My social media and email policy
I very much welcome hearing from all my constituents and nothing would please me more than having the time to be able to respond to each and every communication personally and swiftly - unfortunately this is not possible.
In this policy I set out my approach to communications via social media and email.
My approach to social media is designed to ensure that every constituent of the constituency of Penistone and Stocksbridge feels comfortable interacting with me on matters that pertain to me as their Member of Parliament. To that end I ask that contributors are polite and respectful of others, and that comments are relevant to the content of the post.
In a democratic society it will quite rightly be the case that there are legitimate differences of view on matters of policy, but I believe that abusive and overly aggressive comments intimidate others from posting, so in fact serve to undermine democracy.
I was elected on a Conservative manifesto, and whilst there will be those who disagree with my position vehemently it is quite unacceptable that my views, and voting record are misrepresented in favour of promoting a different political agenda, or a different political party.
I use my social media platforms in a respectful way to express my position, and the policy of our elected Government, and to communicate with constituents to inform them about Government actions, what my Party is proposing and what I am doing to represent my constituents.
I also use social media to celebrate communities across the seat of Penistone and Stocksbridge, and to keep constituents up-to-date with my activities within the constituency.
Comments and interactions
Whilst all comments to my social media accounts are read by me or a member of my team, I do not interact with comments, asking instead that the constituent contacts me directly. This is in large part because I do not feel that public platforms are the right place to raise casework issues or matters that need an in-depth response or analysis.
- My social media accounts exist to help me serve the residents of my constituency and it may be the case that comments made by people from outside my constituency will be removed.
- Any comments that I or my team feel are abusive, or disingenuous, either towards me, my team or others will be removed. Where an individual persistently posts abusive, or misleading, content then that user may be blocked from posting for a period of time.
- Whilst I welcome democratic debate as will be seen through my interactions in Parliament, my social media accounts are not in place to provide a platform for the promotion of people or organisations whose political views are incompatible with my own, or my party’s. Comments that are clearly designed to use my social media platforms to promote a personal agenda, or another party’s policies or candidates may be removed.
- Where an individual persistently posts comments across one, or multiple posts, and where those comments repeat the same information, those comments may be removed.
- My posts will almost always be on a single topic and will have a single purpose. To make constituents aware of a new Government grant, to tell constituents about a local business, to congratulate a group or a person. Comments that have no relevance to the post may be removed.
On a typical day I will receive several hundred emails, on some days I have received in excess of 500 emails.
Every email received by my office is read, considered and then registered for response. The emails I receive can broadly be categorised into four types; casework, policy questions, campaigns, parliamentary and constituency matters.
Casework consists of a wide range of subject matter, which can include extremely urgent cases – evictions, criminal actions, immigration concerns, threats of violence, anti-social behaviour.
Casework is almost always treated as a priority and in a typical day I will receive 50 or more such emails, but sometimes many more. Each case can take as little as 15 minutes to action, but in the most challenging cases, can take many hours and span many months.
Policy emails largely consist of individuals promoting a policy that they want the Government to pursue, or of individuals and organisations expressing their views around a policy area. These emails can consist of a single sentence advising me of their dislike of a particular Minister, they can consist of a reasoned and personal consideration of why a policy might need review, or can consist of 10 or more pages of challenging opinion on a range of issues.
In a typical day, I will receive around 100 such emails, and on occasion several hundred. There are a number of constituents who routinely send me policy emails, sometimes I will receive 3 or more from the same person in a week. Responses to policy emails take a lower priority than casework, and when a number of very similar policy emails are received these may be responded to by a templated response. However, that template will always be written by me, or written by a member of my team and then reviewed by me.
Campaign emails consist of more than one person writing on the same subject to ask that a particular position, or policy is supported. For example, an organisation wants the Government to do more to support local pubs, or wants the Government to stop E-Scooter trials.
I typically receive around 100 of these emails a day, and on occasion have received several hundred in a day. Responses to campaign emails take a lower priority than casework, and as most campaigns consist of multiple identical, or broadly similar, emails, these will often be responded to with a templated response. As with policy emails, every template will either be written by me, or written by a member of my team and then reviewed by me.
Parliamentary and constituency matters
My parliamentary office will receive emails that deal with my day-to-day parliamentary work. This might include information about a particular bill, responses from Ministers to queries I have raised, requests for meetings, information from charities, policy groups and APPGs and a wide range of other communications that my staff and I attend to throughout the day.
I typically receive around 100 of this type of correspondence a day and each would be assigned a priority depending on its nature.
This policy may change in response to any change in my approach, or any change in the nature of the correspondence I receive, or the social media platforms I interact on.
Last updated - October 1 2020