2019 - Week 45

This week

On Monday Anya, Robert and Michael took a stroll across St James Park to the Institute for Government to meet Alice, Ruth and Ben. They’re due to give a talk at the Study of Parliament Group conference in the new year. Anya and Michael will once more be rattling on about procedure modelling and Alice, Ruth and Ben will be talking about their respective experiences working with parliamentary data.

On Tuesday, Anya, Jayne, Robert and Michael met with Rad and Tom. Rad, Tom and colleagues been working on a research project to codify changes to House of Commons Public Business Standing Orders over time. The project is interesting to us because anything that gets us closer to structured data is of interest. But also because Standing Orders are named and cited by their position in a list in a publication at a point in time. And on occasion, they get renumbered as new Standing Orders are inserted and orders no longer standing are removed. Which makes it very difficult to reliably cite over time. As part of their work, Rad and Tom have taken a copy of Standing Order publications over time and traced the genealogy of individual orders with all their assorted edits, splits and merges. As a byproduct, they’ve created stable identifiers for Standing Orders that are persistent over time. Which means they can now be reliably cited in hypertext, without having to update the citation on renumbering. The point of this being… we’ve had a goal of adding citations to our procedure maps to indicate the ‘rule’ that allows for the existence of a given procedural route. Whether that be taken from an Act or a resolution or a Standing Order. The yellow dots on the public bill procedure map are a gesture in the direction of citing Standing Orders from procedure. We finished the meeting with a chat about whether it might be possible to do the same work for House of Lords Public Business Standing Orders and for the Private Business Standing Orders of both Houses.

Also on Tuesday, Anya, Jayne, Robert and Michael met to chat through some problems we’ve had actualising scheduling steps in the statutory instrument and treaty procedures and the knock on effects this has had on work package visualisations. Various workarounds were discussed until Anya hit upon the brainwave that these steps were not ‘procedural’ and so should be dropped from procedure maps. Jayne and Michael have made a start on this but need to do the same to bring bill procedure into line.

On Friday, Anya, Jayne and Michael met Messrs. Makower and Korris to chat through progress on the Lords half of the bill procedure. Queen’s and Prince of Wales’ consent were covered off again and we thought we’d finally cracked it. Then Andrew mentioned Princes Charles gets a second helping of consent whilst wearing his High Steward of Scotland hat. Anya, Jayne and Michael returned to their drawing board.

They also managed to cover off a little more of money bills and hit a new bit of procedure involving a Commons direction that the Lords’ time limit does not apply. Which awaits decantation into diagram. Money bills being largely ticked off - for now - they headed back to supply bills and got part way through when Andrew suggested they might be better treated as a completely different procedure. So that’s the new plan.

Finally they dug back in to House of Lords commital and change of commitment motions, Select Committees reporting that the bill should not proceed, and the ‘motion to bloody well proceed’. All of which will find its way from whiteboard to computer next week.

Next week

Anya and Michael are off to Glasgow to visit Matthew Lynch to fill some more whiteboards and see where the worlds of procedure modelling and LDAPP might intersect.