How we work

How we work

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We help parliaments with library services, ICT, committee structures and procedural rules. Photo: © IPU

We help national parliaments around the world by providing core institutional advice and practical help. We offer assistance in a range of areas, from library services and information and communications technology (ICT), and committee structures and procedural rules.

We work alongside parliaments to modernize and strengthen them. We ensure that parliaments themselves are driving the process. And we do not impose “one-size-fits-all” solutions from the outside.

In some cases we simply offer comparative experience, advice and guidance; in others we deploy teams of experts to the parliament we are advising. We are often able to help find sources of funding for the changes that are needed.

We focus our support on parliaments in countries that are emerging from conflict, or are in transition from one political system to another. These might include countries undergoing major democratic reforms.

All our help is founded on the Common Principles for Support to Parliaments, an internationally agreed set of standards adopted in 2014. Our core values are set out in Parliament and Democracy in the Twenty-First Century: A Guide to Good Practice, which also outlines creative solutions from parliaments themselves.

A core principle of our work is that parliaments themselves must lead their own development.

Before we can start work we require a formal written request for support from an authority within the parliamentary leadership—usually the Speaker or Secretary General. In exceptional cases where there is no functioning parliament, a similar request should come from a government official of an equivalent level.

Parliaments requesting our support are asked to share detailed information on any assistance they are currently receiving or have recently received from other parliaments or from other organizations. 

Before any support is given, we enter into a formal agreement with the parliament concerned. We then offer assistance in areas that are clearly part of the parliament's own development process or strategic plan. 

This support forms part of our work to strengthen parliaments, in line with our vision of building democracy.

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We help parliaments with library services, ICT, committee structures and procedural rules. Photo: © IPU