Technical exercises – joining Written Questions and Answers on the Assembly’s website

Part of my responsibility as the Web Editor for the Assembly is working with different Assembly departments to try and make our website more accessible and as joined-up as possible.

What can make this difficult to achieve is the fact that not all of the information we publish on the website is the Assembly’s. Information can also originate from other organisations, like the Welsh Government. An example of this is our Written Questions section.

Written Questions are questions that are submitted by Assembly Members to various Welsh Government Ministers, requesting responses on certain things. These questions are never asked orally in Plenary (the meeting of the whole Assembly, which takes place in the Siambr on Tuesdays and Wednesday), but instead are published on our website for Welsh Ministers to answer at a later date.

The answers to these questions come to us from the Welsh Government, but we’re also responsible for publishing them on our website. Welsh Ministers aim to provide answers within seven/eight days, but may take longer if they need to.

We used to publish the Written Questions and the Answers as separate documents on the website, as you can see in the screenshot below, from a page published in May 2011.

waqs screenshot english

As you can see, these are two separate places publishing information that should be linked together, but isn’t – one on a web page, the other a PDF.

This was time-consuming to publish, as well as being difficult to navigate. Last year, we started receiving complaints about how inaccessible this was. To try and address it, we’ve now started publishing the answers given by the Minister underneath the Written Questions, as you can see on this page: Written Questions tabled on 18 March 2014 for answer on 25 March 2014.

This is part of on-going work to improve our website. If you have any comments on this change, or any others you would like to suggest, please comment on this post.

Helia Phoenix, Web Editor

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