Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in Politics with Employment Experience. During my studies I made the decision to undertake a placement year in the Civil Service, working as a social researcher. This experience was vital for developing the skills to gain a place on the Parliamentary Graduate Development Programme. I moved from Sheffield to London to start my traineeship in the House of Lords after graduating.
What would a ‘normal’ day look like for someone in your role?
No two days are the same and they are often unpredictable. The core of my work is drafting Private Members’ Bills which can require a few hours to a number of weeks, depending on the complexity of the bill. I work closely with members to do this and ensure the bill achieves their intentions before they introduce it to the House, which I also advise and arrange for them. We have very busy days with members tabling amendments to bills and popping into the office to seek advice on these or other procedural matters in Parliament.
Another aspect of my job is being aware of upcoming Parliamentary business as I have to liaise with government departments and ensure documentation is prepared. I also arrange for messages to be sent between the two Houses of Parliament. A message is where a senior Clerk will physically walk a message to the other House to communicate that a bill has completed its passage without amendment or to send the bill back with amendments– a long-standing Parliamentary tradition.
One day each week I am also on division duty. This means that when a vote is called in the House of Lords, I take names of members in one of the division lobbies. This can be daunting but exciting too.
How important is diversity to you and what is UK Parliament doing to champion diversity at the moment?
Diversity and inclusion are very important to me because I come from a single-parent household, was the first in my family to attend university and identify as bi-sexual. Parliament has brilliant and active workplace equality networks which do a lot of work in raising awareness of diversity issues as well as providing a forum to meet new people from across Parliament. Parliament has also raised awareness of other issues including running events for Mental Health Awareness week. I have found it a positive and welcoming place to work since starting.
Has anything that has surprised you since you started?
Working for one of the House administrations in Parliament means you can truly immerse yourself in Parliamentary proceedings, whether going to watch Prime Minister’s Questions, proceedings in the House of Lords, a select committee, or socialise with friends and colleagues in the restaurants or bars. It really is a fascinating and exciting place to work, steeped in history. Working so closely with politicians and the levels of responsibility we are given from a very early stage has surprised me.
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