Committees: Who's who?
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A committee is made up of Assembly Members from the different political parties represented at the Assembly.
One of these Assembly Members is elected by the Assembly to be the committee chair. During a committee meeting, the committee's Chair usually sits at the head of the table, and is responsible for running the meeting. The Chair will aim to ensure that there is a fair balance of opportunities for committee members to ask questions and for witnesses to respond.
The number of members on a committee varies. A committee's webpage will list the names of the Assembly Members who are part of the committee.
If a Member cannot attend a particular committee meeting, they may ask another member of their political party to attend instead.
Ministers are not members of committees.
In addition to the committee members, a number of officials may be present at a committee meeting:
- the committee clerk advises the chair on procedural matters and is responsible for the overall running of the committee's business;
- the deputy committee clerk assists the clerk in his/her duties and takes a note of key things that happen in the meeting;
- the Record of Proceedings official takes notes throughout the meeting for producing a full transcript of proceedings;
- the researcher(s) provides committee members with written briefings and further advice or information at the meeting if required. They follow the proceedings of the meeting to gather information for future work;
- the legal adviser(s) advises the committee on points of law and any legal issues that arise during the meeting;
- the committee support officer shows witnesses in and out of the meeting room and explains practical aspects to them, such as use of the headsets. The committee support officer is on hand to assist the clerk and deputy clerk during the meeting;
- simultaneous translators and broadcasting engineers are behind the tinted glass screens in the committee rooms, to provide translation in different languages, and make sure any technology used in the meeting runs smoothly.