Working with Members of Parliament

1920px-Palace_of_Westminster,_London_-_Feb_2007"Palace of Westminster, London - Feb 2007" by Diliff - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Your Member of Parliament does want to hear from you!

The majority of Make Public campaigns involve working with Parliamentarians at some point. It may be to assist place a persuasive pressure on a government department, invite Parliamentary scrutiny of a wrongdoing by a major company, or get support for a much-needed scheme.

The interesting thing with specialist campaigns such as we run, that it often doesn’t take large numbers of people or Parliamentarians to achieve a result. If the people in a campaign are informed citizens, the course is very clear, and there is a significant impact likely from the outcome, rare is the parliamentarian who is not going to take an interest. (There is the occasional exception.)

There are a number of preparatory steps we take before we have a campaign which is ready to put forward to MPs for assistance. First the campaign needs to build up a certain head of steam in terms of documented knowledge about the issue, usually on a specialist (but not expensive) website, an informed and committed steering group of between 5 to 8 individuals, and a carefully assembled communication plan.

We guide and write the letters and flyers, and forward to our members for them to reword as desired, and e-mail or post to their MPs. Through the steering groups, we also assemble expert opinion, and encourage the steering groups to have meetings with their MPs. If Parliament has created an all-party Parliamentary group (a specialist group of parliamentarians for a particular issue), then we will write to them to add our weight as experts on the topic.

We also organise meetings with Parliamentarians for steering groups and campaigners to meet and discuss, as well as repairing simple one-page briefs and summaries for them to refer to afterwards.

From time to time we will carry out special research on a topic to brief a government minister, an example of this being a brief we constructed for Alistair Darling to give the background to a fund failure that he was investigating for a constituency member.

Rapidly accessible data is essential to helping members be fully effective, so we build CRM and data storage as part of the bundle of services we provide.

It is something campaigners can do by themselves?

Yes. However we find that organisation and research, the setting up of a proper steering group, own bank and constitution, all very straightforward, along with a clear goal and a schedule of planned activities, improve the likelihood of a good outcome substantially.

When involving parliamentarians in a campaigns, we do organise training sessions with the steering group and the campaign members to bring up a campaigning skills, and get them used to modern data storage and social media they may not necessarily be familiar with the help and be effective campaigners.

What type of campaigns can we assist with?

Financial redress, where at least one of the parties is regulated, specialist political campaigns to change a point of view, or a community campaign where campaigners have a clear goal, and campaign members are prepared to put in a usually agreeable monthly, annual payment, or project based payment in to pay for our services.  Some campaigns are best served with a specialist site to give them their identity and assist campaigners specific actions.  For financial redress schemes we normally agree a success fee.  Don’t be put off though, all costs tend to be agreeably sized.

How do we know a campaign will be successful?

All campaigns are uncertain.  But the results of doing nothing are absolutely certain.  There is justice and fairness, and there is taking action.  Only one works.

We’ll only take on your campaign if we consider after careful discussion there is a better than 75% chance of an outcome over a reasonable timeframe, (specialist campaigns can go for 2-3 years), campaigners are committed, and they are willing to organise along the lines we have outlined.

 Do you have a campaign in mind?

Do get in touch.

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