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.

Recording the evidence.

All committee sessions are transcribed to ensure that there is a record of the session. Transcriptions are lightly edited for ease of reading and published after 10 days.

  • How to provide good evidence for recording purposes:

  • Speak confidently, clearly and at a measured pace.
  • Say everything. Body language cannot be recorded ( e.g. a shrug ).
  • Be specific. Don’t use vague language e.g. ‘here’ or ‘there’.
  • If you want to quote a document, give the full title. Or bring a hard copy to give to committee staff. Use words rather than visually displaying the report.
  • Always be aware that the session is being recorded.
  • Don’t use abbreviations, acronyms or jargon. Such terms are unlikely to be familiar to members, clerks, viewers on Senedd TV. Explain it the first time and then it’s OK to use an abbreviation afterwards.
  • Avoid using noises as response. It’s hard to know what — noises are indicating — ( e.g. mmmmm… – do you agree or not? ).
  • Try not to interrupt . This makes it difficult to hear what speakers have said.
  • Wait for red light to come on for microphone ( you will not need to press anything; the microphone will come on automatically ).
  • Members may ask questions in Welsh and you are free to do the same Translation equipment is provided. so be ready to use the translation equipment if you need to. After using the translation headphones, take them off and put them down on the desk. Try not to put them around your neck when not in use.
  • After giving evidence, you will receive a draft copy of the transcript. This is to check factual accuracy. It is not an opportunity to change what you said.
 

Part 1Advice for preparing written evidence.

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

Part 3How to give oral evidence.

Part 4 — How to provide good evidence for recording purposes.

Part 5Tips from a witness perspective.