Alex McQuarrie – May 2017:
Another busy month has passed in the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office. This month has seen a considerable number of tourists both from England and further abroad visiting the Tynwald Chambers, and it has been interesting to reflect on the comparisons between Tynwald and the parliaments of other jurisdictions. My discussions with these visitors have really thrown to light just how unique Tynwald is for having a tri-cameral parliamentary system. Another gentleman commented that it was pleasing that we are so proud of our history and traditions, which is something that I am confident we can all agree on!
Aside from these visitors, schools tours have continued to take place. On Wednesday 24th May, the MHKs for Ayre and Michael, Mr Cannan and Mr Baker welcomed students from two schools in their constituency, Andreas and Sulby. The schools enjoyed a day trip that included a visit of the Tynwald Chambers with a scripted sitting, combined with a visit to the Gaiety Theatre.
In the wake of the numerous tours that have taken place in 2017, I have been contacting schools with the request for feedback on the tours. As part of the parliamentary outreach programme, we want to ask schools their options to ensure that students get the very best out of their visit. I will be using the feedback to see what improvements can be made to our school tours in the future.
Preparing the exhibition for the anniversary of the Customary Laws in 1417 has been an enjoyable feature of my workload this month. I have been creating biographies for important historical figures in the anniversary, most notably Sir John Stanley II, who was the inspiration behind the introduction of the Customary Laws. Stanley II inherited the lordship of Man from his late father in 1414, and he successfully sought to curb the power of the Church against the state when he visited the Island in 1417 and 1422. The exhibition will be on display in the Tynwald Library from July 6th.
On Monday 8th May, the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee heard oral evidence from the Department of Health and Social Care, asking questions on a range of topics including the Programme for Government, the five-year health strategy, and complaints procedures, amongst other important issues. To listen to the oral evidence session with the DHSC, please click the link here.
This month, I spent a day with the Hansard team to learn about their duties and roles. I sat with a Hansard officer in the House of Keys sitting on Tuesday 9th May. This gave me the opportunity to see how Hansard records the sitting, and then how the team work together to turn the audio into a complete transcript that appears on the Tynwald website here. The Tynwald Hansard team also works for other parliaments where the transcription service is used by the parliaments of Jersey and Guernsey to create their Hansards.
Since 2016, members of the Tynwald Hansard team have worked with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to introduce other parliaments to best practices using modern technology for recording and transcribing their sittings. As a small parliament we have to ensure that we can deliver all the requiredparliamentaryy services in a quick and costefficientt way. The experience with the Sierra Leone parliament was covered in a media release available here.