DWP event shows benefits of lobbying

A mass lobby of parliament by the union’s DWP group helped pile the pressure on over plans for large-scale office closures across the department.

More than 100 members and supporters turned up, with more than 40 MPs taking part, including the shadow minister for work and pensions. Read on for a brief guide to lobbying in campaigns.

The government proposes shutting down more than 100 jobcentres and back of house offices, threatening at least 750 DWP jobs, harm to vulnerable users and damage to the local economies affected.

More than 50 MPs have so far signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in parliament, which PCS lodged to call on the government suspend any closures until there had been full impact assessments, more consultation a detailed consideration of alternatives.

How can you help?

  • Members are urged to lobby MPs to put their name to EDM 1064. Those who have already signed are named on the Parliament website and this easy e-action can be used to contact MPs not yet listed.
  • Encourage members to support the campaign by signing the petition to the House of Commons. The EDM is supported by MPs from Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru, Green Party.
  • Lobby local councillors and candidates in areas where offices are proposed for closure in the lead up to the forthcoming local elections on 4 May. Elections will be held in 34 councils in England, all 32 councils in Scotland and all 22 councils in Wales. Click here for a list.

A brief guide to lobbying:

Lobbying – or seeking to influence – people and policy is an effective way to get results as part of a workplace, branch or national campaign. Here are some key points to know:

  • Lobbying can involve many different tactics - from having a cup of tea with your parish councillor to meeting with national government at Westminster, or communicating with members of the public and others in person or via social media.
  • Having clear objectives is important - what would a victory look like for you? Is there some smaller goal you can aim for as a compromise?
  • Be prepared. Back up your arguments with sound reasoning, costing and evidence.
  • Personalise the issues. What does it mean for you, your family and the people you know? Include the members directly affected by the changes in your lobbying efforts.
  • Don’t be intimidated - it’s your right to lobby and it is their responsibility to listen - and don’t be too easily charmed! It is very easy for someone to tell you what you want to hear but if the promises aren’t followed through it will count for nothing.
  • Lobbying can mean dealing with people you don’t naturally see eye-to-eye with, but it’s worth it if it achieves your aims.
  • Avoid getting angry. Losing your temper will lessen your chances of success.
  • It might take several meetings to find a successful path.

For more help and advice contact:
The National Organising Department on organising@pcs.org.uk or on 020 7801 2691

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