2020 - Week 14

Monday kicked off with an email from Twitter. They’ve at last consented to giving Michael the API keys he asked for back in week 8. This is a process that’s advertised as taking two weeks. Rapid turnaround there guys. The keys are now plugged into the Tweaty Twacker application. This means that, theoretically, the next time our team of crack librarians add a treaty to the data platform, a tweet will go out to all three followers. Theoretical because until the FCO turn up with a new treaty they’d like to ratify, it’s all a little difficult to test. We wait with breath baited.

The impact of the coronavirus continues to make itself felt. Not only sending assorted librarians scattering to dining tables, sofas and beds but also leading to an earlier than expected recess. In some ideal world, we’d have a parliamentary calendar API we could hit with a laid date and a number of sitting days which would return an end date for the approval period. But we do not have this. Approval period end dates for affirmative SIs currently before Parliament are entered by hand. Which usually works fine until we hit an unexpected recess. At which point they all have to be updated. Also by hand. A job which fell this week to poor Librarian Jayne. Sorry Jayne.

On the subject of the blasted virus, the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee have been hard at work, publishing a list of all Statutory Instruments (subject to parliamentary procedure) that have been laid to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Top work, Journal Office Jane.

And still on the subject of ideal worlds - in such a world, manually compiling subject lists wouldn’t be necessary. Our librarians subject tag and link parliamentary business but there’s a gap between their work, the data platform and the website. We dream of unleashing the power of subject tags and synonyms, and links to parent acts. We’re a whimsical bunch. It’s not just the data in the ideal world. There’s also outside, pubs and telephones that we don’t to need speak into.

Monday also saw Jayne and Michael get their comeuppance for being a little over eager with their procedure mapping work. Our reader may recall that last week, Jayne and Michael tinkered with reporting steps for the SLSC, changing some step labels and removing some preclusion routes. Unfortunately, they didn’t check in with Jane first. An email ensued. Then there was an attempt at a conference call that failed at the first hurdle. So they tag-teamed a telephone call with Jane and reached agreement on rectifying the situation. Preclusion routes remain unchanged, as the team aim to not use preclusions unless they’re explicitly stated somewhere as precluded, or where doing otherwise would be logically incoherent. Step names have been reverted. They also agreed that an earlier decision to reuse the ‘concerns raised’ step to describe the publication of correspondence by the Committee had been a bad one. Instead, a new ‘further information’ step has been introduced. The data has been updated by Jayne. The new step can be seen in the wild in the Merchant Shipping (International Load Line Convention) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 work package. Jayne has also written a handy little SPARQL query to return all work packages where the ‘further information’ step has been actualised. Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place. All the same, Jayne and Michael hereby make a public commitment to endeavour to curb their enthusiasm in future.

Jayne and Michael have also been looking at how to handle criminal offences statements. The statements are deposited in the parliamentary libraries ahead of the laying of EU Exit SIs which create criminal offences. This requirement has been sat on the backlog since the days of Journal Office Jack. Thanks to the wonders of telephony devices, they’ve drafted a made affirmative play pen map with a new starting point and a couple of deposits. This has now gone off to Jane for approval.

In non-procedural news, Robert and Michael dived back into ontology comment editing. A job that’s been ongoing since forever. They slowly chipped away and tightened the treaty model comments and were quite pleased with the results.

On Friday, Jayne and Michael reopened the play pen picture and attempted to deal with the edge case of SIs laid under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. These SIs are made affirmatives but with a slight quirk. Instead of the approval clock starting when a Minister makes the instrument, the clock doesn’t start until a provision of the regulation comes into force. Another new start point has been introduced to the map. And now awaits sign off from Jane before adding to the data.