The Alliance Assembly Group has announced temporary changes to its procedures and practices to enable Ministers, officials and staff to devote full resources to the COVID-19 crisis, while enabling full ongoing scrutiny of Departmental work on behalf of constituents.
Alliance Party MLAs will:
- Make strictly limited use of Assembly Written Questions;
- Use Assembly Committees as the prime means of scrutinising Ministerial actions;
- Make approaches on urgent issues to Ministers in the first instance through Special Advisers and Assembly Private Secretaries; and,
- Restrict MLAs adding supplementary questions during Question Time.
The Alliance Assembly team will also be asking staff to work from home from tomorrow (Thursday) and is asking the public to make contact by phone or email for constituency queries rather than coming to its constituency offices.
A party spokesperson said: “The Alliance Assembly team met by conference call and made these new arrangements to prioritise enabling all Ministers, regardless of party designation, to focus fully on tackling the current emergency, rather than servicing routine enquiries and questions, and to maintain an effective constituency service without exposing vulnerable staff and constituents unnecessarily.
“Alliance MLAs will also over the coming days ask for Assembly business to be restricted to urgent issues, to enable robust scrutiny while ensuring ‘social distancing’ is maintained. We will also be looking at alternative arrangements for voting in the chamber.”