Surgery Telephone
 
01491 613072
  
I have found that the most efficient way to respond to the majority of concerns raise by constituents is to use email and phone. If you would like to contact me on a local issue or with a problem that you think I may be able to help with please either

Email: howelljm@parliamnet.uk

Phone my Constituency Office: 01491 613072

Write to my Constituency Office:

PO Box 84 Watlington
Oxfordshire, OX49 5XD

We will always try to find the quickest and most effective way to help. When you phone my office we will spend a little while with you to try to understand your concern or problem and to make sure that I am the best person to help you. When I am not, we will direct you to your local parish, district or county councillor or the appropriate organisation to help.

Many people think that MPs can solve all problems and have wide powers. Strictly speaking, MPs are there to help with matters for which Parliament or central Government is responsible. For other matters, such as local planning, highways, the day-to-day running of schools, refuse collection, and, housing repairs the appropriate first step is likely to be to contact your parish, district or county councillor.

The District Council is responsible for local services, including planning, housing and associated benefits, rubbish collection. environmental services, leisure services, some car parks and council tax collection.

The County Council is responsible for local services, including education, social services, transport, roads (except trunk roads and motorways), public rights of way, libraries, the fire service, culture, trading standards, bus subsidies, minerals, waste and recycling (disposal) and the environment.

What I cannot deal with includes individual planning applications, private disputes with neighbours, disputes between employee and employer, contractual issues and disputes with retailers. I cannot intervene in legal issues and have no powers to reverse or interfere with decisions of local councils or the courts.

What I can help with includes concerns relating to the NHS, HM Revenue and Customs, the Department of Work and Pensions and other Government departments.

Your Contact Details. When contacting me please provide your full address (including postcode) and a contact number. There is a strict parliamentary protocol that MPs are only able to take up issues on behalf of their own constituents

Details about your problem or concern. If you are asking me to take up a case for you in relation to another organisation, such as a Government department, Jobcentre Plus or the Child Support Agency, please make sure that you provide me with details of any reference number or contact with whom you have been dealing. Please also supply me with copies of any relevant papers.

Contacting third parties. In some cases, and especially where information is regarded as particularly sensitive such as where it relates to medical or financial issues, we may ask you for written permission which allows us to talk to third parties about your case and for them to talk to us. In all but the simplest of cases and particularly where I am asked to refer constituents to organisations such as Legal Aid I will need to satisfy myself that I have the fullest and most accurate picture of your case before taking it forward. This may require asking you additional questions before taking your case up.

Local office In a constituency as large as this there is little to be gained from spending public money on a permanent bricks-and-mortar office which, wherever located, would be inconvenient for much of the constituency. The Conservative Party office in Watlington is not, therefore, my local office in the constituency. My constituency office operates on a virtual basis with access via phone, e mail and post but not in person. If you have an issue which requires a face-to-face meeting we will make appropriate arrangements.
 
 
 

Case Studies

I have summarised below examples of real constituency cases with which I have been asked to help. Personal and identifying details have been removed to protect the privacy of those involved.

Student Finance

A mature student found her student loan tuition fees unpaid after administrative errors had been made. We got the matter resolved so that studies could continue. The constituent said: 'Thank you so much for this, you've managed to sort this in under a week when I've been trying for over 6 months.'

Visa Problems

A constituent requested us to intervene with the UK Borders Agency after the Agency had taken over a year to deal with his case. By working with the Agency and the constituent on the detail of the case we were able to resolve it successfully.

Child Support Agency

After years of trying to resolve his case with the Child Support Agency we were able to cut through the clerical errors and complexity of the case so that correct payments could be made. The case could only be resolved by patient determination over a number of months.

Planning enforcement

Although planning is outside our normal remit, we were able successfully to challenge on behalf of constituents a local district council as to whether it was following due process in relation to a persistent breach of planning which was causing a significant nuisance.

Sewage and water

On behalf of local parish councils we have been able to work with Thames Water to focus on problems of sewage and drainage across a wide area to ensure progress in resolving issues underlying raw sewage washing down a village street.

HMRC

HMRC was about to take action against a local small business, despite having got its tax affairs in order, which would have made it difficult for it to operate. Successful intervention persuaded HMRC that the action they wanted to take was inappropriate.

Air Traffic

In response to complaints about increased aircraft noise, we were able to clarify with the air authorities how aircraft movements are mananged and the reasons why Henley and surrounding villages experience variations in aircraft noise.

Pensioner overpayment

We helped a pensioner negotiate an apparent over-payment of Pension Credit and the details for repayment.

Utilities

We assisted a constituent gain proper compensation from a utilities company following an accident.

Housing

We took up the case of housing for a former member of the armed forces.

Cancer drugs

We took up the case of a constituent needing a particular cancer drug. In an e mail to my constituency case-worker, the constituent said: "I do know from my latest oncology consultation that the positive effect of the interchange of letters between you, Mr Howell and the PCT has stirred up the PCT in a manner I am told has helped.....So a big thank you for your and Mr Howell's assistance, patience and understanding. I am most grateful."

Driving licence

We helped get a driving licence returned from the DVLA following a medical condition.