2020 - Week 5

Michael kicked off his week with an unexpected computational triumph. A Word macro used by committee teams to build photo books of committee Members had gone awry. Michael popped by the Public Bill Office on a mission from Anya to investigate. But ended up accidentally fixing it. Which surprised everyone. Not least Michael.

Wednesday saw Librarian Jayne convene the usual meeting on procedure modelling with Claire and Michael. Assorted cards were moved around the Trello board and some new tasks prioritised. With Jayne now starting to master Git and Markdown, the meeting notes are now available for the world to read.

Next up was a meeting with Martyn, Anya, Jayne, Robert and Michael to sketch around how Standing Orders (SOs) come into being, how they’re modified over time and how they pass out of existence. Mostly they chatted about words to differentiate between SOs that are lapsed or revoked and SOs that are still standing but might be in effect or not currently in effect. There are still words missing here but our understanding of SOs is much improved. Thanks as ever Martyn.

On Thursday librarians Jayne and Anya and computational experts Robert and Michael were joined by David to continue their journey through public bill procedure. Unfortunately a last minute upheaval prevented Matt from joining, we hope to see him soon. Having dealt with commitment motions, non-commitment motions and change of commitment motions they moved on to amendments and the consideration thereof. More whiteboards were filled with tablings and groupings and movings and puttings. None of it felt quite as complicated as they’d envisaged. Which probably means they’ve misunderstood something. The results await decantation into the public bill flowchart. When that happens, they’ll be sent round for the usual comments.

Librarian Jayne and Michael then spent some time poring over Journal Office Jane’s feedback on their delegated legislation to procedure map. Improvements were made and Jane pronounced herself happy. Everyone’s understanding of Church of England measures still being somewhat sketchy. There are gaps to be filled here.

When we kicked off the work to track Statutory Instruments, Anya created a spreadsheet to capture all the information required by our team of librarians to keep track of procedural steps. It had notes on their scope, their link targets and guidance on choosing dates for business items. Unfortunately, the spreadsheet proved a little flakey and data occasionally went missing. It was also another thing to remember to update. Our Samu suggested that separating related information across unlinked systems was really not such a good idea. So back in 2019 we designed a very simple data model to hold step information. Wojciech added these new fields to the Procedure Editor. Unfortunately Chris left before he had time to add this information to the data platform but Jianhan has now done that work. Jayne has picked up the baton and written some SPARQL to recreate the spreadsheet based on live data. Which saves everyone time, trouble and headaches. We have no linked data perplexed librarians here. Though Jayne regularly startles her dog with cries of excitement when a query works. It’s a dogs life when your librarian works from home.