One of the top tasks for people using Parliament's website is finding out who their MP is. A recent report by the Hansard Society found that only 22% of people questioned could correctly name their MP, so a simple service to help give people a way to find out about their member of Parliament is useful and necessary.
Since 2008, Parliament has offered a Find Your MP service at findyourmp.parliament.uk which was created and maintained by members of the Parliamentary ICT team in Westminster. This service asked people to put in their postcode, constituency, an MP's name or fragments of these details in order to find the correct MP who represents them.
There were several issues with the old system: it was complicated to upload new postcodes to keep the service up to date; 85% of people dropped off from the constituency pages within the Find Your MP application rather than clicking through to their MP's biography page where their full details are stored; and the service also duplicated some of the ways that people could also discover who their MP was by using filters on our Parliament's MPs page.
So working with our colleagues in Parliamentary ICT and the House of Commons Information Office, the Web & Intranet Service set out to update and streamline our Find your MP offering by updating the MPs page to incorporate all this functionality on one page.
We added free postcode data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to our Members Names platform which already stores all other details about MPs and is regularly updated by the House of Commons Information Office. A process has been put in place so that Parliament can easily upload the latest postcodes each quarter when the ONS makes these available.
We also redesigned the MPs page to let people find their MP using their postcode, constituency or MP's name as well as providing filters by party, location and gender all from a new component placed at the top of the page.
Around 40% of the pageviews for Find Your MP come from search engines such as Google and Bing so we updated the labelling on the MPs page to be in line with what people are searching for as well as looking at updating other pages across parliament.uk which aim to help people find contact details for their MP.
We will continue to make small tweaks to this service based on how people are using Find Your MP and will soon be removing the old service at findyourmp.parliament.uk before redirecting all users to the new service.
Please try out the new Find Your MP now and let us know what you think.