Justine Duggan, iNHouse Communications (Ex-Head of Office for Brandon Lewis MP)
Whether you are a new Member of Parliament or a new staff member the Palace of Westminster can be a daunting but exciting place. The myriad of corridors and the many archaic rules are not easy to navigate. There is no comprehensive guide or decent map of the building. You will get lost. On top of this your email box will be full and you will have hundreds of meeting requests to keep on top off. In my first few weeks I could only find places if I started off in Central Lobby. I spent a lot of time at the Vote and Table Office asking question after question. After seven years of working in the Palace I was still finding new places and learning new things. I fell in love with the Palace of Westminster and all its quirky ways.
MY TOP TIPS FOR A NEWBIE ARE:
• Patience take your time it is not a race.
• Pick your staff wisely and look after them. They are the key to a well run office.
• Get lost, it is your only way of finding your way around.
• Ask, don’t be afraid to ask, everyone is very helpful.
• Go in the Chamber as much as possible; listen and watch.
• Don’t join every All Parliamentary Group you are asked to, concentrate on the subjects you want to champion.
• Make friends.
• Don’t give your mobile out too widely, especially to journalists who may hound you in the future.
• Find the Sports and Social and Strangers Bars.
• And of course try the Jerk chicken, you won’t regret it!