Gold dust - and no distracting pens!

  • 6 February 2013
  • From the section Wales
  • comments

Silence is golden so if you're going to break it, do it properly.

If you're an Assembly Member and a member of a scrutiny committee at that, then you're paid - partly - to ask the right, proper and the awkward questions when you get the chance. And yes, I know I am too, before you jump in to point avidly at the plank you've spotted in my own eye.

But as you may have read here and here, AMs have been offered a helping hand, a laminated piece of A4 paper spelling out the "Key rules of scrutiny." It's rather enticingly sub-titled, "the gold dust."

Here goes:

Be clear about your objectives

Scrutinise (not criticise)

Be objective

Be concise

Ask one question at a time

Make an impact - eye contact, no distracting pens!

Have confidence in Committee colleagues and work as a team

This is, says the Assembly Commission, a free-of-cost reminder of some very good advice (which wasn't free, as you may remember).

And better that, is the attitude of some of those I've spoken to today, than some AMs sticking religiously to the scripted questions written for them by the rather bright people who make up the Members Research Service.

One AM who saw the laminated A4 in my hand this afternoon takes a different view. "I know we're not perfect" she said "but honestly. I feel like I should be saying thank you miss!"

A big deal? No, of course not. Then again it seems to be quite a day for things that really aren't a big deal.