Who should I write to?
- When should I contact my MP?
- When should I contact one of my councillors?
- When should I contact an MEP?
- When should I contact my MSP?
- When should I contact my MLA?
- When should I contact one of my Welsh Assembly Members?
- When should I contact one of my Greater London Assembly Members?
When should I contact my MP?
Many people think that their MP is there to solve all their problems for them; unfortunately this is not the case. MPs can only help with those matters for which Parliament or central government is responsible.
Your MP will be able to help you with such areas as:
- Tax problems involving HM Revenue & Customs (but not such areas as the council tax, which is paid to your local authority).
- Problems dealt with by the Department of Health such as hospitals and the National Health Service, if you are in England. The Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly are responsible for health matters in Scotland and Wales respectively.
- Problems dealt with by the Department of Work and Pensions such as benefits, pensions and national insurance (but not problems with the social services department of your local authority).
- Problems dealt with by the Home Office such as immigration.
- In England, matters such as school closures and grants which are dealt with by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (but not day to day problems involving schools which are run by their governors and your local education authority). In Scotland and Wales the devolved Parliament and Assembly respectively are responsible for education matters.
Your MP is not there to help you in private disputes with other individuals or with companies who have sold you faulty goods, nor, for example, to interfere with decisions made by courts.
You and Your MP, a factsheet produced by Parliament, has more information about what your MP can do for you.
When should I contact one of my councillors?
Councillors have differing responsibilities depending on which council you live in. Because of these variations we are only able to give you 'rule-of-thumb' guidance here.
Firstly, in England you may have two levels of council: County and District, in which case their responsibilities split up as follows:
- District Councillors: If you have one or more District Councillor, they tend to deal with issues around council housing, planning, rubbish collection, the local environment, and the administration of elections.
- County Councillors: If you have one or more county councillors, they tend to deal with education, transport and roads, fire and social services plus libraries.
Otherwise, you will have only one council, whose responsibilities differ depending on exactly where you live. We describe these on the page which lists your councillors.
Don't worry if you're not absolutely sure who to pick! Whoever you write to will be able to forward your letter to the most appropriate person if you haven't got it quite right.
When should I contact one of my MEPs?
If you have a question about proposed European directives (laws), the European Parliament, Commission or Union, your MEPs may be able to help. Once passed, EU laws become the responsibility of national governments and parliaments to implement, so you may wish to contact your MP about them in that case.
Note that MEPs cannot help raise an issue with the European Court of Human Rights. The Convention is incorporated into UK law, so any challenge must start in the UK legal system.
When should I contact one of my MSPs?
According to the Scottish Parliament website, "MSPs deal with the issues for which the Scottish Parliament is responsible. These are called devolved matters. They include:
- education and training
- local government
- social work
- tourism, economic development and financial assistance to industry
- some aspects of transport, including the Scottish road network, bus policy and ports and harbours
- law and home affairs, including most aspects of criminal and civil law, the prosecution system and the courts
- Police and Fire services
- natural and built heritage
- agriculture, forestry and fishing
- sport and the arts
- statistics, public registers and records"
The Scottish Parliament code of conduct indicates that for constituency matters, you can approach any one of the MSPs who represent you. You should not contact all your MSPs at once on a constituency matter, as then they will have to work out amongst themselves who will deal with the case, and this won't be of help to you. Please only contact all your regional MSPs on matters that apply to all of them – for example, if you wish them to vote a particular way on something in the Scottish Parliament.
When should I contact one of my Northern Ireland Assembly Members?
The Northern Ireland Assembly has full authority over “transferred matters”, which are defined as anything not excepted or reserved. The responsibilities of the Northern Ireland executive are:
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Culture, Arts and Leisure
- Employment and Learning
- Enterprise, Trade and Investment
- Finance and Personnel
- Health, Social Services and Public Safety
- Regional Development
- Social Development
Reserved matters include navigation and civil aviation, financial services, telecommunications, postal services, and the national minimum wage. Excepted matters include defence, immigration, taxation, and elections.
When should I contact one of my Welsh Assembly Members?
According to the Welsh Assembly Government website, they are responsible for:
- Agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development
- Ancient monuments and historic buildings
- Economic development
- Education and training
- Fire and rescue services and promotion of fire safety
- Heath and health services
- Highways and transport
- Local government
- Public administration
- Social welfare
- Sport and recreation
- Town and county planning
- Water and flood defence
- Welsh language
When should I contact one of my London Assembly Members?
According to the official website, the GLA's main areas of responsibility are:
- Fire and emergency planning
- Economic development