In our experience, this is a problem that occurs regularly in Parliamentary offices and can occur for many reasons. Staff absences, illnesses and general staff turnover are the usual causes for short term backlogs, as well as an increase in casework relating to specific issues. However, some offices may feel like they are permanently dealing with a backlog of casework, and that never ending pressure can be overwhelming for a team and negatively impact on morale within the office.
Those of us who have worked in Parliamentary offices for some time, have seen how much casework has increased over the years; not just in the quantity received, but in the complexity of its nature. Constituents have also come to demand faster responses from their MP, and rather than contacting them as a last resort now tend to approach them first, with many issues which were once felt to be outside an MP’s remit.
Members also take on a lot of outreach work to ensure they are accessible across their constituencies to those who may need support, and this can also increase the casework within an office.
In our experience, working with hundreds of Parliamentary offices over the years, there are two quick solutions which can help you tackle your casework backlogs:
Hive Support can assist with finding and placing short term staff to help you tackle increases in work, or to cover staff illness or absence. Whether you need a few extra hours a week, or an extra pair of hands for a couple of months, we can help.
We place staff with a range of experience – including those who have 10+ years’ experience of working in Parliament and can parachute into an office, quickly get to grips with the systems in place, and provide your team with the support they need to crack through casework backlogs.
We sometimes find that offices struggling to get through casework don’t necessarily have good systems in place that allow them to efficiently triage and respond to constituency correspondence. Sometimes these have never been set up properly, or other times it is because staff haven’t been properly trained to use the tools available to them (Caseworker.MP, Sharepoint, Teams etc) and don’t fully understand how useful they can be in increasing efficiency.
We provide bespoke training to offices to review their systems and processes and help create new more efficient ways of working. By working with individual offices (remotely, to include both constituency and Westminster staff if needed) we can tailor advice to suit your needs and ensure your team are part of the solution and ready to continue these processes.
Whilst we do offer Caseworker training to new starters to help familiarise them with the system and optimum ways of processing casework, in our experience a whole-team approach to training can be very worthwhile.
If your office is experiencing difficulties in managing casework and would like a review to see how we can help, please do email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Sam Mackewn on 07779 118336.