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Pam Tilson

Pam Tilson from the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education delivered a workshop on building relations with MLAs

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Pam Tilson

  1. 1. <ul><li>Pam Tilson </li></ul><ul><li>Lobbying Officer </li></ul><ul><li>Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education </li></ul>
  2. 2. Devolution <ul><li>The transfer of certain powers from a central government to a regional government. </li></ul><ul><li>Allows decisions to be made at a level closer to the people they affect. </li></ul><ul><li>Central government retains power over certain areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Northern Ireland continues to elect MPs to the UK Parliament’s House of Commons and the Secretary of State continues to represent Northern Ireland’s interests in the UK Cabinet. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Transferred Matters <ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Health </li></ul><ul><li>Housing </li></ul><ul><li>Transport </li></ul><ul><li>Road safety </li></ul><ul><li>Environment </li></ul><ul><li>Sport, Arts & Leisure </li></ul><ul><li>Wildlife protection </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Forestry and fishing </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Development </li></ul><ul><li>Employment and Training </li></ul><ul><li>Fire and ambulance services </li></ul><ul><li>Tourism </li></ul>The Northern Ireland Assembly has the power to make decisions on many issues; including:
  4. 4. The Governance of Northern Ireland 108 Elected Members including Speaker & Deputy Speakers First and Deputy First Ministers Assembly Executive Committee ‘Cabinet’ 10 Executive Department Ministers The Committee System
  5. 5. <ul><li>Agriculture and Rural Development </li></ul><ul><li>Culture, Arts & Leisure </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Employment & Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Enterprise, Trade and Investment </li></ul><ul><li>Environment </li></ul><ul><li>Health, Social Services and Public Safety </li></ul><ul><li>Finance & Personnel </li></ul><ul><li>Regional Development </li></ul><ul><li>Social Development </li></ul><ul><li>The Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (11 th department) </li></ul>Executive Departments
  6. 6. Northern Ireland Assembly Election, 7 March 2007 +6 (2003) + 4 -9 -2 +1 +1 30.1% 26.2% 14.9% 15.2% 5.2% 0.6% 1.7% 3.2%
  7. 7. 108 Members of the Assembly elected 7 March 2007 Social Democratic and Labour Party 16 Democratic Unionist Party 36 Ulster Unionist Party 18 The Alliance Party 7 Progressive Unionist Party 1 Green Party 1 Independent 1 Sinn Fein 28 Total = 108 MLAs
  8. 8. Political Party Designations as of Mar 2007 Unionist community Nationalist community UUP SDLP DUP SF APNI PUP Indep . Political parties Others Speaker GP
  9. 9. St Andrews Agreement <ul><li>Ministers - more accountable to the Executive and the Assembly </li></ul><ul><li>a legally binding Ministerial Code </li></ul><ul><li>No joint election of FM and DFM </li></ul><ul><li>Specific reference in Pledge of Office to support for the ‘rule of law’, including policing and the courts; commitment to the joint nature of OFMDFM and to participating in all the institutions. </li></ul><ul><li>OFMDFM Committee now a Statutory Committee </li></ul><ul><li>A new Institutional Review Committee reviewing functioning of the Assembly and Executive </li></ul><ul><li>No redesignation except when a Member changes party. </li></ul><ul><li>Greater accountability of North-South Institutions </li></ul>
  10. 10. Sittings of the Assembly <ul><li>Monday and Tuesday </li></ul><ul><li>Proceedings held in public </li></ul><ul><li>Begin with prayers/private reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Quorum – 10, including the Speaker </li></ul><ul><li>Categories of Business </li></ul><ul><li>Questions commence at 2.30pm and finish at 4.00pm on Mondays </li></ul><ul><li>There may be an adjournment debate at the end of a sitting. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Questions <ul><li>Written and Oral </li></ul><ul><li>Must be for the purpose of seeking information </li></ul><ul><li>Written questions can be longer and ask for more detail. </li></ul><ul><li>Oral questions asked during Question Time – a very public way of getting Ministers to explain their actions </li></ul><ul><li>3 Departments questioned each week (30 mins each): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OFMDFM, every fortnight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other Ministers, once every 4 weeks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Computer randomly selects 20 questions </li></ul><ul><li>Departments have just under 2 weeks to prepare answers. </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Legislative Process <ul><li>First Stage: Introduction of Bill to the Assembly. The Speaker will have determined that the Assembly has power to legislate in this area. </li></ul><ul><li>Second Stage: A debate on the general principles of the Bill. </li></ul><ul><li>Committee Stage: Detailed investigation by a Committee which concludes with the publication of a report for consideration by the Assembly </li></ul><ul><li>Consideration Stage: Consideration of, and an opportunity for Members to vote on, all the details of the Bill, including amendments proposed to the Bill </li></ul><ul><li>Further Consideration Stage: Consideration by the Assembly of, and an opportunity for Members to vote on, any further amendments to the Bill </li></ul><ul><li>Final Stage: Passage or rejection of Bill by the Assembly, without further amendment. </li></ul><ul><li>Royal Assent </li></ul>
  13. 13. Committees <ul><li>Most of the day-to-day work of the Assembly is done in Committees. </li></ul><ul><li>There are 3 types of Committees: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Statutory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Standing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ad Hoc </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Membership of Committees broadly reflects party strength in the Assembly. The d’Hondt system is used to allocate Chairs/ Deputy Chairs. </li></ul><ul><li>Most Committees have 11 members. </li></ul><ul><li>Most MLAs were members of 2 or 3 Committees. Meetings are usually held weekly and last 2 – 3 hours. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Committees <ul><li>Have right to:- </li></ul><ul><li>Scrutinise Bills and make amendments </li></ul><ul><li>Scrutinise Department Budget </li></ul><ul><li>Initiate inquiries on areas within their Departmental responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Bring forward their own legislation </li></ul>
  15. 15. Relationship Mapping <ul><li>Who knows who </li></ul><ul><li>Who des what </li></ul><ul><li>What can you offer them (publicity, briefing) </li></ul><ul><li>Be clear about what you want them to do. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Politicians are not the only ones who are important <ul><li>Party Policy teams </li></ul><ul><li>Special Advisors (SpAds) </li></ul><ul><li>Clerks/Researchers for Committees </li></ul><ul><li>Staff, Constituency and Parliamentary </li></ul>
  17. 17. Use your available resources in campaigns <ul><li>Eg. </li></ul><ul><li>Local Groups/Members </li></ul><ul><li>Parents/teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Children </li></ul><ul><li>Constituents </li></ul><ul><li>Other allies </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Patience is a virtue </li></ul><ul><li>Not all issues are ‘winnable’ straight away </li></ul><ul><li>Eg. Free Personal Care – first on the agenda 2001. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Know the Party System <ul><li>Who are key players? </li></ul><ul><li>May not all be public figures </li></ul><ul><li>How do Parties determine policy? </li></ul><ul><li>- Conferences? </li></ul><ul><li>- Individuals? </li></ul><ul><li>- Spokespeople? </li></ul>
  20. 20. The end <ul><li>Contact Pam Tilson </li></ul><ul><li>NICIE Lobbying Officer </li></ul><ul><li>Phone 9023 6200 </li></ul><ul><li>Email ptilson@nicie.org </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks for listening. </li></ul>

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