Contacting Your MP.
If you are not sure who your MP is then you can look them up here: theyworkforyou.com You can use this site to see how many times your MP has voted and which way they voted on key debates.
It should be possible to make an appointment with your MP, so that you can see them at their next surgery. There is however, no requirement for MPs to have regular surgery times, nor to advertise them in advance, so this may prove to be a little more difficult than first anticipated. It makes you wonder how an MP can effectively meet the needs of their constituents without regular surgery times, advertised in advance, but evidently holding surgeries and notification is completely at their discretion.
If you wish to make an appeal to the Parliamentary Ombudsman (PHSO) for any matter other than health, then you will have to go via your MP. This is known as the ‘MP filter’. 2011 PHSO research into the MP filter It is likely that the MP filter will be removed when the new Public Service Ombudsman legislation is passed through the house.
If you are making a complaint which concerns the NHS or other health related matter then you can go directly to the Ombudsman using their website. www.ombudsman.org.uk In either case it would be useful to have your MP on board as he/she can push your case in Parliament and ask questions in the house if they feel the urge to do so. If you are fortunate enough to have a proactive and ethical MP then you stand a much better chance of success. The Ombudsman is of course independent, so your MP can only advise or suggest in order to assist with your case.
You must approach your MP within 12 months of becoming aware there was an issue or your case will not be considered by PHSO. Your MP will ask you to submit all your evidence and will write a covering letter to Dame Julie Mellor herself. I am sure that she reads them all. Your MP will then receive the outcome of your claim and you will be sent a copy of that letter. If you wish to ask for a review of the initial decision you can do that independently using the links on the web site. PHSO – how to complain
The chances are that your MP will be keen to wash their hands of the matter as soon as your case has been ‘resolved’ by the Ombudsman. They will rarely fight on your behalf if you feel that there has been an injustice, using the convenience that the Ombudsman is an independent body, so unfortunately their hands are tied. Your MP will now bow out of the process happy that they have ticked the constituent box and not unduly concerned whether justice has been done. The more you get involved with politicians the more you wonder how they ever came to be called ‘public servants’. There is some interesting information here from MPs who were asked by PASC to comment on the current complaint procedure. parliament.uk/writtenevidence At lease we can take comfort in the fact that they too are ignored by Ministers and their letters are lost on a regular basis. What a great way to run a country.
There is no point complaining about your MP as the only body available to complain to ‘The Select Committee on Standards’ are unable to investigate ‘the way an MP has handled an individual case or problem.’ See page 2 of this link. parliament.uk/document No point either in approaching another MP who may be interested in the subject as due to Parliamentary Protocol (a convenient arrangement between MPs not recorded anywhere), they will be unable to help you and will point you back in the direction of your own MP.
That pretty much makes them unaccountable then – except at the ballot box. If you want to stir them up and you are not adverse to writing letters which are ignored, then try complaining to their party headquarters. We are still waiting for the recall of MPs act and perhaps one day, along with the tooth fairy and Santa it will arrive.