House of Commons enquiries and requests for information following dissolution

05 May 2017

Following the dissolution of Parliament on 3 May 2017 there will be some changes to the way we respond to enquiries and requests for information until after the General Election on Thursday 8 June 2017.

What is dissolution?

Dissolution is the official term for the end of a Parliament. Dissolution took place on 3 May 2017 ahead of the General Election on 8 June.

Because Parliament has been dissolved, it ceases to exist and this has an impact on how we can provide information to the public.

Can I make enquiries about the House of Commons following dissolution?

The House of Commons Enquiry Service will continue to answer questions about the work, history and membership of the Commons following dissolution. We cannot respond to hypothetical questions, provide information about party policies or election manifestos.

A vast amount of information is published on our web pages, and we are keen to let the public know what is going on, what we are doing and how to get involved.

You can contact the House of Commons Enquiry Service by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling 0207 219 4272. The enquiries line is open from 10am-midday and from 2pm-4pm Monday-Friday. You can also write to the House of Commons Enquiry Service, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

Following dissolution the work of the House of Commons stops and there are no MPs, but you can still find information about Bills, debates and the work of select committees undertaken in previous Parliaments – including the most recent parliamentary session – on our website.

You can also follow the House of Commons on social media on Twitter and Facebook for updates regarding the 2017 General Election timetable – including wash-up, registering to vote, polling day and what happens following the results.

We are still running tours of Parliament, as well as school visits and outreach events. If you have any questions about this, please contact [email protected]

Can journalists make media enquiries?

Following dissolution the House of Commons Media Relations Team will still provide comment or background on questions relating to the House service.

You can contact the media team by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling 0207 219 0969. The enquiries line is open from 9am-6pm Monday-Friday, with a 24/7 out-of-hours service for urgent media enquiries.

Any press notices or press releases will be posted on the House of Commons News Hub, and on the @HOCPress Twitter account.

Can I request information under the Freedom of Information Act?

Requests for recorded information held by the House of Commons come under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which gives the right of access to information held by public authorities.  Under the FOIA, the House of Commons has a maximum of 20 working days to respond to these requests.

Because Parliament ceases to exist at dissolution, the FOIA does not apply and requests for recorded information are temporarily suspended.

All requests are still acknowledged, but the 20-day deadline is calculated not to include the time between dissolution and the new Parliament convening. Requesters are advised that they may expect their response after the House returns. Parliament is expected to reconvene on Tuesday 13 June after the General Election. If we have information available which has already been published, we will direct you to that information.

The Information Commissioner’s office agreed this position in a Decision Notice regarding dissolution, which is available on the ICO website.

The House of Commons Information Rights and Information Security (IRIS) Service can be contacted by sending an email to [email protected], by calling 0207 219 2559, or by writing to The Information Rights and Information Security Service, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA. You can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office by sending an email to [email protected], calling 0303 123 1113, or writing to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

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