Blog 16 Apr 17My focus of attention during this fairly short week was Committee work. Something that many people overlook, but it certainly takes up many hours of your time because of the the amount of reading, research and drafting suitable questions or notes.

The week started with the normal Monday routine of being in the office for around 8.20am before printing off my DED Agenda Pack, along with the Keys Agenda Paper.

Having caught up with e-mails etc I headed back into Onchan to attend a Coffee Morning, which give me an opportunity to chat to the residents of Springfield Court.

Just after 11am and with no further Department or Constituent meetings I headed home. With Tynwald holding a special musical concert in the Tynwald Court chamber, I took the opportunity to work from home for the rest of the day.

The first task was to go through my DED Agenda pack, along with the Keys Order Paper for Tuesday. Thereafter I got my head down and started to work my way through three very large files as part of my Public Accounts Committee role.

I only got through one file before finishing at 17.00, which was certainly hard going on the mind. After tea I started to go though the second file before calling it a night at 19.45.

I managed to get into the office for 8am on Tuesday in order to prepare for today’s sitting, along with continuing to go through the Public Accounts Committee files.

At 9.50am I headed down to the Keys Chamber, which had a special feel about it this week because Ellen’s Mum & Dad were on the island and they took the opportunity to watch a little bit of the Keys Sitting this morning.

Again, today’s sitting was quite short with only 10 questions, along with the Casino (Amendment) Bill getting its first reading. Straight after the sitting there was a mock LegCo Election vote, given the fact that many of the MHKs haven’t taken part in this type of election before.

For some reason the Speaker used characters from “Cluedo”, which was interesting, and Miss Scarlett was “elected”!

Back to the office at 12 noon, which gave me enough time to catch up with e-mails before heading up to the Barool Suite for 13.00 for a Tynwald Briefing on Employment and Skills, which finished at 14.20.

At 15.00 we were back in the Barrool Suite for a workshop on the KPIs for the Programme for Government. Unfortunately, I had to leave early because I needed to be back in Onchan for 16.00, in order to judge a hat competition at Springfield Court, which had been in my calendar for many weeks.

Home for 17.10 and after tea I continued to work my way through my Committee files, before calling it a day at 20.00.

Wednesday turned into an extremely busy day. In the office for 8am and it started quietly enough with a general sort out and chatting with the Speaker of the House of Keys.

Just after 9am, Daphne Caine, MHK and I headed over to DED for the Minister and Political Members’ briefing and catch up. At 10am we attended the DED monthly meeting, which included two detailed briefings in respect to the Economic Development Fund.

After the briefings we had our normal Department Board Meeting, which finished at 13.15, but this left very little time to get back to the Legislative Buildings before heading into Onchan for 13.30.

Unfortunately, on my return to the office I discovered I’d had a 13.00 appointment, which wasn’t in my calendar. The meeting related to a work permit issue, but I had to give my apologies.

I left the office and drove up to Onchan Commissioners for a general catch-up with the Clerk, and to discuss several ongoing concerns and projects.

At 14.00 we were joined by Onchan Commissioner, Derek Crellin and a DEFA officer to discuss an ongoing issue and concern relating to the Groudle Glen Waterwheel and what options are available to the Board of Commissioners.

I managed to get back to the office for 15.25, which finally gave me an opportunity to catch up with e-mails and to get something to eat. The rest of the afternoon was spent making several calls and responding to e-mails before leaving the office at 17.20.

After tea I started drafting this week’s Blog, I now have a fixed routine of spending around 15 minutes each evening just writing down the day’s events.

Started slightly later on Thursday, I arrived at the office for 8.30am and started the day by looking at the April Tynwald Order Paper. At 9.30am Lawrie Hooper, MHK and I had a meeting with some residents from the west of the island to look over a historic chain of events, which will certainly take some of my time over the Easter break.

During the meeting I received an e-mail which I wasn’t expecting and it certainly increased my stress levels to new heights. Once the meeting was over I had to take advice from the Tynwald Clerks before I could even consider responding.

There are certainly elements of this role that I do not enjoy, and there is nothing to compare it with in the private sector. I am so used to giving an honest answer to an honest question, but there appear to be pitfalls or hurdles around every corner in this job.

Anyway, the original meeting finished at 11am and the meeting with a Clerk that followed finished around 11.40am. After catching with other e-mails, I took the opportunity to have some lunch.

At 13.00 Tim Crookall, MLC and I went over to DED for a TT events update and briefing, in order to ensure that everything is in place for this year’s event. The meeting finished at 14.30 and straight after that meeting I had a short briefing with the DED tourism team.

Back to the office just before before 15.20 and I went straight into a further meeting with the Clerk, in order to respond to the difficult e-mail I received this morning.

I then responded to that e-mail and was on the phone for about 35 minutes. I then dealt with a couple of Constituent issues before heading home at 16.40.

Friday was a Bank Holiday, so I took the opportunity to take things easy but I still managed to read the Report on the Renewal of the Island’s Infrastructure for the Collection and Treatment of Sewage (“IRIS”) 1991 to 2007, which makes interesting reading before taking Friday afternoon off.