The National Assembly and the IPU are looking for a supplier who can provide an automatic transcription solution for parliamentary debates and meet the demands set out in these terms of reference (ToR).
The National Assembly of Djibouti is comprised of 65 elected members of parliament. The previous elections took place in February 2018.
Since January 2017, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the National Assembly have been working together to strengthen the development of the parliament. This cooperation has deepened since February 2019 with the launch of the project on “Strengthening the role of the National Assembly of Djibouti in the promotion and protection of human rights (PRAN)”. This European Union funded project seeks to strengthen the role of the National Assembly in the promotion and protection of human rights.
A second phase of this project, called PRAN II, began on 1 February 2021. Also funded by the European Union, this second phase aims, among other things, at improving the dissemination, transparency and accessibility of the activities of the National Assembly.
Transcription support solution
Within the framework of the PRAN II project, particular attention is paid to the transparency of the work of the National Assembly and the access of citizens to information. Thus, the publication of information on the activities of the National Assembly, especially the minutes of plenary sessions, is encouraged and is a central element of the project.
The plenary sessions of the National Assembly are public. The systematic recording, archiving, and dissemination of the minutes thus improves the transparency and accessibility of the work of the National Assembly. To this end, procurement of a software that will assist in transcribing the plenary debates, through use of speech-to-text technology is envisaged. This software and technology may also be utilized for committee meetings.
Objectives, benefits & situational context
The main objective of the transcription solution is to equip the National Assembly of Djibouti with a modern, efficient, robust and user-friendly digital system for the transcription of plenary parliamentary debates (and potentially also committee proceedings) in the form of minutes.
Aside from increased productivity and faster production of the written plenary (and committee) records, the solution will facilitate greater transparency and access to information to the public i.e. through faster and more complete publication of these records on the parliamentary website. In addition, the solution will also facilitate more efficient internal dissemination of these records to MPs and staff, as the transcripts can be published on the National Assembly’s internal information systems.
- The installation of this software will have to be adapted to the existing system of the National Assembly.
- Currently, some debates are filmed and broadcast live on national television, but there is no system in place for written minutes. The hemicycle and committee meeting rooms are all equipped with a system of microphones that parliamentarians activate before each intervention.
- The proposed solution should also facilitate the archiving of plenary sessions’ debates and adopted texts. The possibility of broadcasting debates live via a web-stream could also be envisaged.
- The official languages used by the National Assembly are French and Arabic. Besides, some parliamentarians use local languages (Afar and Somali) orally, but the National Assembly's written documentation is in French.
- In addition to the installation of the software for the transcription of debates, the service provider will also provide training to the relevant staff of the National Assembly (documentation department, IT service, audio-visual service, legislative procedure department), provide documentation, and provide support for the maintenance and updates of the solution.
- On average, the National Assembly holds about 10 plenary sessions per year.
Expected characteristics of the solution
The solution must:
- Transcribe the audio files of debates held orally in plenary sessions and eventually during committee meetings into written minutes using speech-to-text technology, for presentation according to the standards of the National Assembly.
- Be able to identify French and Arabic and transcribe the debates in the original language.
- Allow the transcripts to be modified by transcript editors to correct small errors or approximations made during the debate (e.g. protocol formulas, references to a quoted text of law, etc.). The transcripts must therefore be proofread, allow modification and validation before being published online
- Allow for the final transcripts to be produced / outputted / exported in formats that are suitable for further publication on the National Assembly's website.
- Allow for easy integration into electronic archiving systems / document management systems of the National Assembly's proceedings and quick search of texts.
- Be adapted and configured to the system currently used by the National Assembly
- Be user-friendly, support updates and be of a high technological standard.
- Guarantee confidentiality of information and access to transcripts by granting access rights to responsible staff.
- Be able to integrate with an eventual system for web-streaming of plenary debates in the future.
Vendor responsibilities and tasks
The selected vendor will be required to perform the following tasks:
The solution should be able to be installed on the current system of the National Assembly, remotely, via a web application or directly on site. The result of the installation will be an adapted solution, functioning optimally and meeting the requirements set out in these ToR. Post-installation testing may be carried out until the solution is fully installed.
In addition, training sessions with the relevant departments of the National Assembly should be planned for an optimal use of the proposed software and all its components. To this end, a training plan should be drawn up, including theoretical and practical training. The training can be held at the National Assembly or remotely via video-conferencing, in order to reduce travel. The training should be conducted by experienced engineers or product managers who should be able to provide clear information to the Assembly's staff in order to make full and effective use of the solution.
Documentation in the form of digital and paper manuals should also be provided. Documentation may include, but is not limited to manuals explaining how the solution works, contact information for the supplier and maintenance personnel, and system recovery options.
The service provider should also support appropriate maintenance and be available to answer questions on the use of the software from the National Assembly.
The solution must support updates to ensure that it functions properly over time.
The working language of trainings, documentation, and communication with the National Assembly will be primarily in French.
Preferably, the activities and tasks to be carried out by the vendor should be done on location in Djibouti. But, if due to the pandemic the vendor is unable to travel and work onsite, kindly include an alternative proposal for these works in remote working format.
A timetable showing the main stages of the installation and training should be drawn up.