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Clerk to Parliament of Scotland ‘seriously impressed’ after study visit to Tynwald

A visit to Tynwald has left the Clerk of the Parliament of Scotland Sir Paul Grice ‘seriously impressed’.

Sir Paul, who was accompanied by Tracey White, the Scottish Parliament’s Head of Chamber and Reporting, was speaking at the conclusion of a 24-hour study visit arranged by the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office.

The programme included opportunities to observe sittings of the House of Keys and the Legislative Council, prompting Sir Paul to comment: ‘I found the sittings extremely interesting and the exchanges between Members lively; I also thought Question Time was conducted in a most thoughtful and constructive manner.’

Against the background of the forthcoming elections in Scotland and increased powers transferred to Holyrood, notably in matters of taxation , Sir Paul said: ‘In this we can learn from the Isle of Man as it enjoys greater fiscal autonomy, so is some considerable way ahead of us. Scotland’s moving in that direction, though, so to have been fortunate enough to observe economic business being debated was particularly absorbing.’

Ms White said: ‘The Scottish Parliament doesn’t have a second chamber so coming to Tynwald served as a valuable opportunity to discover how proceedings in the House of Keys and the Legislative Council operate.

Sir Paul added: ‘In Scotland there’s no call at present for a second chamber, but were that to change, then the Legislative Council would be an interesting model.’
Commenting on briefings with the Head of Tynwald Chamber and Information Service Ruth Eastham and Head of Hansard Ellen Callister Ms White said: ‘We’re both using technology to reach out to the people, but in different ways.’

'We’re all trying, though, to “crack the nut of engagement” through parliamentary outreach and attempting to be more creative,’ Sir Paul added.

‘As with Tynwald, social media - Twitter, Facebook, etc., - works for us because it’s interactive and starts a conversation. It’s a way to connect with people, target different user groups and has the potential to be a real game changer,’ said Ms White.

Sir Paul concluded: ‘Tracey and I have been seriously impressed by what a well run operation Tynwald is and how the staff are all highly motivated.  On one level Tynwald is successfully preserving a sense of tradition but on another, Tynwald is clearly open to new things and embracing innovation.’


Sir Paul Grice and Tracey White are pictured with the Third Clerk of Tynwald Joann Corkish. Photo courtesy of Paul Dougherty, Tynwald Seneschal

Published - 19/04/2016