1. How to contact your MP at just the right time

    How do you know when Parliament is going to be debating the things you care about? One way is to use TheyWorkForYou—you can set it up to send you handy reminders ahead of time.

    On the agenda

    The legalisation of cannabis is one of those topics that people have strong opinions about, and we’ve noticed a few tweets where people are saying that they’ve used WriteToThem.com to share their views with their MPs, ahead of today’s Westminster Hall debate on the matter.

    Of course, you can share your thoughts on any topic with your MP, at any time. Doing so just before a debate is useful, though, as it means your representative is more likely to take your views into consideration before voting or speaking.

    TheyWorkForYou.com, our site that covers the UK’s parliaments, actually makes it pretty easy to time your messages correctly. As well as publishing everything spoken in Parliament, it also shows upcoming business.

    More than that, you can subscribe to any key word or phrase within the upcoming business section, and we’ll send you an email whenever it arises. So, whether you care deeply about cannabis, or your interests lie in another topic all together, you’ll know when a debate is scheduled.

    And then you can get straight onto WriteToThem to write your message.

    Here’s how to set up your ‘future business’ alert:

    1. Go to the future business page on TheyWorkForYou.

    2. Enter your chosen word or phrase in the search box to the right (titled Search upcoming business, or set up a future business email alert)

    3. You’ll be taken to a page showing any future business containing your keyword. On the right of that page you’ll see a box like this:

    future business subscribeNotice the small text: (or just forests in Future Business). Click on this if you’d like to receive results only for forthcoming debates.

     4. You’ll be asked to confirm what you want:

    confirm subscriptionAs you’ll see, this confirmation also teaches you a shortcut, if you ever want to search within Future Business directly: [keyword section:future]

    5. Click ‘subscribe’ and you’ll be asked to input your email address (unless you are already logged in). Check your email to confirm your address and you’re done — all ready to fire off an email to your MP next time something important is on the horizon.

     


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  2. We’ll send you an email every time your chosen word is mentioned in Parliament

    Little Bells by LorenzoclickParliament is back in session – that means that TheyWorkForYou.com will be filling up with lots of new content as our representatives come back to work and start on the rounds of debates, committees, and written answers.

    How do you keep up with the stuff that’s relevant to you? Well, you could read it all, every day – or you could be smart, and set up a topic alert.

    Receive an alert every time your chosen word or phrase is mentioned

    If you’re interested in a specific topic, and you’d like to receive an email every time someone mentions it in Parliament, follow these steps.

    1. Search for your chosen topic

    Let’s say you’re particularly interested in badger culling, and you’d like to receive an alert every time the word ‘badger’ is mentioned in Parliament.

    i) Enter your search term on the homepage:

    twfy-search-topic

    Tip: If your chosen search term has more than one word, you may find it useful to put it inside quotation marks – otherwise you will receive alerts every time both words are mentioned, even if they are not mentioned adjacently.

    ii) Click ‘search’, and you will be taken to a page of search results for your term:

    Search results on TheyWorkForYou

    TheyWorkForYou uses ‘stemming’ – so these results contain mentions of words such as ‘badgers’ and ‘badgering’: again, if I want to only receive mentions of the word badger, and none of its derivatives, I should put the word in quotation marks.

    iii) Click on the large blue link to the right of the page: “Subscribe to an email alert for [your search term]”.

    iv) If you are logged in to the site, that’s it – you’ve subscribed, and you don’t need to do anything more.

    If you are not logged in, don’t worry. You don’t need an account in order to sign up for alerts.

    Input your email address, and click on the ‘subscribe’ button (NB not the ‘search’ button, but the higher up button marked ‘subscribe’):

    twfy-email-subscribe

    We’ll send you a confirmation email.

    Confirm alert by email on TheyWorkForYou

    Click on the link in the email, and there you go – you’re subscribed.

    You can sign up for as many alerts as you like: if you are interested in many topics, it is probably worth registering, as you then do not have to go to the bother of inputting your email address and clicking the confirmation link for each one.

    In our next post, we will look at how to manage your alerts, and common mistakes that can be made setting them up.

    Prefer to receive alerts every time a specified MP speaks? See our previous post.


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