2022 - Week 5

We must, once again, kick off with an apology. A quick glance at the ‘done’ list for week four revealed a bunch of tasks that proved just too boring to type about. Even for our regular reader. Even by our standards. Normal service now resumes.

Remediating remedial orders

Having stared in some bewilderment at paragraph 4(4) of Schedule 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998 for what feels like several weeks, some clarity finally came our way. Thanks Matthew. Thanks Daniel. This means our existing procedure maps for proposed remedial orders and draft affirmative remedial orders have been joined by our first attempt at mapping made affirmative remedial orders. Thereby completing the family. Whilst both proposed and drafts have made their way inside the machines, the urgent procedure remains on our data entry list until next week. Should you spot any just cause or impediment as to why procedure map and machine should not be joined together in holy matrimony, now would be a good time to declare it.

More map making

In what has become a bit of a rare moment, Librarian Jayne and her computational helpmate Michael, were forced back into statutory instrument maps when the House of Lords found itself with an unexpected item in the draft affirmative area. In normal circumstances one would not expect to see a take note motion on an affirmative procedure - I mean, who would - but for reasons outside the control of almost everyone, such an occurence occurred. To save typing more, if you’re a particularly keen proceduralist, you’ll find all the gory details in the ticket.

Our eagle-eyed reader will, of course, have spotted that our draft affirmative procedure map now features the residual stump of a take note motion. The even keener eyed will notice that the route into that is time bound. The time binding being to the day on which this particular event took place. Because, whilst we want to show what happened, no one is particularly keen for this to ever happen again.

Return to public bill mountain

No sooner had we ascended the ladder from House of Commons first reading to House of Commons second reading than correspondence with Legislation Office Liam sent us tumbling back down a snake, to land face down in a mess of resolutions. Running to our rescue, Graeme and Richard popped up in pixels to steer Librarian Jayne and Michael through this new minefield.

You might notice that our bill model has two new bright blue bubbles for Law Commission and Consolidation Bills. Blue at least to Michael’s eyes. Whether these will stay as classes or turn into some form of enumeration depends on whether we find anything else to say about them. Nevertheless, the differentiation belongs at the ontology level because - we are told - they are identifiable from the bill text alone. Or distinct “on the face of the bill”, as Michael likes to say these days. On the occasions he learns something new, it becomes difficult to stop him from showing off.

Changes have also been made to maps; for now, these are more margin scribbles to our future selves. The main public bill map has gained a series of resolution based scribbles in the top margin. We think we think these become preceding procedures at some point. The first reading component has a series of scribbles representing our current best guess at certification for hybridity. And the second reading has a bunch of scribbles aiming to highlight where the procedure may be tainted by resolutions. Monday morning should see at least some scribbles turned into pixels proper. And possibly even data.

Procedure parsing progress

The last time we put pen to paper, resident computational ‘expert’ Michael was about to embark on a weekend of fun and frolics patching over what we used to call our “plausibility parsing”. This following JO Jane’s insightful contribution that figures for steps taking place in the House of Lords should really only be based on instruments that have been in the House of Lords. Good catch that. The weekend proving to be both wet and miserable, Michael believes he has now done that for both procedures in general and work packages in particular. The Ja(y)nes seem less than convinced. Time is pencilled in with the Jayne of Library fame to work out where exactly Michael’s sums may have gone wrong.

On the subject of “plausibility”, we don’t call it that anymore. Following an expression of squeamishness on the part of Anya, young Robert and Michael spent a pleasant evening chummering over a single word. A record even for our resident Charters and Caldicott. Following much chin stroking, Robert pointed out that Michael was, in fact, guilty of journalism. So we now stick to calling spades spades and leave papering over the gap between the occurrence score of a procedural step and its future plausibility as an exercise for the reader.

In other procedure parsing news, pixelisation is now in the more than capable hands of young Robert. We notice he’s made steps square rather than oval. We’re not sure why. We’re quite sure he knows what he’s doing.

Expanding the procedure model

In preparation for another year of hard graft, our procedure model has expanded yet further. It now features actualisations as first class objects and more explicit modelling of component procedures. The former in support of Anya’s efforts to apply time and motion methodologies to her team of crack librarians. The latter in support of both Jayne and Michael’s fingertips and sanity.

Pointing at legislation

If you tuned in last time, you’ll know John pointed out an issue with the way we were pointing to Acts enabling an SI. The work we promised to do is now done. Our Jianhan made a few tweaks to the way we handle TNA legislation identifiers which means we now store ID / work-level URIs. And Librarian Jayne has added a brand new SPARQL query to return SIs with both an enabling Act work URI and a URL for the enabling Act as it existed on the date the SI was made. Lovely stuff.

A short section dedicated to Matt Korris

There’s many a week when we have reason to thank Table Office Matt. This week, we have two. So we thought we’d save our typewriter ribbons and dedicate a section to him. Firstly, on Tuesday, he took the time and trouble to show Michael and Michael’s boss bloke Ian the ins, the outs and the arounds of the Lords Business Information System. Or LBIS as it’s called in these parts. There being no shortage of acronyms round our way. LBIS is an odd beast being, in many ways, a data integration service in its own right. It takes feeds from assorted systems but is also the first point of computational contact for the tabling of assorted Lords’ things. Not least questions.

Still on the subject of Lords’ questions, we also wish to offer thanks to Matt for another excellent episode of Lords’ procedural seminars, this time on questions, motions and statements. Thanks too to Anna and team for organising. Nothing covered appeared to contradict either our attempts at an abstract expressionist workflow diagram or the mocked-up RDF we made from it. Which is just as well really. Most of that coming from Matt’s brain in the first place.

Tightening purse strings

Jianhan has completed work on migrating both our Made ‘n’ Laid and Tweaty Twacker Twitter bots to Parliament’s infrastructure. Librarian Jayne has tested and declared herself happy. Which means Michael’s code is now defunct - best for everyone we think - and he’s saving £15 a month from his personal Heroku budget. How Michael might choose to invest this saving is anyone’s guess.

If you’re one of those people who’s interested in being alerted whenever a made SI or a treaty is laid before Parliament but don’t fancy diving into Twitter - and, let’s face it, who could really blame you - you’ll be pleased to know that RSS feeds for both are available. If there’s one thing we could never be accused of, it’s putting walls round our gardens.