The Plenary and how it works

What is a Plenary?

A plenary session is where MLAs meet in the Assembly Chamber to debate proposed Bills and discuss Motions. These meetings are open to the public and usually held on Mondays and Tuesdays.

How do I know what's being debated or discussed?

The Assembly has a Business Committee made up of representatives from parties with five or more members and is chaired by the Speaker of the Assembly. It agrees and schedules the items of business for Plenary sessions, including the timings for debates.

Each week the Order Paper is published on the Assembly website so you can see what business is scheduled for each week.

What is Hansard?

Hansard is the Official Report of what Members say in the Assembly each day and of all the decisions the Assembly makes. It also records written answers to Assembly questions produces and reports on specific Committee meetings.

What does the Speaker do during Plenary?

The Speaker chairs plenary sessions of the Assembly, calling Members to speak on debates, maintaining order in the Chamber and replying to areas of dispute raised by Members. The Speaker must be politically impartial and does not participate in any debates in the Assembly. The Speaker is helped by a number of Deputy Speakers. Find out about the current Speaker.

What are Standing Orders?

These are the rules that are used to manage how the Assembly works. These rules can be changed by the Committee on Procedures. You can read a copy of Standing Orders on the website.


What legislation is passing through the Assembly?

How to search for an issue debated in Plenary?

What questions have been asked during Plenary?