2020 - Week 6

On Tuesday, Robert and Michael met Anna Murphy from the House of Lords Journal Office. We had hoped for Anna to represent the Lords at our meeting last week with Commons Martyn. But unfortunately a last minute calendar glitch prevented Anna from joining us. So we rescheduled, only to find our whiteboard room is now an office. Crouching inconspicuously behind a desk, Robert and Michael managed to sketch on one of our many verboten whiteboards. Though they did wipe it clean. Very clean.

The upshot of the meeting was that House of Lords Public Standing Orders are not so different from those in the House of Commons in terms of how they come into being, are amended, lapse or revoked. Which is all we need to describe them on a model level. We’re hoping to work with Rad and his team to create a dataset for Lords Public SOs in the same format as the data generated for Commons Public SOs. And we’d like to work in titles and section headings whilst we’re on the job. Conversations with David pointed to 1954 as a good place to start, as a whole bunch of changes happened that year following a report by the Procedure Committee in 1953. David has helpfully sent through scans of the subsequent 1954 Procedure Committee report. Thanks as ever David.

Librarians Jayne and Claire and computational expert Michael spent a chunk of Thursday raising a ticket to add time bound routes to our procedure model. This has been a long term item on our backlog / wishlist. It has snuck up the stack because we’d like to add specific select committees to our treaty procedure and select committees change in line with machinery of government changes. More generally, procedures are also subject to change as the things that inform them - legislation, resolutions, Standing Orders, new interpretations of precedent and, in the House of Commons, Speaker Rulings - change. Michael tends to wave his hands and shout about pace layering at this point. We need to be able to reflect these changes in our procedure maps. So fingers crossed we’re able to soon.