The Hansard manager for the Parliament of Victoria, James Scott, has hailed Tynwald’s Hansard operation for its proactive approach and business focus.
Mr Scott, together with editor of debates Ms Foong Ling Kong, were on a two-day study visit to Tynwald arranged by Head of Hansard Ellen Callister.
Mr Scott said: ‘Ellen and her team are doing a great job in managing the peaks and troughs in demand all of us in Hansard face for our services. As a small team they are very agile, proactive and remarkably business focused, providing their services to other jurisdictions. Parliaments, by their very nature, tend to be risk averse, so it’s been very refreshing to see how Tynwald Hansard and research services are thinking outside the box embracing change with such positive outcomes and providing tremendous support to Members and the clerks.’
‘More generally we’ve been struck by the passion everyone we met has for their roles; in every briefing we attended there was a genuine enthusiasm that came over very strongly. Across the Commonwealth all of us in Hansard are performing largely the same functions, but it’s always interesting to see how others approach the work.’
Along with the Hansard operation, Mr Scott and Ms Kong were keen to learn about Tynwald’s outreach activities. Mr Scott said: ‘We’ve been impressed by how effectively Tynwald engages with the community. Tynwald Day is a magnificent example, of course, but also initiatives such as Junior Tynwald and Chamber tours and the ease of access the public has to Members. It’s all too easy to cling to the old ways, but Tynwald has its eye on the future, is very much in tune with changing attitudes and “getting out there” using Facebook and Twitter, for example, to great effect.
‘It’s also been interesting to learn of the broad range of Members’ backgrounds and skill sets and the diversity of the Legislative Council, all of which create a valuable dynamic tension and bring a real relevance to the institution of parliament.
‘In short I would say that Tynwald may be a small parliament, but it is using its size to considerable advantage.’
Head of Hansard Ellen Callister said: ‘It is always a pleasure to welcome guests to Tynwald and share our ideas and working methods. We are proud of how much we achieve as a small staff but we remain open to learning about new systems which will bring further efficiencies to our work. Our discussions with James and Foong Ling have been especially interesting, particularly the focus they have on the use of technology in their own parliament, and I look forward to continuing our dialogue with them in our efforts to improve our services into the future.’