Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly
Description of Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly
The Clerk of the National Assembly is a Constitutional Office Holder. The Clerk has a public administrative role as well as being a specialist in the rules of parliamentary procedure and practice. As departmental head, the Clerk administers the Parliament Office. However, the exercise of this responsibility is qualitatively different to the exercise of the normal administrative functions of a departmental head, because decisions made or advice given may often be subject to the scrutiny of all Members of the National Assembly and the public at large.
The Clerk administers a department of staff members and is responsible for providing services to the Speaker and the Assembly, including the Prime Minister, Ministers, Party leaders; “shadow” Ministers and private Members. The Management role of the Clerk covers the usual range of departmental functions, including appointments, discipline, attendance, hours of duty, overtime, leave, salaries, etc. This may be described as his ‘public administrative role’.
Apart from his public administrative responsibilities, the Clerk is responsible for procedural matters both inside and outside the Parliament Chamber. In this capacity the Clerk has numerous responsibilities laid down in the Standing Orders which are derived from the Constitution.
The Clerk also performs important functions in the legislative process. As each bill is passed by the Assembly and before it is sent to the President for his assent, the Clerk must satisfy himself that the bill is as determined by the Assembly, and certify that it has been passed by the Assembly.
When the Assembly proceeds to elect a new Speaker the Clerk assumes the role of Chairman of the National Assembly calling on the proposer and seconder and putting such questions as are necessary until the Speaker’s Chair is filled.
The Clerk must also assist in the smooth running of the Chamber by the provision of routine support services, documentation and advice. To do this the Clerk must have extensively knowledge and experience in the interpretation of the Standing Orders, in parliamentary practice and precedent, and in the requirements of the Constitution insofaras they affect the functions and tasks of the Assembly. He is also required to be informed on the law and practice of the United Kingdom House of Commons from which much of the Assembly’s practice is derived.
Office of the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly
Description of Office of the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly
The Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly is also a Constitutional Office Holder. The Deputy Clerk attends Sittings of the National Assembly and assists the Clerk in the execution of his administrative and procedural duties (see Clerk of the National Assembly).
The Deputy Clerk is the Accounting Officer of the Parliament Office and co-ordinates all human resources and the physical maintenance of the Public Buildings.
The Legislative Department
Description of The Legislative Department
This Department comprises of the Supervisor and two (2) Legislative Clerks.
The functions of the Department are:-
• Advise the Speaker of the National Assembly on the admissibility of Bills, Motions, Questions and Amendments;
• To coordinate Private Member’s Business: including Petitions, Motions to adjourn the Assembly on Definite matters of Urgent Public Importance, Questions, Motions, Bills, Notices of Motions and Private Bills.
• To provide advice on Parliamentary Procedure to Members of Parliament, public servants, academics and parliamentary officials from other countries, and also provide advice on Parliamentary Practice and precedents to Members of Parliament.
• To assist in the preparation of the Order Paper and Minutes of the National Assembly.
• To answer queries about the business of the National Assembly.
• To coordinate the external activities of the Parliament of Guyana.
• To receive, number and proof read Bills for grammatical and other errors.
• To ensure all Acts of Parliament are conveyed in a timely manner to the Head of the Presidential Secretariat for His Excellency’s assent, and to convey all Acts and Bills of Parliament to the Guyana National Printers for publication and reproduction of copies.
• To keep accurate records of all Bills received by the Parliament Office, Acts passed by the National Assembly , and the sale and distribution of legislation.
• To manage the sale of legislation at the Parliament Office.
The Committes Division
Description of The Committes Division
The Committees Division which was established in May 2003 provides secretarial, administrative support and procedural advice to all the Committees of the National Assembly. Each Committee is provided with a Clerk and an Assistant Clerk of Committee and, where necessary a researcher.
The Division is managed by the Head of Committees Division who plays an important role in the coordination of resources between the other departments and in the dissemination of information to and from the Committees Division.
Description of Hansard Division
Hansard is the name of the edited and printed record of what was said in Parliament. It is named after Thomas Curson Hansard, an early printer and publisher of transcripts of parliamentary debates in the Westminster system of governance. The Hansard also includes ministerial statements and written answers to parliamentary questions.
The Hansard Division within the Guyana Parliament was re-established on July 13, 2009 and is responsible for the verbatim reports of both the National Assembly and Parliamentary Committees. Instead of the court reporting system, the staff of this Division make use of computer aided technology to aid in the transcription process.
Description of Library Department
The Parliamentary library which comprises the research unit of the Parliament Office is the heart of the Parliament as it has the capacity to provide knowledgeable, timely, non-partisan information services to all Members of Parliament, staff and the general public.
Responsibilities of the Librarian:
• Ensuring that books, journals and other printed materials are available to Members of Parliament in support of their legislative functions;
• Responding efficiently to requests from Members of Parliament and Parliament staff, for documents that are considered necessary for the performance of Parliamentary duties.
• Maintaining a definitive collection of sessional papers and other documents related to the business of proceedings of the National Assembly their Committees.
• Ensures that all materials house in library are catalogue for easy retrieval.
The Library also offers services in the following areas to Members of Parliament, staff and the general public:
• Reference and Research (only Members of Parliament)
• Library Services
Expenditure, Planning & Management
Description of Expenditure, Planning & Management
The Finance Department comprises the Expenditure Planning & Management Unit (EPMU). The EPMU deals with budgetary and strategic issues, and advises management on matters relating to financial data of programmes to facilitate informed decision making.
The key outputs of the Unit are:
• Multi Year Plans
• Strategic Plans and Analysis
• Business Plans and Programme forecasting
• Timely collection and analysis of programme financial data
• Monthly analysis of programme and production of financial reports
• Agency Revised Programme Activity Structure
• Analysis of Economic and Financial Data
• Resource planning and allocation
Information Technology Section
Description of Information Technology Section
The Information Technology Section provides technological support to all members of staff and members of parliament during sittings of the National Assembly, maintains wired and wireless networks, website and live streaming.
The Section is managed by the Systems Development Co-ordinator who plays an important role in developing, co-ordinating and maintaining the Parliament Office’s information system and, ensuring that the Office is utilizing appropriate and available computer and informatics technology in all its services and systems to meet the Office’s objectives.
Description of Accounts Section
The Accounts Section of the Parliament Office of the National Assembly of the Parliament of Guyana is responsible for the day to day running of the financial aspect of the Office.
This includes the payment of salary and allowances to all the Ministers of the Government, including the Prime Minister, Attorney General, Auditor General, Speaker of the National Assembly, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament, Clerk of the National Assembly, Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly and the staff of the Parliament Office.
It is also responsible for the reimbursement of travelling and subsistence to Members of Parliament and other representatives from various organizations where required to attend meetings of Parliamentary Committee, Sub-Committees and Sittings of the National Assembly.
The Section remits Subsidies and Contributions to Local and International Organizations with which the Parliament of Guyana holds membership.
It assists with the annual preparation of the Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue for the Parliament Office.
Description of Personnel Section
The Personnel Section carries out the processes of recruitment, dismissal, performance appraisal, rules and regulations, leave, records management, preparation of record of service and computation of Members of Parliament (MPs) superannuation benefits, staff welfare and, training and development for the staff of the Parliament Office.
It is also charged with functions relating to staff compensation/benefits and industrial relations matters. Its main objective is to meet the organizational needs and the needs of the individuals hired to work at the Parliament Office.
The Section is managed by the Senior Personnel Officer who plays an important role in the implementation of Personnel policies and practices.
Public Relations Department
Description of Public Relations Department
The Parliamentary Public Relations Office, which was established in 2009, is administratively responsible to the office of the Clerk.
• Foster the good corporate image of the institution of Parliament
• Disseminate accurate information and educate the public on the operations and functions of Parliament
• Enhance the public awareness and understanding of Parliament
• To facilitate the daily media coverage of Parliament's plenary sitting and committee meetings
• To produce the staff bulletins
• To inform and educate the Public about Parliament
• Conducting tours
• Development of public outreach programs e.g. school outreach
• Television productions
• To stream proceedings
• The preparation of publications and educational material
• Foster good image of Parliament
• To update information on the Parliament website
• To manage the interface between the Parliament of Guyana and other Parliaments
• To manage the interface between the Parliament of Guyana and the wider public
Description of Registry
The Registry Department comprises of the Supervisor, three (3) Typist Clerks, one (1) Telephonist, five (5) Office Assistants and three (3) Vehicle Drivers.
This department is responsible for providing services to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Members of Parliament, Parliament staff and members of the public. The staff of this department is required to be present during sittings of the National Assembly.
The functions of the Department are:-
• Typing of correspondences for the office;
• Compiling and filing of all general and personal files for the office;
• Photocopying of documents for the office;
• Receiving all incoming and dispatching all outgoing correspondences;
• The Office Assistants perform the role of Parliamentary Attendants during Sittings of the National Assembly and Meetings of Parliamentary Committees;
• Provides transportation for use by the staff of the office.
Security and Maintenance Section
Description of Security and Maintenance Section
The Security and Maintenance Section is responsible for the maintenance, cleaning and internal security of the Public Buildings.
The Section is managed by the Sergeant-of-Arms who is responsible for performing ceremonial duties during Sittings of the National Assembly and plays an important role in the general maintenance, cleaning and internal security of the Parliament Office.
Responsibilities of the Sergeant-of-Arms:
• Prepares the Parliament Chamber, Lobby and Committee Room for Sittings of the National Assembly and Official Visits.
• Precedes the Speaker, bearing the Mace; announces the Speaker to the Members of Parliament and performs the related procedural functions during Sittings of the National Assembly.
• Taking full responsibility for all security measures.
• Keeps inventory record of the Parliament Office.
• Supervises the Charwomen in regard to the cleaning of the Parliament Office.
• Arranges with the Clerk/Deputy Clerk for maintenance works to be carried out to furniture, building and compound.