Many people think that their MP can solve all their problems: this is sadly not the case and there are many examples where contacting an MP may result in a problem taking longer to resolve if the issue in question is not their responsibility. MPs are there to help only with those matters for which Parliament or central government is responsible.
For many matters, (for example if it is connected with local planning, the day to day running of schools, refuse collection, housing repairs, anti-social behaviour or public lavatories) the appropriate first step is to contact your local councillor.
An MP is unable to settle private disputes with neighbours or employers, nor can he help in family arguments. Nor can an MP interfere with decisions made in court, offer legal advice or give immigration advice.
If you are unsure of who to go to or you have a problem of a more general nature then your nearest Citizens' Advice Bureau will be able to guide you.
District Office, 2nd Floor,
26 Snow Hill, Wolverhampton,
Telephone Advice Line 01902 572006 (Mon - Fri 10-2pm except Bank Holidays)
Admin Telephone: 01902 572 199 (No advice is given on this number)
Fax: 01902 572 204
If your problem is not local in nature and concerns central government policies (such as the National Health Service, HM Revenue and Customs who collect the bulk of tax and pay child benefit and tax credits, and the Department of Work and Pensions who deal with issues such as benefits, pensions and national insurance) then you should contact your MP.
Your MP can help you with all matters for which Parliament or central government is responsible, such as:
Tax problems involving the HM Revenue and Customs Department.
Problems dealt with by the Department for Work and Pensions such as benefits, pensions and National Insurance.
Problems dealt with by the Home Office, such as immigration.Problems dealt with by the Department of Health, such as hospitals and the National Health Service (NHS).
Problems dealt with by the Department for Education, such as school closures and grants.
How does my MP deal with my problem?
Ways Paul could deal with problems of his constituents would be:
A letter to the relevant department or official.
A letter to the Minister involved.
Attempt to ascertain the reason behind decisions.
Appeal on behalf of an individual or community.
Speak to relevant authorities on your behalf.
Many problems (but not all) can be solved in this way. The Minister may not be able to give the answer you want to hear but if the decision has been made in the correct way there may be little that he can do. If you feel there has been unnecessary delay or maladministration Paul may be able to take your case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can only be approached through Paul; you cannot approach that office directly. The Health Service Ombudsman can provide similar help where the problem involves the NHS.