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Click on each businessarea for further information on how the Assembly operates...

Clerk/Chief Executive - Lesley HoggThe role of the Clerk/Chief Executive comprises three important elements.First, as Clerk she is responsible for the provision of procedural advice to the Speaker and Members of the Assembly.Secondly, as Chief Executive she is responsible to the Assembly Commission for the management of the administrative support services to the Assembly.Thirdly, the Clerk/Chief Executive is the Accounting Officer for the Assembly's budget.

Corporate Support UnitThe Corporate Support Unit is comprised of the Commission / Chief Executive's Office and the Speaker's Office.

Commission and Clerk / Chief Executive's OfficeThe Commission and Clerk / Chief Executive’s Office is responsible for supporting the Clerk/ Chief Executive in her work, providing advice and support to the members of the Assembly Commission and supporting the meetings of the Assembly Commission and Secretariat Management Group.

Office of the SpeakerThe Speaker’s Office is responsible for supporting the Speaker and Deputy Speakers in their procedural responsibilities towards the Assembly as well as supporting the Speaker to fulfil his/her statutory duties and his/her corporate role as Chair of the Assembly Commission. Additionally, the Office manages the representational functions of the Speaker including leading the Assembly on keynote and civic occasions, engaging with the wider community and representing the Assembly in contacts with other regions and parliaments.

Corporate Services UnitThe Corporate Services Directorate is made up of the following business services:Finance OfficeHuman Resources OfficeEquality UnitBuilding Services (including Support Services)Usher Services

Finance OfficeThe Finance Office is responsible for the following functions of the NI Assembly:BudgetingFinancial accounting and management reportingPayroll (Secretariat, Members and Member Support Staff)Secretariat travelProcessing of all Members claims

Human Resources OfficeThe role of the Human Resources Office is to support the delivery of the Assembly Commission’s Corporate Strategy through the provision of high quality HR services.The Office provides a wide range of HR services to support the Assembly Secretariat including: Workforce Planning and ResourcingEquality and DiversityPay, Reward and GradingEmployee RelationsLearning and DevelopmentHealth and WellbeingManaging AttendanceManaging and Developing PerformancePension servicesAt a strategic level, the Human Resources Office is responsible for advising and guiding senior management on organisational change and development and for leading on specific corporate projects.

Usher ServicesThe key roles and responsibilities of Usher Services include:Provision of Usher support to Plenaries and CommitteesManagement of access by persons to Parliament Buildings including use of Assembly Security Management SystemManagement of Assembly ID passes and Visitor Management SystemProvision of security to all users of Parliament BuildingsProvision of security advice when requiredInvestigation of breaches of securityOversight of Emergency evacuation proceduresLiaison with Stormont Estate Management and other organisationsLiaison with relevant organisations in relation to Security reviewsDevelopment and implementation of security proceduresManagement of Internal postal systemManagement of lost property service for the buildingOversight of Assembly car parks

Legal ServicesThe Legal Services Office supports the Director of Legal, Governance and Research Services, who is Counsel to the Speaker. The Office provides legal advice directly to the Clerk, the Speaker and his/her deputies, the Assembly Commission, committees, and the Secretariat on a broad range of issues, including:Public and constitutional lawHuman rights lawInformation law and the law of confidenceEmployment and equality lawEU law (including retained EU law)Procurement and contract law

Information SystemsInformation Systems Office (ISO) provides the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems and services to support the business of the Assembly.There are at present fifteen staff in the ISO team supporting 650+ users including Assembly Members, their staff (including staff in Constituency Offices), Party support staff and Assembly Secretariat staff.Staff are predominantly Information Systems (IS) and Information Technology (IT) specialists and there are a small number of administrative staff.

Internal Audit UnitThe purpose of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission’s (“the Assembly Commission’s”) Internal Audit Unit is to provide independent, objective assurance and control-related consulting services designed to add value and improve the organisation’s operations.The mission of internal audit is to enhance and protect organisational value by providing risk-based and objective assurance, advice and insight. The Internal Audit Unit helps the organisation accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of governance, risk management, and control processes.The scope of internal audit activities encompasses, but is not limited to, objective examinations of evidence for the purpose of providing independent assessments to the Accounting Officer, the Secretariat Management Group (SMG), the Secretariat Audit & Risk Committee (SARC) and management on the adequacy and effectiveness of governance, risk management, and control processes. Internal audit assessments include evaluating whether:Risks relating to the achievement of objectives are appropriately identified and managed;Operations are in compliance with the organisation’s policies, procedures and governance standards;The results of operations are consistent with established goals and objectives;Operations are being carried out effectively and efficiently;Information and the means used to identify, measure, analyse, classify, and report such information are reliable and have integrity; andResources and assets are acquired economically, used efficiently, and protected adequately.The work of the Unit is directed by a risk-based annual plan approved by SMG and endorsed by SARC. In addition to planned risk-based audit engagements, Internal Audit may be required to conduct special reviews, e.g. under the terms of the Fraud Prevention and Anti-Bribery Response Plan.Governance OfficerThe primary purpose of the Governance Officer is to actively support and advise the Clerk/ Chief Executive and the Director of Legal, Governance & Research Services in carrying out governance duties.The Governance Officer maintains and develops the Assembly Commission’s Corporate Governance Framework and Risk Management Strategy, timetabling and coordinating key governance tasks throughout the year, providing secretarial support to the Secretariat Audit and Risk Committee (“SARC”), coordinating stewardship statements, facilitating the necessary reviews of Directorate Risk Registers and the Corporate Risk Register.

Equality UnitThe Equality and Good Relations Unit provides support for the Assembly Commission to ensure it is compliant with all the statutory requirements of section 75(1&2) of the Northern Ireland Act and section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.Section 75 compliance:provide advice and support in respect of the NI Assembly Equality Schemearrange relevant training for Secretariat staff on section 75 awareness, front line service provision and policy screeningadvise and assist business areas in carrying out policy screening and equality impact assessments (EQIAs)compile an annual report on the progress of the Equality Scheme to the Equality Commission Northern Ireland (ECNI)conduct a review of the Equality Scheme within 3 years of its approval by ECNIDisability Discrimination Act compliance:provide advice and support to business areas in respect of the Disability Action Plancompile an annual report on the progress of the Disability Action Plan to ECNIfacilitate an informal Working Group consisting of representatives of people with disabilities, to assist and guide all future consultation exercises and implementation of the actions within the Disability Action Plan;conduct a review of the Disability Action Plan within 3 years of approval by ECNI

Building Services (including Support Services)Building Services Branch is responsible for all accommodation and associated services, some of which are:Allocation of accommodationProvision and allocation of all furniture requirements and subsequent office layoutsBuilding managementEnergy managementBuilding maintenanceMaintenance of all fire prevention equipmentProvision of telephones, voicemail and mobile telephonesDevelopment of health and safety policyRoom Moves - Vacating Office ProceduresBuilding Services Branch provides a proactive service to Members and all those who work in the building. Building Services Branch also liaises with outside agencies in respect of maintenance and works.

Parliamentary ServicesThe Parliamentary Services Directorate is made up of the following business services:CommitteesBusiness OfficeBusiness OfficeCommunicationsOfficial Report and Public EngagementInformation Systems

Bill Office and CommitteesRole of the Bill OfficeThe Bill Office supports the work of the Assembly in its consideration of primary legislation by preparing and arranging the publication of all primary legislative documents; and by providing information and advice on the primary legislative process to the Speaker, Members, Assembly Officials, Departments and others.The Bill Office is responsible for:facilitating the passage of primary legislation through the Assemblyproviding guidance and assistance to the Speaker, Committee Clerks and Memberson all matters related to primary legislation; in particular amendments to billsassisting the Speaker and Deputy Speakers during the plenary sessions of the Assembly on billsproducing Notices of Amendments, Marshalled Lists of Amendments and Speaker's Provisional Grouping of Amendments List prior to the Consideration and Further Consideration Stages of a billproducing bills as Introduced at First Stage, and re-printing bills when amended at the Consideration and Further Consideration Stagesproducing copies of Acts for publicationAssembly LegislationStanding CommitteesThe Northern Ireland Act 1998 and Assembly Standing Orders numbers 51, 52 and 54 to 59 provide for the establishment of standing committees.Standing committees are permanent committees of the Assembly and have specific roles assigned to them within Standing Orders.Statutory CommitteesSection 29(1)(a) of the Northern Ireland Act (1998) requires that Standing Orders 'make provision for establishing committees of Members of the Assembly (statutory committees) to advise and assist each Northern Ireland minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within his/her responsibilities as a minister'.

Business Office and CommitteesBusiness OfficeThe Business Office exists to support plenary meetings of the Assembly, to provide procedural advice to the Speaker and Members and to maintain the legal record of the Assembly's proceedings. In all matters of business or procedure the Business Office operates in accordance with the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and Standing Orders, guided further by Speakers' rulings.In this context it is responsible for the:Handling of Motions and Amendments to MotionsScheduling of requests for Adjournment DebatesTabling of Questions to Ministers and the Assembly CommissionConduct of Voting in the AssemblyFacilitation of the laying and presenting of documentsStanding CommitteesThe Northern Ireland Act 1998 and Assembly Standing Orders numbers 51, 52 and 54 to 59 provide for the establishment of standing committees.Standing committees are permanent committees of the Assembly and have specific roles assigned to them within Standing Orders.Statutory CommitteesSection 29(1)(a) of the Northern Ireland Act (1998) requires that Standing Orders 'make provision for establishing committees of Members of the Assembly (statutory committees) to advise and assist each Northern Ireland minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within his/her responsibilities as a minister'.

Communications OfficeThe Communications Office provides information about the work of the Assembly to the media, public, government departments, and other key stakeholders. The Communications Office is at the centre of the strategy for engaging the wider public in the life of the Assembly.We work with the local, national, and international media, managing media access and accommodation at Parliament Buildings, manage the Assembly’s website, social media and other online services, and oversee the Assembly’s broadcasting and advertising needs.

Official Report and Public EngagementThis business area is made up of four distinct offices, namely the Official Report (Hansard), the Events Office, the Education Service and the Outreach and Engagement Office.The Official Report (Hansard) The Official Report (Hansard) does exactly what its name suggests — it produces the official reports (an official report is essentially a transcript) for all sittings of the Assembly and most of the Assembly’s Committee meetings.The Events OfficeStaff in the Events Office are responsible for organising and managing a wide variety of events that take place in Parliament Buildings, including corporate events and weddings/receptions, and also manage and provide a programme of public and private tours.The Education ServiceThe Education Service develops and delivers a range of educational programmes and events (both in Parliament Buildings and externally) aimed largely, but not exclusively, at young people and teachers to raise awareness and understanding of the work of the Assembly, and it also has its own dedicated website.The Outreach and Engagement Office also delivers a range of events, programmes and visits aimed increasing awareness and understanding of, and participation in, the work of the Assembly and also looks after the Assembly’s various inter-parliamentary activities and relationships, for example membership of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly

Legal, Governance and Research ServicesThe Legal, Governance and Research Services Directorate is made up of the following business services:Legal Services OfficeExaminer of Statutory RulesInformation StandardsInternal Audit UnitGovernance ServicesRaISeProcurement Office

Examiner of Statutory Rules and Information StandardsExaminer of Statutory RulesUnder the Standing Orders of the Assembly, the Examiner of Statutory Rules carries out technical scrutiny of subordinate legislation where delegated to do so by the Committees of the Assembly reporting to the Committees and the Assembly.Information StandardsThe Information Standards Office is responsible for the following functions –Compliance with legal obligations imposed by the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Data Protection legislation, including the Data Protection Act 2018, as well as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR);Assurance of records and information management practises to specified standards.

Research and Information Service (RaISe)The Research and Information Service (RaISe) provides the Northern Ireland Assembly with impartial, objective, timely and non-partisan information and research.Our support services consist of two, interlinked components: Library and Research.LibraryThe Library maintains a collection of hard copy and electronic publications to support the work of the Assembly in subject areas such as government and politics, public administration and social policy, constitutional law and the history of Northern Ireland.The Library team assist MLAs and Assembly staff in sourcing additional publications, where resources allow, as well as conducting fact-finding, literature searches and legislation tracking.Plenary debates are supported through Library produced Information Packson Private Members’ Motions and selected Committee Motions.The Library is also responsible for Deposited Papers, which are unpublished papers placed in the Library at the direction of the Speaker or a Minister in the ExecutiveResearchFour teams of research specialists support MLAs and Assembly Committeesin their work scrutinising the Executive, proposing legislation, and supporting constituents. Together, the four research teams provide the following services:In-depth, analytical briefings regarding policy, legislation and public finance.Bill papers addressing Executive and non-Executive legislative proposals.Research to assist MLAs develop proposals for private member’s legislation.Research to help MLAs respond to matters of concern to their constituents.Statistical services addressing all aspects relating to the collection and use of data.Mapping services and Geographical Information Systems (GIS).Workshops and seminars, including the Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series’ (KESS) which is delivered in partnership with local universities.

Procurement OfficeThe Procurement Office provides professional purchasing expertise, including advice and direction on good (procurement) practice, to ensure propriety, efficiency, best value and compliance with legal obligations including:Development and implementation of procurement policies and procedures across the SecretariatInterpreting, negotiating and purchasing contracts over £30,000 in valueMonitoring and reviewing supply and service contracts to ensure quality and value for moneyDirectorates and offices have delegated authority, under the Procurement Procedures, for procurements up to £30,000 in value.