The principal clerk to a committee sets the tone for the way that their team works. We suggest setting a specific objective for each principal clerk to ensure their teams are working in an integrated way – this could be supported by guidance on approaches eg how to seek feedback from wider teams, the role of big tent meetings at the start of a piece of work. We could ask all the relevant teams to feed back on how effective this has been at the end of test period.
Giving clear action points and deadlines not just for the next week, but for the coming few weeks with weekly work programme reviews, is incredibly useful for colleagues supporting multiple committees at the same time. The relationships vary a lot - some clerks commission work from researchers within a very defined scope, others expect more initiative and direction-setting. When switching committees it's good to know what is expected of you!
Given that many papers for committees are produced by offices other than clerking, we need a shared culture and tone across offices. This should align with our values, and in particular should respect the time of others - including offices who often have competing requirements to support members in all their other guises - beyond committees. We should work more to understand the pressures on each other across the board.
I find the big tent meetings at the beginning of a piece of work incredibly helpful. It allows contributions from across the board on the likely issues/problems and options so that people have a clearer understanding of what can be achieved. As someone who works across lots of committees, it also really helps me to make connections with everyone else involved.
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