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.

 
Chwarae Teg giving evidence: Communities, Equality & Local Government 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.

Tips from a witness perspective

  • Here are some tips from someone who has already been through the process:

  • Consult with stakeholders and partners to understand their views.
  • Focus on key messages.
  • Keep your written response short.
  • Don’t forget to say you are willing to give oral evidence.
  • Prepare thoroughly.
  • Speak to the clerk beforehand to understand the line of questioning.
  • Think what might be asked around those question areas.
  • Know the committee members ( watch committee recordings on Senedd TV ).
  • Take case studies with you if you can and make sure they have seen the written evidence before hand. Make sure everyone is ‘on message’.
  • Be focused. Don’t waste time and get the message across.
  • Don’t waffle. Say if you’re not sure and send information afterwards.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get there. Allow for traffic, accidents etc. It doesn’t look good if you are late.
  • You can check the record afterwards for accuracy. This is not an opportunity to change what you said.
 

Final pointers. Giving evidence to a committee is a really positive experience.

  • These are our final pointers for making it a great success:

  • Do homework in advance.
  • Bring someone along to give a first-hand account.
  • Deliver a clear message.
  • Enjoy the experience!
 

Part 1Advice for preparing written evidence.

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

Part 3How to give oral evidence.

Part 4How to provide good evidence for recording purposes.

Part 5 — Tips from a witness perspective.

 
Chwarae Teg giving evidence: Communities, Equality & Local Government Committee