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Samantha Kenny - September 2017

Hello, I’m Samantha, and I’ve just finished my first month working at the Clerk of Tynwald’s office as the Parliamentary intern.

This month has been varied, fascinating, challenging, stimulating and scary. Exactly as I’d hoped. I feel as though I have 5 different jobs in 5 different fields – because no day has been quite the same as another. My official role is ‘parliamentary intern’, but I am variously working as an assistant clerk, a researcher, a librarian, a work experience co-ordinator, a tour guide, a map, a designer, a writer, and of course, a professional photocopier and answerer of emails.

An ex-officio member is a member of a body who holds that position by virtue of another position they hold. For example, the Bishop is an ex officio member of the Legislative Council because he is the Bishop. Don’t worry, I had to look it up too.​

Having become acquainted with the office, the staff, where everything is etc., my first week, and many days since, have been spent putting together the Annual Report, sent out to parliaments all over the world. While most of the content has been written already, it all needs putting together, formatting, illustrating and organising – and it’s been a very good way to a) meet everyone in the office – ‘Hi! I’m Sam. Do you have a photo of that time when..?’ b) learn a new computer programme, and c) get to grips with the workings of our Government - ‘Yes, I can definitely write a spiel explaining ex-officio members…’

I managed a display of the world’s worst timing by breaking my foot after 4 days on the job. Nil desperandum, however – and by the end of that week I’d been introduced to the work of the SAPRC - the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee. SAPRC has a wide remit and is, among other things, currently considering the Mental Health provision on the Island. You can read more about the Committees work on the SAPRC Committee page on the Tynwald website.  I’ve been going through the evidence submitted to a recent Consultation, and beginning to frame a few thoughts – recurring messages, conclusions, recommendations - for a report that will need to be written. 

The Committee scrutinises Government so it invites Departments to an annual evidence session to give evidence on the year’s activities. The session for the Department of Home Affairs is in a fortnight and I have been preparing the brief for the Committee. To have a hand in the reports and agendas for such important discussions is an incredible learning opportunity and I feel very lucky to be so involved so early on in my career.

Among these reports, I have been doing varying bits of research for Members and searching for records of debates from half-remembered fragments. I’ve really enjoyed the research element to the job, and can already feel myself becoming more efficient and capable each time I embark on a new piece of research.

Then there are the tours: I will lead my first tour to a 20-strong group of year 10s round the building on Thursday. There’s such a lot of information to convey and the challenge is trying to pick out the most important and interesting elements so they come away with not only an understanding but hopefully, an interest in the workings of the Parliament and how Government makes things happen. Coming from an ESL background of 60-strong classes, I shouldn’t have too many problems. Nonetheless - please wish me luck!

This first month has been fantastic and exactly what I’d hoped for. I’ve been coached, mentored, supported, challenged, set loose, and I’m really looking forward to the next weeks – when sittings resume and the work of the Parliament and Committees really kicks into action.