It is also an important opportunity to start a new relationship, or improve an existing one, by inviting local MPs and councillors to visit your neighbourhood investment projects.
A step by step guide to contacting your MP
To help you arrange your own visit to showcase the impact of your neighbourhood investment projects, including a tour of the project and a chance to meet constituents whose lives have been transformed by these services, we’ve put together this step by step guide to contacting your MP.
Step 1: Identify your MP
Each MP represents a constituency and is bound to serve the people living within the area. The simplest way to locate your MP is by visiting the official Parliament UK website, where you can type in your organisation’s postcode into the ‘Find your MP’ search bar.
You may find that your organisation spans a number of constituencies. MPs can legitimately make representations on behalf of their constituents who use services outside of their constituency. Consider engaging with these MPs too.
Step 2: Get in touch
MPs receive hundreds of letters and emails every day. Each MP will have a small staff dedicated to sifting through all correspondence. For first contact, it is therefore advisable to write a letter to your MP, signed by your chief executive or chair, and printed on letterhead paper. Letters should be addressed to the MP’s constituency office which you can find when your search for your MP on www.parliament.uk.
In the letter you should set out the following:
- That you would like a meeting or to arrange a visit with them
- Who your organisation are
- An overview of your neighbourhood investment projects and its impact
- A commitment to follow up with their office to liaise about logistics.
You could focus on the Community Impact Awards categories to showcase what you do:
- Better neighbourhoods – improving and reinvigorating the area you serve
- Greener living – making a difference to the local environment by focusing on green space, biodiversity, waste reduction and efficient use of resources
- Investing in people – tackling worklessness and promoting financial inclusion
- Health and wellbeing – tackling inequalities, promoting independence and improving health and wellbeing.
If you require any guidance, please email Jessica Levy, Public Affairs Manager at the National Housing Federation.
Step 3: Arrange a meeting or visit
When offering or arranging a visit, it is worth bearing in mind that MPs have huge demands on their diary. Community Impact Week takes place during November recess, when MPs will usually be spending their time in their constituencies. When Parliament isn’t in recess, MPs will spend Monday afternoon through to Thursday afternoon every week in Westminster. It is therefore advisable that you try and offer a Friday or Saturday to visit a scheme outside of recess.
Step 4: Get your free Community Impact Week supporter board
Ahead of your visit, email us your postal address and we’ll send you a supporter board. Get photos of your local MPs and other local stakeholders such as mayors and councillors holding the supporter board ready and share these online during Community Impact Week using the #ciw17 hashtag.
Step 5: Getting the most out of your meeting or visit
MPs have a limited amount of time per meeting or visit so it’s important that you make the most out of your time with them. If you are able to arrange a visit to a scheme, try and ensure that the MP not only sees the neighbourhood investment project but also meets service users. Personal accounts are a powerful tool and can showcase the very best of the vital work you do.
Ahead of your meeting try and send your MP a briefing about the project and its impact so they are informed before attending and can ask you any questions they may have.
Step 6: Getting the most out of your meeting or visit
After your meeting make sure your write to your MP thanking them for their time and support.
If any actions were agreed on the visit such as: they agreed to write to the Minister or table Parliamentary Questions, remind them of this and suggest future contact with them to ensure they are kept up to date on the issue
Step 7: Let us know about how your visit goes
We are keen to hear back about how your visits and meetings go. Please do give us your feedback.
Need more help?
If you have any questions or would like further information, please email Jessica Levy.