12. THE CLERK OF TYNWALD'S OFFICE

 

The Clerk of Tynwald’s Office provides administrative and maintenance services to Tynwald Court and the Branches. Details of the work of each team including the particular services available to Members and, where applicable, staff of the Isle of Man Government and the general public are set out below.

a. The Clerks

There are three full-time Clerks and one part-time Committee Clerk. In addition to their work with Tynwald Court and the Branches, set out in the respective chapters of this Companion, each has specific responsibilities in the Office of the Clerk of Tynwald. This information, along with a short biography of the current post holder is set out below.

i. Clerk of Tynwald, Secretary of the House of Keys and Counsel to the Speaker

The post of Clerk of Tynwald is held concurrently with those of Secretary of the House of Keys and Counsel to the Speaker, and both offices are held ‘during pleasure’. [1] As Clerk he assists the President in organising the business of Tynwald. As Secretary of the House he assists the Speaker in organising the business of the Keys. The particular duties undertaken in the House of Keys and Tynwald are described in the respective chapters of this Companion.

The post holder is also the head of the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office and is responsible for the facilities, secretariat, and staffing of the Office of the Clerk of Tynwald and Legislative Precincts. He reports to and is responsible for ensuring that the decisions of the Management Committee of Tynwald [2] are implemented. He is Accounting Officer for Tynwald and its Branches.

The present Clerk of Tynwald and Secretary of the House of Keys is Mr Roger Phillips LLB, barrister, who was appointed in 2008.

ii. Deputy Clerk and Clerk of the Legislative Council

The positions of Deputy Clerk of Tynwald and Clerk of the Legislative Council are held concurrently, the former being held ‘during pleasure’; [3] the post holder is also Deputy Secretary of the House of Keys. As Clerk of the Council he assists the President in organising the business of the Legislative Council. In the other two Chambers he deputises for the Clerk of Tynwald and Secretary of the House of Keys. The particular duties undertaken in each Chamber are detailed in the respective chapters of this Companion.

The post holder also assists and deputises for the Clerk of Tynwald in his management role.

The present Deputy Clerk of Tynwald and Clerk of the Legislative Council is Dr Jonathan King MA, DPhil, LRSM who was appointed in 2007.

iii. Third Clerk

The position of Third Clerk replaces that of the former Clerk Administrator of Tynwald. The post-holder is involved in the administration of the Secretariat, being clerk to various committees, finance officer, personnel officer and substituting as required for the Clerk of Tynwald or the Deputy Clerk of Tynwald.

The present Third Clerk is Mrs Marie Lambden ACIS who was appointed in 2008.

iv. Committee Clerk

The Committee Clerk position is currently a part time role. The post-holder is clerk to certain committees.

The present Committee Clerk is Mrs Marilyn Cullen who was appointed following her retirement from the full time post of Deputy Clerk.

b. Other Officers

i. Chaplain of the House of Keys

The Chaplain of the House of Keys is appointed by way of nominations submitted to the Management and Members’ Standards Committee of the House of Keys following their appointment after a General Election. The Committee reports to the House on the nominations submitted and on consideration of the report a Chaplain is appointed to serve for the life of the House.

The present Chaplain of the House of Keys is the Reverend W Martin who was appointed in 2007.

ii. Yn Lhaider (‘The Reader’)

The history of the post of Yn Lhaider is not well documented, and it may be comparatively recent, brought about as the number of speakers of Manx Gaelic declined. His role at the sitting of Tynwald at St. John’s is ‘to fence the Court’ in Manx. [4]

Yn Lhaider may also be called upon to read the summaries of the new Acts of Tynwald in Manx as part of the promulgation process in the event of the absence of the Governor and/or the First or Second Deemster on Tynwald Day. [5]

The post holder since 2001 has been Dr Brian Stowell.

c. Tynwald Administration Office

The Office deals with a wide range of enquiries as the first point of contact, for both the general public and Government Departments, at the public counter and by telephone and email.

The clerical responsibilities of the team include:

  • preparation of Order Papers, Questions Papers and the Votes and Proceedings of Tynwald and the Branches;

  • preparing reports of the committees of Tynwald and the Branches;

  • organising committee meetings;

  • accounts for the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office;

  • making travel arrangements;

  • expenses claims;

  • distribution of post and papers for sittings of Tynwald Court and the Branches.

The Office is also responsible for many of the practical arrangements in respect of Tynwald Day and its accompanying functions, for parliamentary conferences being held on the Island and for annual events such as the Tynwald Carol Service, the Speaker’s Lunch and the President’s Breakfast.

d. Members’ Office

The Members’ Office provides confidential secretarial and administrative services to Members, to assist them with their constituency correspondence and other work of direct parliamentary concern.  We provide a secure and comfortable working environment where Members can discuss highly confidential matters.

e. The Official Report (Hansard)

The Office of the Official Report (Hansard) is responsible for producing the Official Report described in chapter 6. [6] The Hansard team are available to help Members with any queries on current/live Proceedings, as the Reports are being produced. For queries on already published Hansard, the Tynwald Library maintains a printed archive and can provide hard copies of any question, motion, or sitting since 1888.

f. Seneschal, Messengers and Security Guards (“Gardyn Coadee”)

The Seneschal manages the Messengers and Security Guards (“Gardyn Coadee”) and has overall responsibility for the fabric of the Legislative Buildings. In the event of a Member being disciplined by the President or Speaker, the Seneschal would escort the Member from the chamber. Although “Seneschal” is a historic title, the present role dates from 2006 and continues to evolve.

The Messengers and Security Guards play a vital role at every sitting of Tynwald, the House of Keys and the Legislative Council, which includes:

  • controlling public access to the Legislative Buildings

  • distributing papers

  • carrying messages between Members

  • keeping glasses charged with (tap) water or squash.

On Tynwald Day the Seneschal, Messengers and Security Guards participate in the processions and are available to give general assistance to Members.

g. Tynwald Chamber and Information Service

The Tynwald Chamber and Information Service was established in 2009 amalgamating the former Tynwald Library and Education Officer functions. It is located on the ground floor of Legislative Buildings on Finch Road in the area which houses the library, gift shop and exhibition space.

The Chamber and Information Service has responsibility for a wide range of functions. In addition to maintaining, improving and developing existing activities, there is a requirement for innovation.

i. The Tynwald Library

The Tynwald Library aims to provide a comprehensive ready resource of information and documentation relevant to the work of the Legislature of the Isle of Man. It occupies spacious accommodation on the ground floor of the Legislative Buildings accessible from the Finch Road entrance, and is open to the general public on weekdays 09.00 to 17.00, extended to 17.30 for Members; Mon -Thu.

The Library area is comfortably furnished and internet access to a selection of Manx and parliamentary websites is available via dedicated terminals. The library catalogue may also be accessed at http://heritage.tynwald.org.im both in the library and externally. Laptops may be used but there is no WiFi. The area is fully accessible for disabled persons or those with limited mobility.

Primarily a research library, there is no lending service. It is possible to obtain copies of material, subject to copyright limits and copy charges, where applicable. The Library also acts as the Tynwald and Isle of Man Government bookshop and official documents are available to view and purchase.

The Library comprises a general reference section, specialist legal and parliamentary material and a Manx collection. Specifically:

  • Manx law (though not all Manx law cases), Debates of the Legislature 1888-date, and most reports of the Legislature and Executive Government that have been laid before Tynwald since 1906;

  • Manx Statutes from 1417 and secondary legislation from the 18th Century to date.

  • Blackhall Statutes, reprinted every five years show Manx statutes as amended. Library staff have access to an electronic version which will usually be more up to date than the print copy.  Copies of statutes can be printed, subject to copy charges, where applicable. Members should contact the Information Service if they require ongoing access to the electronic version.

  • English Statutes, Halsbury’s Laws, but not UK case law;

  • Newspapers including the Manx newspapers, major UK dailies and some UK regional islands papers. Copies are archived for three months, apart from The Times which is retained for one year and local newspapers for five years.

  • Journals and periodicals with a current affairs, legal or political theme.

The Library works in close co-operation with HM Attorney-General's Library, the Manx Museum Library and other collections, both on and off the Island, in order to supplement resources.

The Library is not an agent for The Stationery Office, but the publications of that office, and those of United Kingdom Government Departments, can usually be obtained quickly. Since May 1997, many United Kingdom official publications are published on official internet websites. These can be sourced for Members by Information Service staff.

ii. General Enquiries and Research

Staff in the Chamber and Information Service assist the general public with basic enquiries, particularly finding documents in hard copy or on websites and directing them to Government Departments for further information. Staff may not give legal advice.

For Members the Chamber and Information Service will undertake more detailed enquiries and research on topics related to parliamentary matters.

The Chamber and Information Service is a small team and so requests are usually dealt with on a first come first served basis but a note of any requested timescales will be made and every effort will be made to meet deadlines.

Note that economic, financial and social statistics on all subjects for the Isle of Man, UK and many overseas countries, covering international trade, overseas aid, economic forecasting through economic models, etc may be obtained directly from the Economic Adviser's Office; email: economics@gov.im, tel: 685743.

iii. Website

The Tynwald website, www.tynwald.org.im contains information about the history of Tynwald, how it works today, including information about Members and Officers, Sittings and Committees. In addition it contains parliamentary documentation including Order and Question papers, Hansard, Reports, Bills in Progress, copies of the Standing Orders of Tynwald and the Branches and Media Releases.

iv. Education and Promotion

Each year a Junior Tynwald sitting is held where senior school pupils (age 16-18), acting as members, have the opportunity to put their questions to real Members followed by a debate on motions of their choice in the Tynwald Chamber.

Tours for local primary schools, usually children ages 7-11, with or without a role play version of a sitting of the House of Keys, may be booked through the Chamber and Information Service. Local constituency Members often arrange and accompany such visits.

v. Tours

Scheduled tours are held twice a week. Tours are also provided at other times by arrangement. Each lasts about 90 minutes and offers visitors the chance to visit all of the chambers, learn something of the history and take photos.

vi. Gift Shop & Exhibition Space

The new gift shop and exhibition space were opened in 2011. A range of bespoke Tynwald gifts are stocked alongside some more general Manx items and a small, but growing range, of local items produced by local craftspeople.

The exhibition space may be used free of charge by local companies, groups and individuals to display and sell their products and show aspects of Manx life. For commercial exhibitors there will be a 20% commission taken on anything sold. To enquire about booking the space, please contact the Information Service.

vii. Publications

The Chamber and Information Service is responsible for the publication of the Tynwald Companion. A developing area for the service, information is currently being collated for a new Tynwald brochure and range of leaflets which will be published in 2012.

 


 

[1] Standing Orders of Tynwald, 9.2(1) and Standing Orders of the House of Keys, 9.3.1

[2] See chapter 5. Committees of the Legislature

[3] Standing Orders of Tynwald, 9.3 (1)

[4] Standing Orders of Tynwald, 2.1(3)(b)

[5] Standing Orders of Tynwald, 2.1(3)(e)

[6] See Chapter 6.m.ii The Official Report