I believe it’s really important for Civil Servants and partners we work with in the Criminal Justice Sector to see MoJ Ministers in action, as they face questions from the opposition and a range of MPs. Doing this helps connect the work we do every day to how our elected politicians view and shape the system we work in.
To that end, I wanted to offer an opportunity for a facilitated session which gives insight into how MoJ oral questions are answered and how the department prepares for them. Who even decides what questions get asked? How does the minister prepare the answer? What part do Civil Servants play in this?
I’ve been preparing a short presentation on the role of Parliament, MPs, and the purpose of parliamentary questions. Some of it may surprise you, but I’m hoping anyone who attends the event will come away from it feeling closer to the centre of it and that the work you do whether on the front line or in the support services feels more relevant to the direction we are taking as a country. In short, that you are making a contribution for the national good.
If you can join the session, you will watch the questions session in the chamber and see how Ministers answer those questions. There will also be a wash-up session at the end where we can dissect and examine some of the content.
Whilst we do not know at this stage what questions Ministers will be asked (this can be very dynamic!) it is safe to assume they will be questioned closely about how MoJ services will emerge from the lockdown and when. For example, when prison visits will be allowed and how safe it is for probation officers to resume face to face meetings with service users under supervision. There may be other, 'business as usual' questions, for example, on the shape of the probation system, when the latest reforms will be completed, and the nature of the new prison builds announced last week. These are issues close to us all and what better way to form a view than to hear it direct from the source?
It's a very interesting point in history on many fronts and in years to come it would be significant to say that when it happened, you were actually there – virtually!
Join me for the next session of MoJ Orals questions on 14th July, which will be the last before the summer recess.