Monday, 21 August 2017

Can Job-Share Assembly Members Work?

 The BBC Wales website has an interesting news item in that The Assembly Commission has said.   Electoral rule changes could be explored to allow assembly members to job-share.
According to the Beeb 
Campaigners said the move, a first for politics in the UK, would attract more women and disabled people to politics.
The Assembly Commission said job-sharing was a "possibility" under new powers.
The Electoral Commission said no joint candidacies were allowed in any UK elections under current law.
Sarah Rees, of the Women's Equality Party, said Wales should be the first to make the change, with the assembly encouraging flexible working by "leading by example".
The assembly will have powers to set its own elections, under changes being brought in under the 2017 Wales Act, which devolves more responsibilities from Westminster to Cardiff.
Currently 24 out of the 60 AMs in the Senedd are womeen, while no information is collected on how many AMs are classed as disabled.
In 2015, a bid by two Green Party activists to stand jointly for a parliamentary seat was refused and a bid for a judicial review was stopped by the High Court.
If they had been elected, the pair would have split the job 50/50 and have shared a vote in the Commons.
 Mother-of-two Mrs Rees, who stood as a candidate for the last assembly election for the Women's Equality Party, said there was no reason why Wales could not be the first in the UK to bring in political job-shares.
 said there were arrangements in Australia, New Zealand and Iceland for flexible working.
"I think Wales has got the power and I think it would be great for us to move forward and have shared candidacies," she said.
"You have people in very powerful positions able to do job shares, why can't we do it in government?
"It would give you the ability to have a very high-powered job and make decisions that reflect the society we live in, at the same time as looking after your family.
"If the Welsh Government can't do it themselves, why should any other business?

If it is working in other countries then I see no reason why we should not investigate
But is this possible in a Political roll?
How would the Job share pan out?
Certainly there may be no problem inside the Siambr when it comes to debates and even dealing with constituents except  when a constituents as a preference and told they must deal with the Job share AM 's partner who is on duty .
The problem as I see it  in the profile of the AM .
Social Media for example is being increasingly used by politicians  to communicate with the electorate and I don't see how you can not  stop Job Share AMs having a double the advantage here?
The same goes with contact via appearance on the main media or via press releases , Would an AM decline to make a comment because he or she is not officially "ON Duty" at that time?
Would they share a Party's Spokesperson role or have different ones  . Certainly potentially lessening  the workload but again increasing the media profile?
What if they were part of the Government  would they Job share ministerial roles and would the First Minister be able to promote or fire one without the other?
Would there be rules about Gender Balance , there is probably no way that you could stop two hetro-sexual males from being elected on a Job Share platform 
Could a Party be allowed to employ one of the AM's to work for them on a part time basis allowing them to continue a political role>
It is an interesting idea but I am afraid that it may be seen as Party's using this to increase their number of AM  by Job Share (even if they have only one vote) .
Yes we need to increase the number of AM's who more readily reflect Wales and certainly aim to have a 50/50 balance.
But at the moment  it seems to me that Party's can use this to increase their media presence  than a move to equality.

1 comment:

  1. Peter Law, Mohammed Ashgar, Nathan Gill, Dafydd Elis Thomas and Mark Reckless were all elected under a political banner and then defected from their parties. The Welsh Assembly does seem to have a higher proportion of defectors than any other institution that I can think of. How would a job share work if any of these AMs had been elected as job shares and their partners remained loyal to the party that had nominated them for election? If an AM is suspended for a peroid of time or censured would the punishment apply to both AMs?