MAPSA Newsletter – February 2012
Following on from our November newsletter, I am pleased to say that it has been another busy few months for MAPSA and we have been involved with a varied range of meetings in the House, alongside advising individual members on employment matters. In no particular order, here are the highlights!
Procedure Select Committee
On 11th January I appeared on behalf of MAPSA before the Procedure Select Committee and give evidence to its consultation on sitting hours and the Parliamentary calendar.
Whilst most of the discussion centred around the potential effects of any changes to the House Staff, I and Max Freedman from UNITE talked about family friendly hours and the possible effects on our staff who do not have fixed hours and rotas, and are therefore more liable to be taken advantage of if late sittings return with more frequency. Hopefully our views were taken on board and all staff involved will be continue to be fully consulted before any major changes occur.
MAPSA submission to the Annual Review of the MP’s Scheme of Expenses and Costs 2011/12
I hope members managed to get their own submissions in too, but meantime click here to read ours in response to IPSA’s consultation document. (PDF 16KB) Obviously, our main bid, along with all the other staff organisations, was for an increase in the staffing budget so, we shall find out very soon if we have been successful.
Meeting with Ken Olisa, IPSA Board Member
On 10th January we, along with Representatives of UNITE, and the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem staff organisations, met with Ken Olisa who is a member of the IPSA Board. Although we are now fairly plugged in to the IPSA team this is the first time we have formally met a member of the Board, and we were all very impressed with his interest and understanding of our points of view and we covered a wide range of topics – all of which are covered in the submission above.
Meeting with Representatives of the Vote Office
Just before Xmas, Gill Cheesman and I met with representatives of the Vote Office with regard to the Savings Programme and how they could make their services better, in particular with regard to how they deal with staff and our requirements.
Whilst this is to be an ongoing consultation with all staff groups, our initial thoughts were that the main problem was lack of communication and also the lack of a decent website! If the intranet was better, we could use it more effectively and then not rely so much on paper based documents from the Vote Office – although recognising some MPs and staff will always prefer paper! Some of the questions raised were incorporated into the Staff Survey which I hope you all completed but, if you have any particular comments on this area, please let us know.
Meeting with staff from the Communications Directorate
A few weeks ago I met with Vasillis and Marianne regarding Members Staff and internal communication. We are not going to be allowed to send round emails to all on the Parliamentary system but we will be able to provide information and a link to our page on W4MP on the weekly “Dates for Your Diary” email that the Communications Department send round so that should really increase our profile, and I will try and do that after recess in order to reach the maximum number of people. If anyone has any ideas how to use this particular means of communication to the best of our ability, please get in touch!
After one aborted, and indeed very cold, attempt to set up the new account Julie and I have now signed our lives away and the new Lloyds account (which is the only one that does not charge for the privilege of looking after our money) should be up and running shortly.
Meeting with ParliOut
Jo Baker and Alex Hernandez met with representatives of ParliOut, the new body representing LGBT staff to see how we could work together with them.
I met with Liz Crotty to look at the Catering Services now that the Savings Programme is under way, and they plan to meet more regularly so we can feed in (no pun intended!) to the process and see how members feel about the changes in the Catering and Banqueting services.
That’s all for now,