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May 24th, 2012

Privacy petition hand-ins: A how-to guide

By Conor

The government is pushing ahead with its plans to invade our privacy online. New rules could completely change the way government collects and stores information about which websites we visit, and who we text and email. Tens of thousands of us have signed the petition to protect our privacy online. Now we need to start organising visits so we can tell our local MPs face-to-face how important our right to privacy is, and hand in the petition which so many of us have signed.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide explaining how to do it:

 1. Sign up with 38 Degrees to organise a visit to your MP

It’s important to let staff and volunteers in the 38 Degrees office know that you are organising a visit, so we can be in touch with updates. Take 30 seconds now to fill in this quick form.

38 Degrees is a non-party political organisation, so if you represent a political party (for example, if you’re a local councillor, or hold a position within a local party group), please don’t sign up to host an event.

2. Arrange the MP visit (a few weeks in advance if possible)

Use the 38 Degrees phone your MP tool to find the name and number of your MP. Then book an appointment, and politely notify your MP’s office that you intend to hand in a petition. There’s more advice on arranging a meeting with an MP here.

3. Pick a good meeting spot nearby

Once you know where and when you are meeting your MP, you need to find a location nearby where you can meet up with other 38 Degrees members beforehand. A pub, a cafe, or community centre would be ideal. Make it somewhere easy to find, and not too busy. If nowhere instantly springs to mind, try searching on the Internet – for example, using a site like Beer in the Evening or the Yellow Pages.

4. Tell other 38 Degrees members (ideally at least two weeks before the visit)

Now you need to tell other 38 Degrees members about your visit to your MP – so you’re not alone when you go. It’s quick and easy to do that. Just:

Go to the 38 Degrees events page, enter your postcode, select “Privacy petition: Visit an MP” then enter in your details.

If you do this the Monday at least 4 days before your visit the 38 Degrees office will be able to email other 38 Degrees members near you and invite them to come with you.

Once you’ve added your event to our site, we’ll be in touch with some extra advice and some materials you might find useful.

5. Confirm the details (a few days before)

It might be worth calling your MP’s office again (using the 38 Degrees tool to find the name and number) to confirm that you’re coming, to let them know the media might be there, and to confirm that you want to hand in the petition.

24 hours before the event the 38 Degrees office will automatically email a reminder to everyone who has said they’ll come with you

7. On the day

Meet up with the other 38 Degrees members at your agreed spot.

Encourage everyone to introduce themselves and have a quick chat through what is going to happen. Make sure that people understand that they can be as involved as they are comfortable with – some people will want to talk to their MP, others might just want to be in the photo as the petition is handed in, or to show moral support.

Get to wherever you are meeting your MP ten minutes or so before the time you arranged, leaving plenty of time to liaise with the MP’s staff and say hello to the media.

Talk to your MP and remember to take photographs!

8. After the event

It’d be really helpful if you could share how it went. Post an update on the 38 Degrees blog or Facebook page. Send photos to emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk

Phone or email journalists. If they covered the event, thank them. If they didn’t, ask politely if there is anything that might persuade them to do so next time.

If you have more questions about visiting your MP, why not visit our Frequently Asked Questions section?

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