Blog 31 Aug 17My political calendar and my workload this week continues to be light to medium, but as one of my colleagues pointed out on Monday – this is the perfect time when MHK’s should be looking at topics of interest, forthcoming legislation and taking the opportunity to research those topics coming before Tynwald Court in October.

To be perfectly honest, my mind always seems to work better when I have of lots things going on at once…..

I certainly wasn’t pushed on Monday. In the office for 8.15am and the first task was to draft a couple of letter templates. At 9.15am I had a meeting with a representative from the Isle of Man Media Broadcast Cluster, which was an opportunity to listen to another fantastic organisation based here on the Isle of Man.

Unfortunately, it was only a short briefing and a longer meeting had to be scheduled for Wednesday.

Just before 10am I headed over to DED for a meeting with the Manx Motor Cycle Club who are looking to do something very exciting at this year’s MGP. The meeting was called in order to discuss the pros & cons of the idea being tabled, and based on the discussions held it certainly looks possible.

Unfortunately, I can’t give further details at this stage but the initial idea looks very promising and exciting for road racing fans……

The meeting finished just after 11.10am, at which time I headed to the office to collect my car keys to drive into Onchan for a Constituent meeting, which was more of a general catch up then anything else.

I also called into a business in Onchan in order to discuss ongoing parking concerns in the lower part of the village.

After the meetings and lunch I headed back to the office for 14.30, in order to catch up on e-mails and to make several calls. One of the hardest part of this role is giving an honest answer to Constituents or manage expectations, which isn’t easy at times because people generally only contact their MHKs when all other avenues fail.

I also started to read through the DHSC Financial Sustainability Briefing Paper, which will be discussed at length tomorrow morning.

I left the office at 16.30 and after tea I read through the Peel Sewerage Treatment Works Site Options and drafted Monday’s Blog before I called it a day at 19.30.

Tuesday certainly turned into a very busy and difficult day. In the office for 8.10am and the first job was to put together a large number of letters using one of the templates I prepared a few weeks ago – I didn’t get to finish the task, but it can wait until tomorrow.

Just before 10am I headed up to the Barool Suite for the first of two key note briefings by the DHSC. The first briefing outlined the future vision of the Department and the difficulty it faces, and may face in the future.

The second briefing related to the financial paper that was tabled during last month’s Tynwald Sitting which left many Tynwald Members frustrated because they were unable to ask questions on the document.

I have to say that I was extremely impressed with the senior management within the DHSC and the presentations given to Members. It is a massive task facing the Department in order to balance the books, but politically we need to bring the public with us and that’s the Minister’s role………

The health service model has been wrong for generations and needs changing, in order to be fair and sustainable for future generations.

The briefing finished at 13.15 and after grabbing something to eat I was back at my desk for 13.40 – this left just enough time to send a couple of e-mails.

At 14.00 Daphne Caine, MHK and I had a meeting with several Home Educators in advance of any changes being brought in under the new Education Bill. It was another excellent meeting, and given the fact that I don’t have any children myself I certainly learnt a lot from the meeting.

It might only affect around 45 families but it is an extremely emotive topic and I will being watching this item closely to see how it unfolds early next year.

The meeting finished at 15.30 and once back at my desk I had several missed calls. One Constituent call was extremely difficult to handle, it wasn’t straight forward and I just couldn’t give the advice or help needed for that Constituent, but I tried…..

This is a fantastic role and it is wonderful when people take you into their confidence, but that call was probably the most difficult call I have received since being elected – I was so grateful that Social Services responded so quickly to my enquiry.

By the time I had responded to the other calls and e-mails it was 17.10 and time to head home. After tea I continued to work on my University assessment as the deadline is fast approaching.

Wednesday was about administration and catch up. In the office just after 8am and other than going up to Manx Radio for a quick interview at 10am the rest of the morning was spent drafting a considerable number of letters and e-mails.

I also managed to finish and upload my final University Assessment, which was a 2,887 word essay on how the Isle of Man’s Freedom of Information Legislation compares to International Regulation and Standards.

At 14.00 I walked over to DED for a future overlook of the TT with Tim Crookall, MLC and Paul Phillips from the Motorsport team.

Back to our Tynwald Building and straight into a second meeting this week with a representative from the Isle of Man Media Broadcast Cluster, which is something new to me and I am certainly learning a lot about the different businesses we have on this island.

The meeting finished at 16.15 and I then had to make a series of calls relating to various topics. I still managed to leave the office at 17.10 and after tea I still had several more calls to make, along with responding to numerous messages relating to the Consultation on increased Prescriptions and Eye Sight Tests.

I called it a day at 21.20.

Thursday was one of those days that appeared extremely busy on the surface, but I can’t actually explain what I did…….

I was in the office just after 8am and the first job was to book a hotel, flights, car hire for a Conference in Scotland which I will be attending in September on behalf of Isle of Man Tourism.

The tourism department have paid for my conference ticket and flights, but I will be paying for my hotel and car hire as I wanted to split the cost.

Full details on the Conference will be given in September.

At 9.15am I had a meeting with one of the island’s biggest haulage and freight company’s on the island. I have known the managing director for many years, and although it was good to catch up, the meeting was scheduled to discuss the Steam Packet user agreement, along with the challenges facing their business but more importantly how we can get freight onto the island at a more reasonable cost.

The meeting finished at 10.40am and after grabbing my bag I headed into Onchan to meet up with two Constituents that I first met on the Manx Heritage Railway Dining Car many years ago.

We certainly put the world to rights and various topics were discussed at length, but there were some serious points which I need to follow up – especially on police checks for people having close contact with vulnerable people.

I also had to call in to see another Constituent relating to an ongoing garden dispute.

I managed to get back to the office for 14.30, at which time I had a meeting with a couple of my MHK colleagues as we discussed the proposed increase to the Prescription charges etc.

Finally got back to my desk for 15.10, which gave me a chance to catch up with e-mails and to finish booking my hotel, flights and car hire for the conference in September.

I also needed to call in to DED to sign several letters and to return a number of calls before I left the office at 17.10.

With no meetings or briefings on Friday, I took the opportunity to take some time off but also to work from home, which was fortunate because our boiler was leaking oil and I was waiting for the plumber to come around.

I spent the morning reading through and drafting a number of e-mails on education concerns, doctors’ waiting lists and the punctuality of our airlines.

I also had a losing battle trying to update my TomTom maps ahead of attending the tourism conference in September.

With such an easy day I was also able to read through a number of detailed reports and documents from Government, but it is fair to say that today was relatively straightforward and simple – and a nice way to end the week.

I even managed to do some housework, iron and tidying up………

Other than a Constituent meeting on Sunday the rest of the weekend should be free.