USAID legislative assistance programs include a system for measuring the progress and results of assistance programs
Utilizes pre-determined goals and objectives for the program and measures progress towards those goals and objectives through the use of indicators.
Designing effective indicators is key to a good performance monitoring plan; must be tailored to the specific country context
We want to measure outcomes not outputs
These indicators can serve a larger purpose by measuring the progress of a legislative institution in terms of its own internal reform and modernization process, as well as measuring the overall democratic development of the legislative institution.
More Effective, Independent, and Representative Legislatures
More Effective and Democratic Internal Management Systems
Increased Legislative Capacity to Influence National Policy and Budget Priorities
Increased Citizen Access to Legislative Processes
I. More Effective, Independent, and Representative Legislatures
1) Survey of the level of confidence among political actors that legislature has the capacity to perform its function; and level of confidence among legislators that legislature acts as an independent body.
2) Survey of the level of confidence among citizens that legislature acts as a check against the executive (in presidential system); and level of confidence among citizens that legislature represents their interests.
3) Index of quality of legislative processes.
4) Number or Percentage of substantial legislative bills emanating from the legislature.
6) Number or Percentage of legislative bills drafted by the executive that are substantially amended by the legislature.
7) Number or Percentage of new laws which, as bills, were a) accompanied a written technical analysis, opinion papers, and/or legislative study; and b) were the subject of a public hearing.
II. More Effective and Democratic Internal Management Systems
1) The number of reform regulations and procedures adopted that enable the legislature to operate more efficiently and democratically in comparison with a list of reforms proposed.
2) The number of months each year that MPs and staff receive promised remuneration in timely manner.
3) The number of plenary session convened as scheduled with firm agendas in advance.
4) The number or percentage of laws benefiting during drafting from the use of improved information systems.
More Effective and Democratic Internal Management Systems (cont)
5) The percentage of MPs and staff who say they are able to obtain information when they need it.
6) Observance of rules permitting equitable participation by opposition including, but not limited to, the percentage of time given to opposition members in key debates; the percentage of speakers in plenary debates who are from the opposition; whether opposition members are given resources comparable to ruling party members (e.g., resources for meetings with constituents); percentage members from the opposition in key committees; or bills of opposition members are given due consideration.
7) Percentage of legislature’s budget (or dollar amount) devoted to modernization and reform; and/or to research & information.
III. Increased Legislative Capacity to Influence National Policy and Budget Priorities
1) Adequacy of legislative review of the budget including, but not limited to, whether the Executive submits budget to Parliament in a timely fashion; the Parliament has sufficient time to consider budget; the appropriate committees review the budget; members have access to budget information and analysis; the Parliament holds hearings on the budget; and the Parliament amends budget.
2) Index of committee capacity: a) committee structure appropriate for issue area (i.e., an education committee considers only educative issues); b) committees have sufficient resources (i.e., professional staff) at their disposal; c) committees have the authority to initiate & amend legislation; d) committees exercise their authority.
3) Index of committee oversight: a) are there oversight hearings? b) do oversight committees have sufficient resources to conduct independent investigations? c) do oversight committees have authority to question executive branch?
IV. Increased Citizen Access to Legislative Processes
1) The number of open public hearings in which citizens and citizen groups participate.
2) The average number of meetings legislators hold with NGOs or constituents per week or per month.
3) The percentage of legislators with functioning regional or local constituent offices.
4) The percentage of legislative committee meetings open to the public and media.
5) Scorecard of citizen access including, but not limited to, a) do citizens have access to records of committee and plenary meetings; b) can citizens obtain voting records of MPs; c) do citizens attend meetings of the parliament; d) are plenary and committee meetings open to the press.
6) Index measuring whether the content of public participation in committee processes is factored into legislation and budget decisions.
Individual Parliament’s Development of Performance Indicators
Palestinian Legislative Council
1. Legislative Review
Percentage of Executive-initiated draft laws passed by the Council that was amended in a technically and legally sound fashion by the Council.
2. Legislative Outreach
Number of legislative initiatives to elicit public comment on critical draft legislation through formal outreach mechanisms (primarily hearings and workshops)
3. Budget Hearings
Number of Legislative Council-initiated formal hearings held to discuss the annual government budget or government revenues and expenditures.
4. Oversight Initiative
Number of committee-based proceedings (investigations, reports, hearings) held on specific non-legislative Executive Branch performance or actions.
5. Response to Constituents
Number of “town meetings” organized by the Council.
Data is collected through various sources including, but not limited to, the parliamentary secretariat or clerk, interviews with MPs and staff, examination of legislative records, interviews with CSOs, news accounts, scorecards, indexes, surveys.
Baseline data is often a problem
Data collection can be costly and may require additional funding
Provides impetus for improving legislative record-keeping systems
Provides quantitative information but good impact evaluations also require qualitative information
Indicators don’t tell the whole story (attribution/causation question); many variables besides assistance programs can contribute to changes in parliamentary performance over time
Performance measuring data has been utilized in evaluating individual programs but no attempt yet to use the data systematically to review overall impact of USAID legislative programs