Seeking Support

COVID-19 UPDATE: Following government guidance the office is closed to visitors. We are still helping constituents by email and telephone. We will also be continuing to offer advice surgeries by telephone or ‘Zoom’ video conferencing.

Our team of experienced caseworkers are here to help you. You can get support by phoning, emailing, sending a letter or attending an advice surgery with me or a casework in my team.

Our approach

We support constituents on matters we can practically assist, and when it’s appropriate for an MP to be involved. Where we are able to assist we do so without fear or favour.

We will ensure you are treated fairly, and by the rules set out for the issue you are seeking support for.


What is casework and how do we deal with it?

Casework covers a range of issues or complaints we may take up on your behalf.

We know the issues you need help with might be sensitive or causing you distress. My support staff aim to deal with you in a fair and understanding way. After reviewing your case we may ask that you come in to the Oldham office, or to an advice session in your local area to take the case further.

Like all MP’s my time is usually spent in parliament and on meetings, visits and engagements in the constituency.

As such the vast majority of individual casework is supported by my team in Oldham. I do offer regular advice surgeries in Oldham, but we strongly encourage constituents to speak to a caseworker in the first instance, it is often much quicker and means we can help to resolve your issue straight away.


How do we prioritise casework?

Urgent casework (Dealt with as soon as practically possible). We define ‘Urgent casework’ as time critical. An example of this would include impending homelessness cases.

Standard casework (up to 10 working days). We define ‘Standard casework’ as important casework that isn’t time sensitive. An example of this could be a longstanding housing complaint.

An example of casework and parliamentary activity this year

We support 8,000 individual casework requests each year on a wide range of issues ranging from local services to huge national and international issues.


Who can we help?
We only accept casework from verified constituents living in Oldham West & Royton. If you send emails or letters and do not provide a confirmation address initially or when asked, or it you do not live in the constituency you would usually not receive a response.

If you have been asked to provide confirmation that you are a constituent, in the form of a full name and address and have failed to do so, you will not receive a further reply. This is to allow us to concentrate resources on assisting constituents and not administering incoming emails from other constituencies.

My office will deal with cases from all residents in the constituency regardless of how you voted, if you didn’t vote at all and even if you are not on the electoral register.

If you or the person you are acting on behalf of does not reside in another constituency, for instance if they are of no fixed abode but with clear links to the constituency (as the last formal address or parents still living in the area) or if the person is currently in prison but lived in the constituency immediately before being sentenced we aim to apply common sense.


What issues can we deal with?
We can help with a wide range of issues which are the responsibility of central government including dealing with the following Government departments on your behalf;

  • DWP (Department for Work and Pensions)
  • HMRC (Her Majesties Revenue and Customs)
  • Home Office
  • Foreign Office
  • Department of Health and Social Care
  • Department for Education

You can view a full list of Government departments, agencies and organisations here.


What issues can’t we usually deal with?
You should always raise your issue with the most appropriate representative. If you have a problem which isn’t the responsibility of central government, such as your local council you should contact the local councillor elected to that body.

There are some things my office cannot do, these include;

  • Give legal advice or interfere with ongoing legal proceedings
  • Offer consumer or contract advice
  • Offer debt advice or advice on financial services
  • Become involved in disputes with other individuals

We will not assist in securing an unfair advantage, nor will we support unreasonable requests.


Campaigns and lobbying requests
MP’s are often lobbied to support campaigns or contribute to surveys and events. We aim to respond to these within 10 days if you live in the Oldham West & Royton constituency. If you do not live in the constituency you are unlikely to receive a reply.

Campaign and lobbying requests include requests to;

  • contribute to a debate in Parliament (including committee debates) giving at least a weeks notice
  • sign petitions*
  • sign an EDM (Early Day Motion)*
  • become a member of a APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group)
  • attend an event or reception
  • meet a delegation in parliament
  • take part in a relevant survey

*Please note that currently I am a member of the Frontbench and as such restricted in signing EDMs and petitions.

I do not usually agree to general requests to support campaigns or causes unless there is a direct link to my constituency or my area of expertise. This is because I like to fully research and understand the issue before committing, and to do this properly can be time consuming. When I do commit to support a campaign you are assured of a meaningful commitment from me.

Outside of general requests I have areas of interests where I invest time to support campaigning. These currently include;

  • Economic development, transport, skills and job creation in Oldham and Greater Manchester
  • Devolution of power and resources away from Whitehall to local communities
  • Local government finance and fair funding
  • Support for Co-operatives and Mutuals
  • Fair pay and workers’ rights

Freedom of Information requests (FOI)
Members of Parliament are not organisations and therefore not covered by the Freedom of Information Act.

Data Protection Act Subject Data Access
Members of Parliament are Data Managers under the Data Protection Act and you have a right to access information we hold about you. Where some Data Managers may charge we will not levy a fee.


Tips to help us help you quicker

  • If you seeking public information or are seeking to access government services for the first time (such as advice on applying for a passport or visa) you can find a lot of information on www.gov.uk
  • Only send the email once in the first instance. You should receive an automated response on the same day. If you have not received a personal response within 10 workings days please resend your email or a copy of your letter.
  • We deal with all casework in the order it arrives regardless of how it arrives. We accept letters, direct emails and emails from third party sites such as Writetothem.com
  • Make sure you have provided your full home address, we cannot progress your case without it.
  • If you are acting on behalf of someone else, we need their permission to discuss the case with you. If you already have this in writing please provide it.
  • If you are seeking interventions in parliamentary debates please give as much notice as possible.
  • Don’t be tempted to send a campaign or lobbying template letter. If you care enough about the issue to write in then please tell us how it affects you personally. In return you’ll get a personalised response.
  • If you do use template letters we will usually have a template reply we will send back to you. This is to help administer the large volume of correspondence and allows more time to be spent on casework or correspondence requiring a personalised reply.
  • We do not accept casework through social media. This is to protect your privacy and to ensure we keep proper records of all communication.
  • Please don’t be rude or abusive. Treat me and my office as you would expect to be treated yourself.