While the tracker’s database can simply be viewed chronologically, users with a more specific focus or who are interested in particular trends, have many options.
The most basic is to use the search box at the top right of the tracker. Any word or phrase that appears in the database can be found using that box. This will be useful if users are looking for, say, a specific named policy or statutory instrument, or themes which appear but may be too specific to have their own tag or sub-tag.
Tag or sub-tag search
Each entry has also been categorised according to multiple tags and sub-tags. These can be entered into the search box at the top of the relevant column. Full instructions explaining the tagging system can be accessed here.
- Date: This column identifies the date where the event first became public knowledge e.g. the publication of a policy paper, the handing down of a court judgment, or the release of a ministerial statement. Each entry is searchable by date either in full or part e.g. 1-January-2020 or August-2019.
- Description of the event: This column contains a basic description of the event and why it is constitutionally important, if this is not obvious. The description is expressed in as politically neutral language as possible and seeks to be as jargon-free as possible.
- Type of event: This column contains a basic description of the nature of the event being described e.g. “Appointment, dismissal or resignation” or “Primary legislation”.
- UK jurisdiction: This column identifies which UK jurisdictions are meaningfully affected by the event.
- Institutions or actors: This column identifies which government institution or department is most connected to the event, mainly due to being within the ministerial responsibility of that department.
- General subject-matter: This column categorises the event according to a broad theme, widely accepted to be of constitutional importance. Currently these are: Elections and voters; Parliament; Courts; Ethics, standards and integrity; Human rights and equality; Devolution and the Union; Civil service and public sector reform; and Rule of law.
- Specific subject-matter: This column is designed for those with specific interests within the general subject-matter. For example, the “Parliament” theme contains sub-tags including “hybrid proceedings”, “standing orders”, and “committees”. The “Courts” theme contains sub-tags including “judicial review”, “access to justice”, “ouster clauses”, and “tribunals”. The “Civil service and public sector reform” theme contains sub-tags including “new public bodies”, “special advisers”, “public body appointments”, and “relocation”.
- Special tags: This column identifies matters which are not captured by other tags but will likely be of interested to many users. Current special tags include: Brexit; Coronavirus; initial Covid response; first lockdown; second lockdown; local lockdowns; third lockdown; roadmap out of lockdown; winter plan; first reshuffle; second reshuffle; third reshuffle.
- Source: This column provides an online link to the most official or reliable source available for the event.
It is also possible to cross-search in multiple categories. Users can cross-search “Home Office” and “Ethics, standards and integrity”, for instance, or “Scotland” and “Sewel convention”, or “Appointments” and “Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport”.