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NORTHERN IRELAND: ICT MANAGEMENT


to include Official Report (Hansard) debates, a Register of Members Interests and the publication of Members’ expenses. We will also provide practical examples of how to consume and re-purpose Assembly data, and discussions are currently ongoing with the NI Civil Service and other public bodies to provide more


Committees, which have held evidence sessions from remote locations, using Skype technology. This has now led to a project which will access the feasibility of extending this to all Statutory Committees. The Assembly also feels that if it is to engage with younger people and broader audiences, it may be useful


re-purposing this information in an easy-to-access way via its website. Close collaboration between technical staff and web publishers means we can provide a streamlined response to demands for new and improved web-based services. This has already provided easier navigation for the general public who do not necessarily


requests, the Assembly has moved to placing more information online, such as MLA salaries and expenses. Through initiatives such as “Assembly Community Connect” the Assembly’s Outreach Service has been very active in promoting improved understanding and access to information on the Assembly particularly amongst those sections of the community most difficult to reach.


Future


A typical Electronic Committee Pack as displayed on the Windows 8 tablet device


developments The Assembly continues to introduce new ways of exploiting the available technology. One idea, brought forward by the Clerks of Committees is the possibility of providing a modified Committee pack to accompany the agenda published on the Assembly website and linked to from the live video stream. This would open up the Committee’s activities to anyone interested in the way the Assembly carries out its responsibilities. The Information Systems Office is also continuing to engage with an ever wider group of stakeholders, by attending external events such as ‘Hackathons’ for software developers and designers and


linked data services, facilitating joined- up government data publishing. We have begun early discussions with local broadcasters to provide bespoke data services and information for the forthcoming Assembly elections.


Broadening access through technology


Another use of new technology has been trialed by Assembly


to encourage and accept evidence or submissions via new technologies such as Vine and Instagram.


Making information accessible The AIMS system provides a complete historical record of Assembly Membership and proceedings in a single place. As mentioned earlier, the Assembly has been proactive in


have a full understanding of Assembly procedure.


However, there is more that can be done and will be done to improve access and transparency. The Assembly is striving to ensure that its information is easily understood and, wherever possible, uses the standards of Plain English.


Based on the number and type of Freedom of Information


researching how the use of geo- tagging and location information could provide valuable data for the public, politicians and research staff. The technological innovations available to the Assembly are changing and developing every day. We are determined to use them to improve both the way that the Assembly carries out its work and the way that we interact with all of our citizens.


The Parliamentarian | 2014: Issue Three | 191


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