialist lawyers who assist individuals experiencing personal disadvantage, or charities or organisations representing the interests of marginalised or disadvantaged groups.  PLP also employs expert academics and researchers.

They may be able to take on individual cases that are referred to them by other lawyers, advisors, MPs or voluntary groups.  If they are unable to help, they may be able to signpost you to other lawyers or agencies that can.

Have a look at their page on helping individuals here;

The Public Law Project also gives information on Judicial Reviews here:

The Unity Project supports migrants who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).

Karma Nirvana is a project which supports victims of honour-based violence and forced marriage

Further information

See the House of Commons Library Constituency Casework Guides:

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid:

From the APPG’s website:

“The APPG on Legal Aid provides bespoke training to MPs and their caseworkers on a range of subjects through the House of Commons Library. Studies and research have shown that as a consequence of the LASPO cuts there has been a huge increase in the number and complexity of legal problems that MPs are encountering in their surgeries. Our training is designed specifically with caseworkers in mind and provided by industry experts. To date, we have provided training in the following areas:

  • Legal Aid,
  • Immigration,
  • Housing Law,
  • Disability and Discrimination Law,
  • Employment Law,
  • Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and
  • Special Education Needs.

Feedback for the courses has been excellent. We have also developed courses in soft skills and interviewing techniques for new casework staff as part of the House of Commons induction process.

For further information about these courses, please check the ACT website.

We also provide briefings for individual MPs and select committees on various areas within legal aid. For further information, please contact”

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Access to Justice:

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Access to Justice has Guide to Free Legal Services to support constituency casework.  This is available to MPs’ offices only.  Please email if you would like a PDF copy.

MP and Staffers’ guide to Mental Health


The MP and Staffers’ Guide to Mental Health has been updated and is full of useful information on how to support and signpost constituents with mental health needs.  We highly recommend that you read this guide.

Here’s what’s in it:

  • Quick-reference guide
  • An overview of mental health
  • How much help should you give?
  • How to help someone in distress
  • Handling difficult emails and phone calls
  • Signposting and local information
  • Glossary

You can view it on the Rethink Mental Illness website here.

As an aside from those of us at W4MP who have been around for a bit: if you are new to the job you might just be thinking that you are the only one who has ever had to help constituents with mental health problems.  Everyone who has ever worked for an MP, and particularly those based in constituency offices and dealing with casework, tends to be surprised how much of an issue this can be, particularly in your first few weeks.  Hopefully this booklet will help you put things in perspective.  Good luck!

The leaflet is a joint production by: