A brief guide to getting the best help for your problem or issue – and how to get the most effective support from your Member of Parliament.
Members of Parliament are elected to the House of Commons to represent the interests and concerns of all the people who live in their constituency, whether they voted for them at the General Election or not.
MPs can only raise concerns on the behalf of their own constituents so please make sure to include your full address in any correspondence.
What can an MP help with?
MPs can help with matters for which central government is directly responsible for, so issues to do with:
- Benefits, pensions, National Insurance, and other matters dealt with by the Department for Work and Pensions
- Immigration and other problems dealt with by the Home Office
- Tax issues involving HM Revenue and Customs
- Problems with the NHS
- Problems with the Child Maintenance Service or Child Support Agency
- School grants and closures
What your MP cannot usually help with…
Problems with local authority services, such as waste collection, road maintenance, planning, and school and housing allocations are managed by Redditch Borough Council or Wychavon District Council (depending on which part of the constituency you live) and should be raised with your local Councillors in the first instance.
However, I am always happy to write to the Council and ask them to look into a problem or reconsider a particular issue. Owing to the Data Protection Act (2018) you will need to give me your permission to share your information with the Council if I write to the Council on your behalf.
As your MP I can provide general advice on planning issues and ask that your views are taken into account in planning decisions, but I cannot instruct or influence councillors making the decisions, as this is a local Council matter that operates under very strict rules and laws.
MPs are unable to intervene in private disputes with neighbours or employers, nor help to settle family arguments. They also cannot interfere with decisions made in court or offer legal advice.
Contacting your local Council and Councillors
The Redditch County Constituency (to use its full name) features two local councils. They are Redditch Borough Council, which covers the town of Redditch plus Astwood Bank & Feckenham, and Wychavon District Council which covers areas to the south-west of Redditch, and includes villages such as Inkberrow and Hanbury. Worcestershire County Council covers the entire Redditch County Constituency.
Redditch Borough Council
Walter Stranz Square
Redditch’s Town Hall is open from Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, except for bank holidays.
Telephone: 01527 64252.
Emergency out of hours number: 01527 67666
Wychavon District Council
Queen Elizabeth Drive
Wychavon’s Civic Centre is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, except for bank holidays.
Telephone: 01386 565000
Emergency our of hours number: 01562 733180
Worcestershire County Council
County Hall is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, except for bank holidays.
Telephone: 01905 765 765
Emergency our of hours number: 01905 763 763
Getting in touch with Rachel and what to expect
How your MP can help with your problem or issue
Where your problem does involve central government, your MP has a number of methods available to try to resolve the matter:
- A letter from your MP to the relevant department or official will often provide a solution;
- Your MP may decide to take matters a stage further by writing to the Minister involved;
- Your MP may make an appointment to see the Minister personally.
Many constituents’ problems can be solved in this way but not all problems have an easy solution. The Minister may not be able to give you the answer you wanted to hear. However, if the decision has been made in the right way, there may be very little that can be done.
On the other hand, if there has been unnecessary delay, or if some essential procedure has been missed out, your MP may be able to take your case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman who is sometimes able to resolve such cases where there has been administrative incompetence. You can find out more at: http://www.ombudsman.org.uk
Raising matters in the House of Commons
All of the methods described above keep the problem confidential, which is often best. However, if you and Rachel working together feel there is something solid to be gained by making the problem or issue public this may be done by Rachel raising it on the floor of the House of Commons in view of the press and public.
There are a number of Parliamentary procedures and methods Rachel has at her disposal and her skill as the Member of Parliament is in choosing the method that will get the best outcome to you. Sometimes you may feel a course of action is not your preferred way of handling it, but the outcome may be better. For instance, most people would prefer their issue to be raised at Prime Minister’s Question Time, however it may produce a better outcome if the matter is raised in an adjournment debate or a Westminster Hall debate.
Various methods can produce results and sometimes these methods can be effective, though it is important to remember that even when matters are raised in the full glare of publicity you still may not get the answer you hope for.