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Enhancing parliamentary expertise through policy seminars in the Republic of Korea


Policy seminars  in the Republic of Korea

Parliaments often seek to reflect citizens' diverse ideas and expertise in their law-making and budgeting activities. By expanding contacts with experts and interested citizens on specific issues, parliamentarians can increase their understanding of the problems at stake and respond more quickly. The 2022 Global Parliamentary Report identified some common ways of gathering input from citizens, such as public committee hearings and field hearings. Another example is the “policy seminars” in the Republic of Korea, in which MPs engage with experts and citizens to inform their policy and legislative development work.

Policy seminars programme

In the Republic of Korea, most legislation is initiated by individual MPs. In the early 2000s, bills initiated by MPs accounted for about three-quarters of all bills submitted. From May 2020 to the present, MPs’ bills have made up 96.8% of all bills submitted (MPs: 18,991 cases, Government: 629 cases). Policy seminars are an important source of the expertise that MPs need to draft those bills.

In 2005, the National Assembly amended the law to provide funding to strengthen the policy and legislative development capacity of lawmakers (Article 13 of the Act on Assistants of National Assembly Members and Their Allowances). A budget for this is allocated every year, and in 2023 this amounted to 7.6 billion Korean Won (CHF 5.3 million). This represents an allocation of about CHF 18,000 for each MP per year, which is used for publishing, purchasing information resources, and gathering expert advice and public opinion through policy seminars. Each MP's office holds a policy seminar by selecting a topic related to a particular social issue or standing committee activity.

Every year, around 1,500 policy seminars are held in the conference room of the National Assembly, with the participation of around 7,000 experts and stakeholders, from academia, non-governmental organizations, research institutes and government, among others. Policy seminars are also open to the public, except when there are special limitations. In addition to the thousands of presenters, speakers and experts, tens of thousands of citizens therefore visit the National Assembly each year to participate in the policy seminars.

Policy seminars have helped MPs to increase their knowledge and establish expert networks. MPs have been able to respond more quickly to social problems and improve their problem-solving capabilities more generally. The results of the discussions are often submitted as bills or used in standing committee meetings. Policy seminars also provide a way for experts and citizens to engage directly with the legislative and policy-making process in the National Assembly.

Over time, the importance of policy seminars has grown. The centre of discussion on social issues has shifted from the Government to the National Assembly, and in the level of policy consultations between the Government and the National Assembly has significantly increased.

Increasing public access to policy seminars

Policy seminars are intended to be widely accessible to the public and the schedule of policy seminars is published on the website of the National Assembly. However, the content of policy seminars has not always been shared with citizens effectively. Since policy seminars are entirely managed by the MP’s office, there is a skills gap in dealing with videos and content. In addition, citizens who do not participate in person have no way of knowing what was discussed at a policy seminar. To solve these problems, the National Assembly plans to introduce a policy seminar real-time broadcasting system in 2023.

The new system’s goal is to broadcast the policy seminars held by the National Assembly to the public in real-time, thus increasing their usefulness. The system includes a digital video recording and archiving service, so that each MP's office can record their own policy seminars and transmit them on YouTube with the help of experts. The real-time broadcasting system is also intended to increase two-way communication between the public and the lawmakers during policy seminars by incorporating interactive communication technologies such as an online chat feature.

The National Assembly intends to make a short video summary of every policy seminar so that citizens can easily understand the content. The recorded videos will be categorized by date and subject and available for viewing anytime and anywhere.

The real-time broadcasting system is expected to allow more citizens to participate in policy seminars, improve understanding of policy-making and contribute to citizens' deeper participation in the law-making process of the National Assembly.


This case study is part of the series of good practices stories prepared by the IPU-IPEN Public engagement hub in follow-up to the 2022 Global Parliamentary Report on Public engagement in the work of parliament.