A quarterly electronic bulletin from the Centre for Innovation in Parliament
Issue 2, 28 June 2019
Welcome to the second edition of the Innovation Tracker, which includes examples from the parliaments of Brazil, Finland and Zambia, key messages from the IPU expert hearing on disinformation and ‘fake news’, 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!
Innovation in parliamentary working methods
Several parliaments have made large investments in recent years to make parliamentary information available to the public in open data formats, to increase transparency and facilitate public participation. However, usage of the open data has often been limited. The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies therefore decided to set up a marketing strategy to increase and diversify the use of their parliamentary data. Read more.
The Eduskunta, Finland’s parliament, launched Facebook Live sessions in May 2018 after the parliament’s Speaker at the time, Paula Risikko felt the need to interact more with citizens and allow them to understand their representatives’ choices. Read more.
A decade ago, the National Assembly of Zambia saw a need to reach out to citizens and engage with them in a more efficient and transparent way. They chose to implement “questions and answers” sessions through radio broadcasts. We interviewed Julius Musumali, Parliamentary Radio/TV, and Michael Mukuka, ICT Director, of the National Assembly of Zambia to discover a little more how the radio broadcast worked and what were the plans for the future. Read more.
Parliamentary action on tech trends
In April 2019, the IPU’s Standing Committee on Democracy and Human Rights held an expert hearing the 140th IPU Assembly on parliamentary action to combat disinformation and "fake news"during. Parliamentarians and experts analyzed how this phenomenon is impacting the quality of public debate online, and the forms of action available to parliamentarians to combat it. Here are four of the key conclusions from the debate.
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.
ICT Governance Thematic Hub
Host: European Parliament
The ICT Governance hub has grown to 81 individual accesses for staff from 46 organizations to its online learning platform for parliaments, which supports the development of maturity in IT governance. A representative of the European Parliament took part in the May 2019 meeting of the Open Data Hub in Brasilia to share and contribute with knowledge, but also to explore further synergies between hubs. Discussions are being held with the regional hubs for East Africa and Southern Africa—which have identified IT governance as a focus area—on potential follow-up activities including awareness-raising and capacity-building.
Image: Map displaying the parliaments that joined the ICT Governance e-learning platform. © European Parliament
Open Data Hub
Host: Brazilian Chamber of Deputies
From 27 to 31 May 2019, a working meeting was held in Brasilia, of the Inter-Parliamentary Open Data Cloud (IPODC)—a thematic hub hosted by the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil. Participants represented the ICT, Communications and Research divisions of the parliaments of Canada, Chile, Estonia, Finland, Israel, South Africa; Spain and Ukraine, as well as the Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament.
The meeting agreed on the concept and proposal of the Open Data Cloud; established technical definitions for open data exchange between the gathered parliaments and the Open Data Cloud; and agreed on milestones and the next steps towards a first functional prototype. It was furthermore agreed to restructure the hub, renaming it as the thematic hub on Open Data. The Open Data Cloud will remain the hub's primary project. Other projects focused on promoting open data will be explored. The Open Data hub is hosted by the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, as before.
A short video presenting the Open Data Cloud project and the May 2019 meeting, by the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil.
Image: First Meeting of the Open Data hub, Brasilia, 27 May 2019. © Parliament of Brazil
Southern African Regional Hub
Host: National Assembly of Zambia
At the meeting of ICT Directors of the Southern African Regional Hub in Lusaka from 28 to 29 March, participants drafted key documents such as the hub’s terms of reference, workplan and budget. The National Assembly of Zambia, as host of the Regional Hub, then convened a meeting of Clerks and Secretaries General of participating parliaments at the 140th IPU Assembly in Doha (see photo). During this meeting, the Heads of the parliamentary administration endorsed the overall process and agreed to form a Steering Committee, whose first task was to review and approve the Lusaka documents.
Meanwhile, the hub correspondents have been given the go-ahead to work on the initial activities including the compilation and sharing of ICT policies, project documents, and strategic plans, as well as information on existing services and systems. In addition, a data base of regional ICT experts is being developed. Having also identified ICT Governance as a key issue, collaboration and synergy with the ICT Governance Thematic Hub is being explored.
Image: Mr. Michael Mukuka, coordinator of the Southern African Regional Hub, briefing the participating parliaments during the 140th IPU Assembly, Doha, April 2019. © Parliament of Zambia
Latin America Regional Hub
Host: Chamber of Deputies of Chile
The Chamber of Deputies of Chile took an active part in the meetings of the Centre for Innovation in Parliament during the 140th IPU Assembly in Doha. The participation of the Chamber’s Honourable President Iván Flores García and Pro-Secretary Luis Rojas further underlined its support for the Centre and the Latin America Regional Hub.
The ICT Department of the Chamber of Deputies is working towards finalization of its hub’s online exchange platform. This platform, with features such as knowledge exchange spaces and a forum environment, is expected to be launched during a kick-off meeting with representatives of other Latin American parliaments later this year. Also envisaged are discussions among senior ICT staff on information and knowledge sharing needs and requirements within the regional hub, and how this is to be realized through the platform and other working modalities. Representatives of the ICT Department of the Chamber also took part in the May 2019 meeting of the Open Data Hub in Brasilia to learn more about its projects and activities, and to seek synergies and areas of collaboration.
Image: Honourable President and the Pro-Secretary of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile at the 140th IPU Assembly, Doha, April 2019. © Parliament of Chile
East Africa Regional Hub
Host: Parliament of Kenya
Following the conclusion of the MoU with the IPU at the 140th Assembly, the Parliament of Kenya, as host of the East Africa Regional Hub organized an inaugural meeting of ICT Officers, Legal Officers and Clerks of Member Parliaments of the East Africa region (see photo) from 23 to 25 May in Nairobi. At the end of three days, hub participants from Kenya and Uganda agreed on the terms of reference, work plan and budget for the hub.
Under its terms of reference, the group agreed to meet virtually on a regular basis or when ad hoc needs arise, and to meet once a year face-to-face to review the hub’s activities. The hub further agreed to invite other parliaments to join the hub. A regional office in the Kenyan Parliament was established to coordinate the bub’s activities.
Image: Inaugural meeting of the East Africa Hub, Parliament of Kenya, Nairobi, 23-25 May 2019.© Parliament of Kenya
Pacific Regional Hub
Host: Parliament of New Zealand
The Parliament of New Zealand has recently agreed with the IPU to host a hub for parliaments in the Pacific region. Discussions are underway on the organisation of this hub and its potential activities, including adding key regional stakeholders from each parliament into the hub’s Yammer collaboration tool. The host hopes to host in 2020 a meeting of the regional hub partners in the Pacific.
New Zealand is beginning to populate the Yammer region space with useful templates, guides, and discussion threads (such as effective use of social media, development of vision for ICT and e-Parliament strategic planning, security, open data and cloud technology). Parliament will encourage regional stakeholders to add to the discussion once the threads are set up.
Further discussions with some of the partner parliaments will be held during the regional Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference in July 2019.
The hosts look forward to working with the Centre’s other hubs and exchanging innovative parliamentary working methods.
Caribbean Regional Hub
Host: Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago
The ICT team of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago has held discussions with the IPU CIP representative concerning the scope of the Caribbean hub, the services it shall be providing to the participating parliaments, and how these can be engaged to contribute to future knowledge exchange. Discussions also covered the requirements of the hub’s online platform, which the Parliament is considering hosting, and the outreach strategy to other parliaments.