TheyWorkForYou is a website which takes the code that Parliament outputs each day (including Hansard, and information such as expenses, cabinet positions, etc), and publishes it out in our own format, making it really easy for our users to check:
- Who their MP is;
- How any MP has voted in key areas;
- What entries there are in the Register of Interests;
- Which debates happened — debates are fully searchable, and our archive goes back as far as the 1930s;
- … and lots more.
Our own code also does a few calculations with the data, so that we can display statistics like:
- How many debates each MP has contributed to;
- Which words or phrases they’ve mentioned the most;
- How many votes they’ve taken part in.
Your constituents can also sign up to receive an email every time their MP speaks, or when their chosen topic is mentioned in a debate.
Why can’t constituents just use the official Parliament website?
When mySociety first launched TheyWorkForYou, it filled a gap that official sources weren’t yet covering: while Parliament did have a website at that time, it was a static offering that hadn’t fully realised the potential of digital for citizen-to-government communication.
For example, users could only find their MP’s contact details if they knew his or her name; and although Hansard was published online, it wasn’t possible to search the text for a specific word or phrase.
Things have definitely moved on, but we still strive to stay one step ahead of the official offerings.