Time to Shine: How to give evidence to an Assembly committee.

Introduction.

As a whole, there tend to be more men than women giving evidence to committee inquiries in the National Assembly for Wales. Between July 2011 and March 2014, there were some 369 witness appearances before the Enterprise and Business Committee.

Only 110 of those appearances were female and this number falls to 96 if the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport is taken out of the equation.

Based on these figures, women account for 26% of witnesses called to give evidence to the Committee. Because the proportion of women is low, we have worked with the National Assembly to run a training session for women to build confidence and develop skills.

We were only able to offer this training to a small number of women and so we have developed this resource pack in order that more women can benefit.

A Chair’s advice for giving oral evidence.

  • Here are the key things to remember when giving evidence from a Chair’s perspective:

  • At the start of the session, you may be asked if you have any initial comments. If this happens, you can either take the opportunity to share your top three points (no more) or say you are happy to go straight to questions.
  • It can be very worthwhile to bring someone with you. This could be a case study to provide a real life example of the points you are making.
  • Be succinct. You will be with the committee for a short amount of time and members will want to cover as much as possible.
  • You a re not expected to know everything so if the question is outside your area of expertise, just say so and move on.
  • It is the Chair’s job to bring you through the process. If you are not performing at your best as a result of the committee environment, that is the Chair’s responsibility.
  • Make sure you ask for feedback from the Clerk afterwards.
  • And most importantly, do not disqualify yourself. You have been invited because the committee wants to hear your views so have confidence in your knowledge and expertise.
 

Part 1Advice for preparing written evidence.

Part 2 — A Chair’s advice for giving oral evidence.

Part 3How to give oral evidence.

Part 4How to provide good evidence for recording purposes.

Part 5Tips from a witness perspective.