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NORTHERN IRELAND: ICT MANAGEMENT


UTILIZING BEST PRACTICE INFORMATIONMANAGEMENT ANDTECHNOLOGY IN THE NORTHERN IRELANDASSEMBLY


The Clerk/Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly documents the various ways the Assembly is exploiting the available technology to help streamline and make every day working more efficient, and changing the way its Members interact with the citizens.


MrTrevorReaney Mr Reaney is Clerk/ Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly in Belfast. He was appointed Clerk to the Assembly/ Chief Executive in August 2008. Before joining the Assembly, Trevor served as Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Policing Board from January 2004 and, prior to that, he held the post of Chief Executive of Craigavon Borough Council from 1996-2003.


Introduction


The Northern Ireland Assembly is the devolved Legislature for Northern Ireland. It is responsible for making laws on devolved matters and for scrutinizing the work of Ministers and Northern Ireland Executive Departments.


The Assembly sits at Parliament Buildings, Stormont Estate, in Belfast. Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) meet to debate issues, question Ministers, and pass legislation.


The Assembly ensures that it works in an open, transparent and inclusive way with all its internal and external stakeholders. One of the ways that the Assembly is implementing this strategic vision is to continually improve the way its information is accessed, utilising best practice information management and technology.


The Assembly is a relatively new institution. This has allowed the Assembly to consider new and better ways of producing and sharing information and the in-house Information Systems Office has been key to developing these systems.


188 | The Parliamentarian | 2014: Issue Three


“Digital First” Mr Trevor Reaney


Assembly Information Management System (AIMS) The first major system that was developed was the Assembly Information Management System (AIMS), a centralised database that records and publishes information on Members and the procedural business of the Assembly.


This database is the foundation upon which all more recent information developments are based and gives us a wealth of information to help increase the knowledge and understanding of the Assembly.


During the last session, the Assembly was working on plans to prepare and implement a “Digital First” strategy. “Digital First” is an approach that seeks to create content and then makes a decision on the appropriate platform for distribution – platforms include smartphones and tablets. The strategy does not point to the end of printing, but rather it is a ‘platform free’ mindset and all-inclusive approach to content production. The strategy permeates all decisions about the way we distribute content, and will allow us to provide our content in ways that encourage our stakeholders to retrieve and use it.


One of the issues that we have been mindful of, in deploying this strategy, is the need to change the culture around disseminating information. To help smoothen out the transition, the Assembly identified those who could be champions for the new strategy to help with its implementation. Assembly Commission Members and Committee Chairs, for example, have shown strong leadership in relation to “Digital First”.


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