Assembly Branches

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Legislative Assembly branches and staff provide professional non-partisan services to support the democratic institution of Parliament and its members through procedural advice, administrative support, and information services.



Office of the Speaker

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As the Legislative Assembly's most senior official, the Speaker serves as the impartial presiding officer. The provincial Constitution Act provides for the election of the Speaker, and describes certain other duties and roles of the position. The Speaker fulfils procedural, administrative, and representative responsibilities related to the Legislative Assembly.

Procedural Responsibilities

In the Legislative Assembly, the Speaker presides over debates, maintains order, and ensures that Members abide by the Standing Orders which govern conduct and procedures in the House.

Administrative Responsibilities

The Speaker chairs the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, the statutory all-party committee that reviews and approves operating policy for the Legislative Assembly and governs the Assembly's financial affairs, including the review and approval of Vote 1.

Representative Responsibilities

As the head of the legislative branch of government, the Speaker represents the Legislative Assembly in all relations with external organizations and individuals, and serves as the President of the British Columbia Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

The Office coordinates protocol duties required of the Speaker and/or Members for visiting delegations, official visitors and consular representatives from other jurisdictions, and provides support to the Speaker in the fulfillment of these duties. The Office also assists Members with a wide range of issues and concerns.




Office of the Clerk

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Members are supported in their parliamentary functions by the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, the chief permanent officer of the Legislative Assembly who reports to the Speaker. In addition to procedural responsibilities, the Clerk is also responsible for the overall direction and administration of the Legislative Assembly.

Procedural Responsibilities

The Clerk provides non-partisan procedural advice to the Speaker and all Members of the House and may be consulted at any time regarding procedural and House matters. The Clerk also administers the Oath of Allegiance to duly elected Members and presides over the election of the Speaker.

The Office of the Clerk maintains the records of all parliamentary proceedings, and oversees the preparation of the Orders of the Day and Votes and Proceedings as well as the Journals of the House. The Office also assists with protocol arrangements for legislative functions and ceremonies, and parliamentary visits.

Administrative Responsibilities

The Clerk is responsible for management and administrative services within the Assembly and serves as Clerk to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee (LAMC). In this capacity, the Office of the Clerk is responsible for arranging LAMC meetings, preparing and distributing agendas and supporting materials, and preparing and distributing minutes.




Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms

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The Sergeant-at-Arms is a permanent officer of the House, responsible for the security of the Parliament Buildings and legislative grounds to ensure the House, its committees, and Members are able to conduct their business without disturbance or interruption. The Office provides Chamber services, as well as protective and facility maintenance services.

Chamber Services

The Sergeant-at-Arms has a ceremonial role, which includes carrying the mace into and out of the Chamber during daily sittings, and the black rod when accompanying the Lieutenant Governor.

Related functions of the Office of the Sergeant-at-Arms include custody of the Chamber and its furnishings, custody of bills prior to introduction, the distribution of legislative documents, and providing Chamber attendants and gallery staff during House sittings.

Legislative Assembly Protective Services

Legislative Assembly Protective Services (LAPS) ensures the safety and security of Members, staff, and the public within the legislative precinct. Constituency office security, business continuity planning, parking, card-lock access, and emergency first aid services also fall under the purview of LAPS.

Legislative Facility Services

Legislative Facility Services is responsible for property management, including all building and grounds maintenance, repairs, improvements, and cleaning duties.




Parliamentary Committees Office

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The Parliamentary Committees Office provides non-partisan procedural advice, research, and administrative services to support and facilitate the work of all-party parliamentary committees appointed by the Legislative Assembly. Parliamentary committee activities are reported on a quarterly basis and posted on the Parliamentary Committees Office Intranet homepage.

Procedural and Operational Support

The clerk to each committee is the committee's principal coordinator and adviser regarding parliamentary procedure, committee operations, and public consultation practices. The clerk also prepares documentation to support the work of the committee such as meeting notices, agendas, minutes, websites, and correspondence. The clerk oversees any public consultation arrangements, including travel arrangements for committee members such as air and ground transportation.

Research Services

Under the direction of the research manager, the Parliamentary Committees Research Office provides research services to support the work of parliamentary committees. Each parliamentary committee is assisted by a research analyst who prepares any necessary backgrounders, briefing notes, and summaries of evidence for inquiries. Research services are carried out on behalf of all committee members and all materials, including deliberations on reports, are treated as confidential.

Administrative Services

Office administrative staff provide other assistance to facilitate committee operations such as room bookings, website updates, printing, and other tasks required to support committee members.




Financial Services

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The Financial Services Branch is responsible for providing financial management and administrative support to the Members of the Legislative Assembly, the Assembly offices, caucuses, and constituency offices. It is headed by the Executive Financial Officer who directly advises the Clerk of the House, the Speaker, and the Legislative Assembly Management Committee regarding all matters of a financial nature, and provides functional direction and guidance to Assembly branch managers.

Financial Management Services

The office provides financial services, the processing of claims, expenses, and allowances (Members, caucuses, and branches), transaction compliance review and accounting, communication and advice on financial policies and procedures, internal and external financial reporting, and budget preparation.

Administrative Services

Administrative services include constituency office support (leases, set-up, moves, etc.), guidance with policy interpretation, benefit and pension administration, and reporting.



Payroll Services

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Payroll Services provides payroll related services and advice to Members, their constituency staff, caucus staff, and Assembly staff. Payroll Services is responsible for the processing, monitoring, and reporting of the Legislative Assembly’s payroll, leave, benefits, and pension transactions in compliance with all laws and legislation.



Hansard Services

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Hansard is the full, accurate, and impartial official report of the debates of the Legislative Assembly. Hansard Services also broadcasts House proceedings throughout the province. Links to transcripts and broadcasts can be found on the Hansard Services website.

Reporting Services

Hansard Reporting Services produces draft transcripts (known as "Blues") of House sittings and parliamentary committee proceedings. Work on House transcripts begin as soon as the House meets, and a complete transcript is usually available about an hour after adjournment. Parliamentary committee Blues are typically posted on the committee's website within a few hours of the adjournment of the committee.

Blues transcripts undergo further quality assurance edits before being published as the Official Report of Debates (House) or the Report of Proceedings (Parliamentary Committees). In addition, Reporting Services produces comprehensive, on-line indexes of House and committee transcripts. An on-line archive of transcripts, indexes and video from previous sessions and parliaments is also available. On-line transcripts date back to 1970, and archived video is available from 2003.

Broadcasting Services

Hansard Broadcasting Services produces the live television broadcast of House sittings. The proceedings of the Committee of Supply are recorded and rebroadcast in the evening after the adjournment of the House. Consult the Channel Guide and Schedule for local channels and broadcast times. Live television broadcasts are also available via an in-house television cable system.

These broadcasts are also streamed as live webcasts on the Internet. The audio of parliamentary committees is streamed live, including committees that meet off-site.




Information Technology Branch

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The Information Technology Branch (ITB) is responsible for the supply and support of computer equipment in the legislative precinct and the constituency offices. It is also responsible for wireless, voice, and data communications in these offices. On-site assistance is available 8:00 am to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, and during all sitting times.

IT Help Desk

Staff from the IT Help Desk are available to assist with problems related to computer hardware and software as well as network issues. The Help Desk can be contacted by phone or email and ITB staff have tools available to remotely access computers to speed the resolution of problems.

Telecommunications Support

ITB coordinates the installation and support of landlines and Internet access in the constituency offices, as well as wireless devices.

Project Support

Members and staff with specific technology-related projects can contact ITB for assistance if required. This includes projects such as identifying and installing software and hardware.




Parliamentary Education Office

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The Parliamentary Education Office (PEO) has a mandate to promote public understanding, access to, and visitor awareness of the Legislative Assembly. PEO provides a variety of resources and services, including educational information on Parliament, public tours, and educational programs, and operates the Gift Shop located near the main exit from the Parliament Buildings.

Educational Resources

Classroom kits are available to assist MLAs visiting local elementary and secondary schools in their communities. These kits include a variety of educational resources including speaking notes and DVDs which may be left with the teacher. PEO can also provide constituency offices with a wide variety of brochures, rack cards, fact sheets, booklets, and other promotional materials about the Legislative Assembly and Parliament Buildings.

Additional interactive learning tools for the public, including photos, videos, and informational guides, are available on the Discover Your Legislature webpage.

Tours

School visits to the Parliament Buildings are coordinated by PEO through the Tour Office. The Office notifies an MLA when a local school has confirmed a tour, provides wording for an introduction in the House, gives complimentary resources for distribution to students, and provides a photograph as a keepsake. On request, the Tour Office can also arrange for visiting delegations and new staff orientation tours.

Educational Programs

PEO manages the BC Legislative Internship Program, the BC Teachers' Institute on Parliamentary Democracy, and special one-day events for visiting university classes. Members may be invited to participate in these educational programs.

Use of Legislative Grounds

MLAs as well as the public can apply to hold an event on the grounds. Use of the interior of the Parliament Buildings is restricted to MLAs, government ministries, and the staff of the Legislative Assembly. PEO administers the process and maintains the calendar of upcoming events. Guidelines for the public use of grounds and the on-line application form are available here.



Legislative Library

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The Legislative Library provides confidential, non-partisan information and research services to MLAs and their staff, including constituency assistants. The Library is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, and during all sitting hours. Staff at the Library Help Desk are available to provide assistance and answer any questions.

Library and Information Services

MLAs and their staff can contact the Library for help with urgent questions and requests for information such as backgrounders, readings materials, and other resources. All queries are responded to quickly and treated with strict confidentiality.

Customized media-monitoring services are also available to MLAs and their staff on request. In addition, the Library tracks reporting on bills before the House, maintains a checklist of new government publications and archives BC government news releases.

Library Intranet Portal

The Library intranet homepage provides quick access to numerous online resources, including newspaper, magazine, and journal databases; legislative and parliamentary resources; statistics; language-learning materials; and ebooks. Subject links to other online resources are also available, along with BC-specific MLA, political and historical information such as MLA biographies, electoral histories, cabinet lists, reference files, and other items of BC political interest.

Collection

Searchable via the online catalogue, the Library's collection consists of over 400,000 new and historical items including government documents, statutes, reference resources, and books on political science, economics, history, and parliamentary procedure. New and popular titles, magazines, DVDs, and ebooks are also available for loan.


Last Updated: October 25, 2016