The Work of an MLA

Activity: Constituency Surgery activity link
Activity: Question Time activity link

One of the most important roles of an MLA is to make laws, or legislation. MLAs debate Bills at plenary meetings in the Assembly Chamber and vote on whether or not to pass them.

MLAs also work in small teams, or Committees, to examine the Bills in detail. They consult experts and the public about their views. Committees might suggest changes, called amendments, to improve the Bills. Committees also carry out inquiries into issues that concern people in Northern Ireland.

The largest parties in the Assembly appoint MLAs as Ministers to manage Government Departments. Another important role of an MLA is to scrutinise the work of Ministers and Government Departments that provide us with our public services. They then suggest policies to improve these services. MLAs hold Ministers to account through their work in Committees and by asking Written Questions, and Oral Questions at Question Time in the Chamber. They also highlight issues in debates that they think Ministers need to consider and do something about.

MLAs also have work to do in their own constituencies. It is their role to represent the people living there by listening to their views and helping them to solve problems.

Step into the role of an MLA and have a go at these activities: