Tynwald sits for the first time this year on January 21, here’s a snapshot of what to look out for. We have written a separate piece on the changes to cannabis legislation, which can be read here. 

Education reform

Education Minister Dr Al will set out a motion that will start the ball rolling on the interim framework for the DESC which separates and clarifies responsibilities across areas such as accountability, quality assurance, policy and advisory services. This comes after a report which was highly critical of the way the department was previously run and said that ‘the relationship between the DESC and schools is fractured and must be repaired’. This new interim framework will be reviewed after 12 months ahead of further changes due to be made under the next administration.

Grandparents’ rights

Following a Tynwald committee review into grandparents’ rights to see their grandchildren, the gov has accepted both of its recommendations. The Children and Young Person Act 2001, is to be amended to entitle grandparents and other extended family members to apply directly to the courts for access. However, the current gov says the review of this Act is not due before the end of the HQ administration so will be looked at after this year’s General Election. Secondly, ministers have noted that legal aid is available to fund mediation services in those cases and they also support further engagement with the Law Society to encourage its members to further develop family mediation services and to promote existing services more broadly.

Health and Social Care annual report

The DHSC’s annual report for the year 2019/20 will be laid before Tynwald this month, here are the key facts and figures:

  • 88,151 patients seen by GPs

  • 4,500 individuals received support from Mental Health Services

  • 26,481 eye tests 

  • 1,632,592 prescriptions issued

  • 2,808 people worked across DHSC on permanent basis

  • 43,359 hospital appointments 

  • £21m spent on off island care for Manx patients

  • 45 providers commissioner to deliver services

  • £8m overspend approved by Tynwald in January 2020

Conflict of interest

An important one this, Onchan MHK Julie Edge is seeking support for her motion that Tynwald is of the opinion that every public body subject to Isle of Man Government Financial Regulations should publish in real time every conflict register which it holds and that equivalent registers should be published in real time. This may sound dry but is an important step for transparency in the island.

Housing

Arbory Castletown and Malew MHK Jason Moorhouse is to seek members’ support for an all island review of housing to look at issues such as whether there are sufficient options for first time buyers and how improvements can be made. Mr Moorhouse also wants to look at the feasibility of second time purchasing. 

Covid

Douglas Central MHK Chris Thomas has a curious motion going before Tynwald which is largely supportive of the actions taken by the gov in response to Covid. But part five of his motion would require CoMin to bring a report to Tynwald next month on the creation of the Emergency Advisory Group and the broad advice and input it has had provision to support decision making.

Brexit

Be honest, did you ever think we’d miss all that Brexit chatter? Arguing with strangers on social media about fishing policy and car manufacturing. Anyway it’s back, Mr Thomas will move a motion which supports the approval of the principles governing the UK’s future relationship with the EU, calls for all correspondence between Tynwald and Westminster on the final deal to be made public and to lay a report in March on how the island’s strategic goals were achieved and what questions are still open.

Not to be outshone, the gov will also move on Brexit as Chief Min HQ will start a general debate on the island’s new trading relationship with Europe and beyond.