Tuesday not only sees the weekly House of Keys sitting, but another extraordinary sitting of Tynwald.
Following the usual prayers and suspension of standing orders, the Chief Minister will start the world’s greatest free (not really) show with a statement on Covid. This will be followed up by the Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford moving the Manx Care Act and Social Services Act.
The Manx Care Act will ‘will bring in a statutory organisational duty of candour for the DHSC and Manx Care, which requires each of these organisations to be open and honest (and, as a result, have the structures in place to support their staff to be open and honest)’. The Social Services Act will allow the Social Services Independent Review Body to review unresolved complaints that have been made in relation to social care services provided by Manx Care or service providers that Manx Care has commissioned.
After Tynwald is done with MHKs will be going off into their group project to see if they can better last week’s abysmal House of Keys Question Time when only four questions were actually taken.
That showing did not impress Speaker Juan Watterson who told members: ‘I have not allowed more supplementary questions than I usually would but I would say that the length of both the questions and answers was rather much longer than usual and we’re not going to make much progress on questions if we can continue that.’
Kicking off this week is Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Jason Moorhouse who is asking the Chief Minister when the media were informed about the independent review of the DoI, which is being carried out by Beamans? The best kept secret in gov was only revealed on Facebook and no statement about its existence has yet been made outside of a written answer to Liberal Vannin leader Lawrie Hooper last week when he enquired about its terms of reference.
Mr Moorhouse will also ask what action the DoI took in relation to the decision by the amenity sites to remain closed during lockdown? And who is responsible for the quality and content of the homepage of the official Isle of Man Government website gov.im; and how regularly the website is updated?
Garff MHK Martyn Perkins wants to know how much it has cost the taxpayer to subsidise the Liverpool, Manchester and Heathrow routes in the last 12 months?
Arguably the most interesting question of the week goes to Onchan MHK Julie Edge who will ask the Education Minister what advice was issued to the Council of Ministers by clinical leads and the Director of Public Health, which led to the decision to keep schools open on March 1?
But the most poignant question comes from Douglas South MHK Claire Christian who is asking the Health Minister what the target time is to speak to a person in crisis and the target achieved rate, after a concerned family member or friend has telephoned the Crisis Team; and what action the Crisis Team takes if it is unable to contact the person in crisis within the target time?
Mrs Christian has been vocal on social media this week about the importance of allowing all questions to be taken and answered in Keys. Only one hour is allowed for Question Time and extending it is essentially in the gift of the Council of Ministers. Last week CoMin was roundly criticised on social media for voting not to extend it, whether they do or not this week remains to be seen but I fear Mrs Christian may be disappointed.
Elsewhere there are also Bills for the MHKs to consider, with the Enterprise (Aviation and Merchant Shipping)(Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2021 receiving its first reading.
Meanwhile the Landlord Registration (Private Housing) Bill and the Competition Bill are due for their clauses stage. This is the second week both Bills have been before MHKs and given the number of proposed amendments yet to be moved for the former, it may prove to be another long day for members.
And if they do manage to clear all of that, they also have the Justice Reform Bill back before them as they consider amendments made by the Legislative Council.