Samantha Kenny - May 2018
My internship will be over soon, and we are advertising for the new (and hopefully improved) me! If you or anyone else you know might be interested, do give the advert a read. As an indication of some of what the next intern might expect…
Much of my time over the last little while has been spent with Committees. I’m assistant clerk to three Committees which variously require agendas, minutes, briefings, research, oral evidence sessions and reports. We have a Committee working group meeting every other week where we share best practise, discuss issues we have come across, and assign clerks to new Committees – this last often makes the meetings after a Tynwald sitting quite interesting - one recent sitting designated three new Committees!
I really enjoy the Committee work; it’s varied and endlessly interesting. Part of my job is to compile the agenda. Agendas might typically include a research or briefing paper, a draft report, correspondence, submitted evidence from individuals or Government Departments, and any number of other information. The Committee meets to consider the agenda items (and anything else in their field of reference). From that, the Clerks take action points forward – whether that’s contacting someone with a question, inviting witnesses to a public evidence session, doing some research, or drafting a report. You can see there are very many and varied parts to the job!
A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be sent with the third Clerk to a meeting of the Committee Secretariat Network in Guernsey. This is a network of Clerks and representatives came from different jurisdictions across the British Isles including Westminster and of course, Tynwald. We exchanged experience and practise for different parts of Committee work. A fantastic development, learning and networking opportunity, and I got to go to Guernsey!
The research part of the role has been rewarding too. Producing a clear and reliable research paper on something you may know absolutely nothing about is a real (and transferable) skill. The Chamber and Information Service provides this service to Members and Committees - sometimes this is searching our databases for any reference to a specific issue before a Member asks a question, but sometimes it is much more complicated. For example, I recently compiled a summary sheet of different financing models for infrastructure! For members of the public, the Library can help with various different types of queries – more information here.
Requests for tours are coming in thick and fast for the summer now – and we’re working as a team to show as many people round as possible. Today this included a scripted sitting where a very lovely year 6 group tabled an amendment to Item 2, ‘Homework should be abolished’. We run public tours on a Monday and a Friday, but if you are unable to make these times just get in touch and we will try and accommodate you.
· On arrival at work, ‘Good morning Sam, would you be able to take the Kenyan delegates to tea with the Lieutenant Governor?’ (Always keep a blazer around!)
· ‘That was amazing! I want to be an MHK!’ – Visitor to Tynwald, aged 10
· Hand-drawn thank you notes arriving from a group of scouts I’d shown round
· Seeing the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee’s report on nursery place provision (which I helped draft) laid before Tynwald.
· Finally being able to direct someone to Registries
· Watching the LegCo votes come in as MHKs elected 5 women for the first time.
This job is what you make of it and no day is the same. If you have any interest in politics/parliament, it will be constantly interesting, challenging, and occasionally very entertaining. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.