On Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 July 2016, Politics Plus welcomed the Chevening Delegation to Parliament Buildings for a study visit. Chevening is the UK government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders. Ten students and one member of staff from Northern Ireland Co-operation Overseas Ltd (NI-CO) participated in a programme of workshops designed to enhance their knowledge of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The delegation began their visit with a welcome and introduction to the Northern Ireland Assembly from Dr Gareth McGrath, Director of Parliamentary Services, and Executive Director of Politics Plus. This introduction was followed by a tour of Parliament Buildings.
Monday’s agenda began in earnest with a briefing from Alastair Ross, MLA, Junior Minister, Executive Office, on the roles and responsibilities of a Minister. Alastair also spoke to the delegation about his role as an elected representative for the DUP, his role as an MLA, and the work that this entails.
As well as receiving further briefings from Dr McGrath on the; Institutional arrangements; Intergovernmental Relationships and the work of Politics Plus, including international work in Egypt, Iraq and the Philippines; the delegation received a briefing from a senior official from the Executive Office. This briefing gave the delegation an overview of the Northern Ireland Executive Office.
The second day of the programme included a meeting with David Ford, MLA. Mr Ford spoke to the group about his role as leader of the Alliance Party, Member of Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and his previous role as Justice Minister.
The programme concluded with a briefing from Susie Brown, Head of Communications and Engagement at the Northern Ireland Assembly. Susie outlined to the delegation the many ways in which the media and engagement is vital to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The Chevening delegates indicated that their time spent with Politics Plus was insightful and enabled them to gain a much fuller understanding of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the work that goes on inside Parliament Buildings on a daily basis.
Further information regarding Chevening can be found here: http://www.chevening.org/