A quarterly electronic bulletin from the Centre for Innovation in Parliament
Issue 4, 12 February 2020
Welcome to the fourth edition of the Innovation Tracker, which includes examples from the parliaments of Bhutan, Indonesia, Kenya and Tonga, and updates from the Centre’s hubs.
We are posting examples of innovation in parliament on Twitter using the hashtags #innovation #parliament. Please join us in using these hashtags, or send us good examples that we can share!
Do you have an example of innovative parliamentary working methods to share in the Innovation Tracker? Tell us about it via this online form or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Innovation in parliamentary working methods
With 30 or less members and a similar sized administration, small parliaments face a challenge providing modern information services. Often, this stems from limited ICT resources and it is common to find a single or two-person ICT team. Case studies from Tonga and Bhutan show the Cloud can offer innovative solutions in this context. Read more.
Kenyan Parliament’s Caucus on Evidence-Informed Oversight and Decision-Making (PC-EIDM)
Evidence-based policymaking is based on the premise that policy decisions taken on systematic evidence are better informed and produce better outcomes. In 2015, the Kenyan Parliament established a Parliamentary Caucus on Evidence-Informed Oversight and Decision-Making (PC-EIDM) to help support Kenya’s development agenda. Read more.
Post-Legislative Scrutiny (PLS) is a traditional role of parliaments but one that has not always been consistently performed. Many parliaments have adopted a systematic approach to PLS within their committee structures. The Indonesian House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat - DPR) is one of the parliaments that have implemented innovative ways of enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of PLS. Read more.
Parliamentary action on technology trends
The European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation (ECPRD) held its annual gathering of senior ICT officials from parliaments across Europe and further afield at the Riigikogu of Estonia in Tallinn in October 2019. The 2019 seminar focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in parliaments, looking at projects and innovations. The Centre for Innovation in Parliament took part in this event, providing a window on ongoing projects in parliaments outside of Europe. Read more.
News from the Centre for Innovation in Parliament
Updates from the Centre’s regional and thematic hubs, which bring together parliaments to work on issues of common interest.
Open Data Hub
Host: Brazilian Chamber of Deputies
In December 2019, the Inter-Parliamentary Open Data Cloud, the first project of the Open Data Hub, published its first Proof of Concept which demonstrated that it was possible to search English translations of legislative documents from five parliaments: Brazil, Canada, Estonia, the European Parliament, and Spain. The project team will now invite more parliaments that produce open data to join. This will mean more data, more sophisticated tools, and more value for MPs proposing new bills and researchers working on comparative legislation. The Open Data Hub will meet from 16 to 19 March 2020 as part of a Thematic Hubs event to be held at the House of Commons of Canada in Ottawa. The meeting will evaluate progress made so far and plan for the next steps. This will be an opportunity for parliaments that are not yet participating to get more information and consider joining the project. The meeting is particularly suitable for IT directors and technical specialists.
More information about the Inter-Parliamentary Open Data Cloud is provided by this introductory video at bit.ly/opendatahub-ipu.
Image: Proof of Concept website
IT Governance Hub
Host: European Parliament
The online learning platform for parliaments to support a wide development of maturity in IT governance, continues to grow with 96 individual accesses that have been granted for staff belonging to 52 parliaments and other organizations. Among these, 11 have recorded information related to their IT maturity status.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, the Hub made a presentation together with the Centre for Innovation in Parliament (CIP) at the ICT2019 Seminar (3-4 October) of the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation (ECPRD) at the Estonian Parliament. It engaged in peer-to-peer support activity with the National Assembly and National Council of Bhutan (25 September), and the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil (18 September) in Brasilia. The Hub will also meet as part of the Thematic Hubs event in Ottawa (18-19 March 2020) which will be the Hub’s first face-to-face meeting since its establishment. The intention is to assess opportunities for further inter-parliamentary collaboration, to promote IT governance concepts and practices, including by sharing digital strategies and potentially taking part in regional training events. Representatives from the Central Service attached to the Cabinet of the Secretary-General and the Directorate-General for Innovation and Technological Support (DG ITEC) of the European Parliament, who host the hub, will facilitate a dedicated meeting in Ottawa concerning a potential new hub on digital archiving that could help parliaments share archiving innovations and practices, as well as guide them at the various stages of their digital archiving services.
Host: Parliament of New Zealand
The New Zealand Parliament regional hub team initiated the Pacific Yammer space and recruitment of members (the Pacific region IPU Members include: Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu). Through the Yammer space it published resources and started discussion threads (for example, business continuity, social media benchmarks, and an outline of an ICT assessment report).
In October 2019, a parliamentary outreach and citizen engagement workshop was held in Samoa organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Representatives from 11 Pacific Island parliaments attended the workshop: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, with resource people from Australia and New Zealand. Participants were mainly staff responsible for community engagement in their parliaments. The use of digital technology was discussed widely throughout the training. It was recognized that social media had become an important community engagement tool for Pacific Island parliaments, as it had for parliaments around the world. Some Pacific Island parliaments have actively embraced social media, others are cautiously adopting it, and some have yet to take it up. The workshop participants agreed that it would be useful to establish a Pacific benchmark or standard for social media use by Pacific Island parliaments. Such a benchmark would enable parliaments already using social media to measure their performance against an agreed benchmark. As for other events, Hub co-convenor Hans Landon-Lane (New Zealand) presented at the regional Australasian Study of Parliament Group and the Pacific Parliamentary Forum in 2019 on social media disruption.
Southern African Hub
Host: National Assembly of Zambia
The Hub’s Steering Committee, composed of secretaries general and clerks, met at the 141st IPU Assembly in Belgrade. It decided to meet twice a year during the IPU Assemblies. The next meeting will be held in the first quarter of 2020 to approve the work plan. A second meeting will be convened in the fourth quarter to discuss the Hub’s progress and make decisions or approvals as might be required. An ICT strategic planning mission to the National Assembly of Botswana (27-31 January 2020) was supported by the National Assembly of Mauritius, National Assembly of Zambia, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Preparations for the mission included establishing a methodology for ICT strategic planning which could serve as a blueprint for similar future activity. The Secretariat of the Southern Africa Development Community – Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) also requested the Hub to assist with the development of an ICT strategy and (re)design of its website.
Image: The mission team of the Southern Africa Regional Hub represented by the National Assembly of Zambia, and Parliament of Mauritius, visits the Parliament of Botswana to assist the latter in the preparation of its ICT strategic plan. © Michael Mukuka
East African Hub
Host: Parliament of Kenya
The Parliament of Kenya established a regional office to coordinate the East African Hub activities. As part of the activities, it is also trialing a voice and video IP connection solution, to allow cost effective communication between Hub members. The Hub convened the secretaries general of parliaments at the 141st IPU Assembly in Belgrade to discuss, among others, the first East African Hub regional meeting on promoting innovations within regional parliaments and beyond. During the meeting, the Parliament of Kenya shared information and material about its eParlKenya app as a paperless solution. At the East Africa secretaries general meeting, held from 5 to 10 December 2019 in Uganda, a resolution was adopted endorsing further inter-parliamentary cooperation in the context of the Hub.
Host: Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago
A regional seminar, jointly organized by the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago and the IPU, on achieving the sustainable development goals for the parliaments in the Caribbean region was held on 5 and 6 December 2019. The seminar saw the participation of members of the parliaments of Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Saint Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. Innovation in parliament was discussed as one of the key enablers for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The seminar participants expressed commitment to continually strive to make parliaments more effective, accountable and transparent institutions, through the development of innovative approaches, including through digital technologies. They recognized the need to make creative use of the limited resources available, including by enhancing cooperation between Caribbean parliaments, and welcomed the initiative of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago to establish a Caribbean regional hub within the IPU’s Centre for Innovation in Parliament to further these aims.
Latin American Hub
Host: Chamber of Deputies of Chile
The Hub is working on establishing a dissemination and motivation strategy for the participation of Latin American parliaments, which is to result in the realization of a Latin American meeting (to be announced) to share experiences, in addition to analyzing and evaluating the Latin American Hub among regional peers. The main functionalities of the Hub's online web portal have been defined. This will enable the publication of applications/software and good IT practices. User subscriptions have been added to distribute filtered information according to user profiles; and the beta version has been published on cip.camara.cl. Next steps include the finalization of the platform development and testing; collection of applications and information systems provided by the Chamber of Deputies of Chile to incorporate them into the new site - as part of the Hub’s vision to share information on ICT projects and solutions.
CIP Steering Committee meeting
The CIP Steering Committee meeting was held on 9 December 2019 with 16 participants representing parliaments that host CIP thematic and regional hubs, key stakeholders and supporters, including the Assembly of the Republic of Portugal, ECPRD, the European Commission, and INTER-PARES / International IDEA. The meeting was held online, courtesy of the European Parliament DG ITEC that generously made available its online video conferencing system.
The CIP Secretariat presented its 2019 report, and the Hubs their 2019 achievements and challenges, and outlook for 2020. They also presented their priorities and plans, which was followed by a discussion on possible improvements to the Centre's working arrangements, and a proposed way forward. The overall takeaway from the discussion was that the 2020 priorities should include: (1) to increase the number of parliaments involved in CIP, and (2) to reinforce the level of engagement of those parliaments that are already involved. This in order to ensure a larger base of parliaments for the sharing of innovation knowledge and practices, and to maximize potential synergy across hubs and the various CIP activities.