Working for an MP in the House of Commons can be a very rewarding career opportunity. Staff can work in a paid capacity, as an intern, or as a volunteer.
Types of role
Roles available include working as paid staff, as an intern, or as a volunteer.
All paid staff are employed on agreed pay scales, linked to job descriptions and standard contracts prepared by the Department of Finance and Administration.
Practice varies widely amongst MPs on how many staff are part or full-time and whether they are based in the constituency or at Westminster.
Constituency and parliamentary offices
There are no rules on how MPs divide their office functions between Westminster and their constituency. However, you will often find caseworkers and staffers responsible for local events or local media in the constituency offices.
In the parliamentary office you are more likely to find staff directly involved in assisting the MP with parliamentary work.
Salary and benefits
The staffing allowance for each MP for 2006-07 is £87,276 - this is intended to be enough for three full-time staffers. Individual salaries are at the MP's discretion, but a typical salary would be in the range of £16-25,000.
Paid staff are entitled to a 10% non-contributory pension. Staff employed by MPs also have access to the same parliamentary facilities as staff employed by Parliament. MPs employ staff directly but the House Authorities under the Staffing Costs Allowance pay them centrally.
Many graduates become interns for an MP, Lord or a political organisation (who recruit and employ them directly). Internships are usually unpaid, though many receive expenses. This is a popular route to gain experience for future careers.
The Speaker's Parliamentary Placement Scheme also offers ten paid internships to individuals from diverse backgrounds.