Thursday, December 15, 2011

How do MLAs assess the Assembly's performance?

NI Assembly website

Having been wittering on about local political parties, campaigns, conferences and elections for a year or two, it seemed bad that I’d never been up to the public gallery in Parliament Buildings to see the sausage machine our devolved democracy in action.

You can read elsewhere about my impressions of the day I spent up at the NI Assembly earlier this weekand how anyone can turn up and see it for themselves. You can also listen to some brief clips of MLAs –including Lagan Valley’s Paul Givan and East Belfast’s Michael Copeland talking about their work and impact as MLAs.

Loitering around the Great Hall on Tuesday, I asked 16 MLAs to give a score out of ten and supply the headmaster’s comment for the Assembly’s end of term report card. Here’s what they said:

End of term report: how do MLAs assess @niassembly performance? (mp3)

Given the sample size, any statistical inference is very unscientific. However, it’s still interesting to note that DUP and Sinn Fein representatives classified performance as 4-7, whilst other parties used the range 3-6.

One other MLA criticised the lack of legislation before suggesting “it’s better than people being killed on the streets.”

(Incidentally, the NI Assembly relaunched their website on Monday and are now making a lot more information available to the public, including details of MLAs’ questions, voting record, interests and contacts. Webservice exposure of this information is in development too. Open Data comes to NI at last!)

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