Politics Plus was launched in February 2013, with the objective of enhancing the capacity of Members of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and representatives of political parties.
Through our work we strive to:
• provide the highest quality professional development opportunities for elected representatives, party support staff and public officials;
• promote engagement between elected representatives and public officials at all levels of government;
• strengthen the role of women and young people in political and public life; and
• deliver international development and exchange programmes for elected representatives and public officials in states affected by conflict and instability.
Since our launch, we have developed and delivered a range of highly successful programmes. These include stand-alone sessions on topics such as Scrutiny of Legislation and Effective Questioning, as well as more intensive courses, including our innovative Political Leadership Programme.
A joint initiative focused on best practice has been developed with the National Assembly for Wales to enhance the leadership skills of Committee Chairpersons.
In addition, we have built up a register of expert advisers who have been carefully selected to work on a one-to-one basis with Members for our Experts in Residence Programme.
In a bid to fulfil another of our core objectives, strengthening the role of women, we have developed and launched various programmes targeted at redressing the gender imbalance in political and public life.
Our Women in Politics Leadership Programme came to a close in June 2015. Building upon the success of this initiative, we launched our Women in Public Life Programme on 30th October 2015. We held a Young Female Leaders Academy in October 2015, the aim of which was to inspire young women to explore careers in politics and public life.
In 2015, we remained dedicated to encouraging the next generation of political leaders and community activists. By way of example, we provided support to the Northern Ireland Members of the UK Youth Parliament in conjunction with the British Council. This enabled them to attend the 15th sitting of the Youth Parliament in Exeter from 31 July to 2 August.
Politics Plus has also realised increased prominence internationally through our work with post-conflict societies in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and beyond, who are keen to take advantage of the lessons that have been learned in Northern Ireland.
Our work, though diverse in nature, is focused on one aim: promoting positive politics.