The World e-Parliament Report (WePR) was first published in 2008 as a partnership between the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the IPU, followed by new editions in 2010 and 2012. In 2016, IPU published the fourth World e-Parliament Report, which was launched at the World e-Parliament Conference at the Chamber of Deputies of Chile in June 2016 (http://wepc2016.org/en/wepr2016).
Digital technologies have developed quickly and encroached on virtually every area of our lives. Parliaments are no exception and new ICTs have not simply acted as tools to improve the efficiency and accuracy of parliamentary process but have been radically transformative tools changing the way legislatures function. They have opened parliaments up to wider public access and scrutiny. Digital tools today are both an operational necessity as well as a powerful tool for stronger democracy.
The WePR is frequently cited both formally and informally as the global benchmark for ICT usage in legislatures and as such acts as a strong and powerful catalyst for those trying to advance the digital agenda. It allows parliaments to understand emerging trends, to gauge good practice (and their own position in relation to that) and to consider their own strategic technology plans in the context of both emerging technology and what other parliaments are doing.
The report underpins inter-parliamentary collaboration and is both a supportive and aspirational publication that provides a clear and trusted commentary on key areas of policy and infrastructure for parliaments in the digital era.
IPU is looking for a consultant to lead preparation of the next edition of the WePR, to be published in 2018.
The 2018 World e-Parliament Report
At the heart of the World e-Parliament Report is a survey of parliaments. This is a long and detailed survey and has grown historically since the first report. The 2016 report reduced this and brought some of the questions up-to-date, however there is a strong desire to be able to show trends across the lifetime of the series. This ability to represent trends is useful and appreciated and it should continue, however it would be sensible to further review the questions. This review would determine which questions provide a useful continuity and a meaningful series over time, and which are now too outdated or can be deemed less significant. We should do this with a view to reducing the carry forward of questions to about 80% of the 2016 survey.
The 2016 report introduced a new concept of a focussed and topical secondary thematic dataset to add value to the report and to inform the audience about emergent issues in the sector. This was successful and well received, focusing in this instance on the emergence of Parliamentary Monitoring Organisations (PMOs). This secondary dataset provided a link between formal parliamentary digital activity and the work of external civil society groups, providing useful background and data for the broad sector of organisations working on parliamentary openness. It also raised the profile of PMOs and promoted the legitimisation of their work.
Based on research for the 2016 report and an evaluation of the World e-Parliament Conference 2016, it is proposed to include two thematic subsets in the 2018 report:
i. Members’ Use of Digital
This thematic section will investigate in detail how members are using digital tools in all aspects of their parliamentary and representative work; a survey will be developed and primary data collection will occur during the IPU Assembly in October 2017. Additional data will be obtained through an open survey that members elsewhere can complete and this will be promoted through parliamentary networks.
The survey will be attentive to differences in the experiences of men and women parliamentarians, noting the rising misuse of tools such as social media described in the recent IPU publication ‘Sexism, harassment and violence against women parliamentarians’. It will also consider differences between regions, the economic status of parliaments and parliamentary size.
Secondary, qualitative data, could be captured from a participatory workshop for MPs that may be organized at the IPU Assembly. This will be a facilitated conversation to explore in more detail some of the challenges and opportunities MPs face when trying to use digital technology effectively.
ii. Innovation and Partnership
The World e-Parliament Conference 2016 introduced the concept of a parliamentary hackathon. Such events have already occurred in parliaments in Brazil and the UK, amongst others, and others are experimenting with similar concepts. The focus of these events is primarily on harnessing parliamentary data for public engagement but the model offers potential opportunities for internal innovation too. There was considerable interest in the event in Chile, and the processes surrounding it; namely the active partnership between parliament and civil society and ‘sprint’ process used to produce a pilot.
The 2018 report should review parliamentary technology innovation processes, such as hackathons, and how these processes influence the transformation of parliamentary business practices and external engagement, including a focus on partnership with external stakeholders. This would be included as a narrative thematic chapter in the report, providing examples of a range of events, processes and
outcomes as well as identifying opportunities for parliaments to adopt more innovative practices.
Preparation of the report should draw on partnerships with relevant groups and organizations, including the Association of Secretaries General of Parliaments; the IFLA Section on parliamentary libraries and research services; the United Nations’ Data Revolution Group, UNDP, the Legislative Openness Working Group within the Open Government Partnership and the network of parliamentary monitoring organizations coordinated by NDI.
The report is expected to be produced as a print publication in multiple languages, and also as a “digitally native” online publication that is easy to access, visualize and share. The content, language and format of the report should be appropriate to the needs of the intended target audiences. Data collected for the report should be published online in formats that can be easily accessed and reused.
Centre for Innovation in Parliament
The preparation of the World e-Parliament Report and Conference 2018 comes within the broader context of IPU’s plans to establish a Centre for Innovation in Parliament. Given the lead role that the consultant will play in the development of the Report, they may also be called upon to contribute to the planning of the Centre for Innovation in Parliament.
The consultant will lead the preparation of the World e-Parliament Report 2018, working in close collaboration with the IPU Secretariat and partner organizations. Tasks will include the following:
- Planning the report, with due attention to the needs of the target audiences and incorporating a gender perspective
- Designing survey instruments and carrying out research for the report; gathering and analyzing relevant literature from parliaments, academia and other sources; analyzing survey responses; developing case studies alone or with project partners
- Working with other consultants, where required, to develop the thematic subsections for the report
- Leading research activities at the 137th IPU Assembly in St. Petersburg (Russian Federation), 14-18 October 2017
- Drafting the report and finalizing its contents for print and online publication
- Engaging project partners and organizing expert input throughout the process
- Presenting the report at the World e-Parliament Conference 2018 and other relevant venues
The IPU Secretariat will contribute to the report in a number of ways, including:
- Preparing and distributing the survey instrument to national parliaments.
- Hiring consultants as required, for example to follow up with parliaments, carry out quality control of the responses received, and assist with analysis of survey results
- roviding opportunities for interaction with parliamentarians at the 137th IPU Assembly
- Developing partnerships with other groups and organizations for the report
- Providing feedback throughout the planning, research and drafting phases
- Producing the print and online versions of the report
- Organizing the World e-Parliament Conference 2018
On request, the consultant will contribute to planning for the establishment of the Centre for Innovation in Parliament, making the connection with the findings from the World e-Parliament Report.
The contract will be divided into two parts, for the calendar years 2017 and 2018. The initial contract and deliverables will be for the calendar year 2017. All work for the calendar year 2018 will be conditional on the availability of funds.
As part of the contract, the consultant will provide the following deliverables:
- Concept note for the report
- Project plan outlining how and when research, drafting and expert review will be carried out
- Text for the survey instruments and guidelines for survey respondents
- Analysis of the data collected through the survey instruments
- Periodic summaries of research findings
- Annotated table of contents of the report
- First draft of the report
- Summary of feedback from the expert review
- Final contents for the print and online versions of the report
- Summary of lessons learned for IPU’s use when preparing future editions of the report
During the contract, the consultant will provide written updates to the IPU Secretariat at least once per month.
The work will be home-based.
IPU will cover the cost of travel and DSA for the consultant to participate in activities related to the project, including working meetings at IPU in Geneva, the 137th IPU Assembly in St. Petersburg (Russian Federation) and the World e-Parliament Conference 2018. All travel will be in economy class.
The amount of work will vary according to the phase of the project. It is expected that the consultant will work nearly full-time during the drafting phase, and closer to halftime during other phases of the project.
The total amount of work on the project is estimated at 140 days of work to be carried out over a period of 15 months. The estimated breakdown is 90 days of work in 2017 and 50 days of work in 2018.
Remuneration will be calculated on the basis of CHF 400 per day of work, up to a total of CHF 56,000 (CHF 36,000 in 2017; CHF 20,000 in 2018). The consultant will submit an invoice at the end of each month indicating the number of days worked.
Candidates for the consultancy need to be able to demonstrate:
- Successful experience in planning and leading large-scale research projects
- Deep knowledge of current issues about parliaments and technology
- First-hand experience of working with parliaments to make use of technology to support core parliamentary functions, preferably in three or more countries
- Excellent research and analytical skills, including experience in designing survey instruments and analyzing survey data
- Deep knowledge of parliamentarians’ use of digital technologies and parliamentary innovation processes
- Experience in soliciting and managing input from experts and project partners
- Ability to write clearly and concisely in English for print and online publications
- Ability to read other languages is highly desirable