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Hello everyone,

This is the source code that powers the website. It's mainly written in PHP, although there are also some Perl scripts for database loading and indexing. The backend parser code is separate and available on GitHub. You can read more about this on TheyWorkForYou's parser info page

The TheyWorkForYou source code in this distribution is released under a BSD style license. Roughly, this means you are free to copy, use, modify and redistribute the code or binaries made from the code. Commercial or non- commercial use is allowed. However, we disclaim warranty, and expect you not to use our name without our permission. See the file for exact legal information.

What is TheyWorkForYou anyway?

Everything MPs say in the UK's House of Commons is recorded in a document called Hansard; TheyWorkForYou helps make sense of this vital democratic resource. It also includes things from the House of Lords, the Scottish Parliament, and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

How on earth do I use this code?

See for installation questions.

If you have questions, the best place to ask is the mySociety TheyWorkForYou email list at!forum/theyworkforyou

Developing with Docker

You will need a recent version of Docker.

Running docker compose up [ -d ] will start the environment. The first time you run this it may take a few minutes as various images are downloaded and the application image built locally.

Once it's done, you should be able to view the front page at http://localhost:8000. However the default build contains no data, so take a look at for information about downloading and importing Parlparse data (members, debates, votes, etc).

You can stop the environment by running docker compose down. Adding a -v will remove any Docker volumes that may be in use, including all their data. has some more detailed notes on the development environment, together with some useful commands and more detailed Docker-specific setup notes.

To use xdebug in VS Code while using WSL, you'll need to set an environmental variable of the WSL_IP within the subsystem of the IP address of the subsystem.

Developing with codespaces

Start a new codespace on Github by selecting the Code dropdown (top right), and starting a new codespace (or use the GitHub CLI).

This will setup the Docker container and environment. Once finished, the link to the site should be avaliable in the ports tab of the terminal panel.

DEPRECATED: Developing with Vagrant

Please note that we are not currently supporting the Vagrant environment, and may remove it altogether. Please use the Docker environment instead.

You will need the latest versions of VirtualBox and Vagrant, then:

  • Run vagrant up.
  • Go make a cup of tea. It may take a while whilst Vagrant and Puppet do their thing.
  • Point your web browser at and marvel at modern technology.

See for instructions on downloading and importing Parlparse data (members, debates, votes, etc).

Compiling Static Assets

If you're working on a page which uses the redesign, you will need to compile static assets after changes:

  • vagrant ssh
  • cd /vagrant/theyworkforyou/www/docs/style
  • bundle exec compass compile for a one-off compilation or bundle exec compass watch to recompile on changes


TheyWorkForYou includes a test suite, using PHPunit. To run tests, ensure that the environment variables TWFY_TEST_DB_HOST, TWFY_TEST_DB_NAME, TWFY_TEST_DB_USER and TWFY_TEST_DB_PASS are set and contain relevant information for your testing database. The database will be stripped down and rebuilt during testing, so make sure it's not an important copy.

You may find that in some versions of PHPUnit errors are thrown regarding code coverage reports. If this is the case, the version installed by Composer and located at /vendor/bin/phpunit should run correctly.

Build Status

Code Coverage

Scrutinizer Quality Score

mySociety Installability


Thanks to Browserstack who let us use their web-based cross-browser testing tools for this project.