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Strengthening the Capacity of Parliaments through Development of Parliamentary Research Services

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Presentation at the 13th Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians, 29-30th July 2017

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Strengthening the Capacity of Parliaments through Development of Parliamentary Research Services

  1. 1. Strengthening the Capacity of Parliaments through Development of Parliamentary Research Services Dr. Fotios Fitsilis Head of Department Scientific Documentation and Supervision Scientific Service Hellenic Parliament 1 Thirteenth Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians 29-30th July 2017
  2. 2. 2 Presentation structure Part A. Introduction Part B. Study of Parliamentary Research Services* Part C. PaRS and parliamentary innovation Part D. Conclusions and outlook * PaRS
  3. 3. 3 Part A. Introduction
  4. 4. 4 Parliaments and innovation  Technology affects political behavior in societies  Role of tradition in parliamentary operation … tradition vs. innovation*  Parliaments have long kept technology debates out of their agenda The role of PaRS? * Technological and non-technological innovation
  5. 5. 5 Characteristics of PaRS  Research services in majority of parliaments  Accumulation of procedural and technical expertise  Necessity for parliamentary evolution  Innovation to strengthen… a) administrative capacity b) the role of Parliament in digital societies Redefine the role of PaRS?
  6. 6. 6 Part B. Study of Parliamentary Research Services
  7. 7. 7 Work in progress… more to follow  Hellenic Parliament Scientific Service  Austrian Parliament Scientific Service*  National Assembly of Serbia Research Group  IPU Guidelines European Parliament Research Service** * Wissenschaftlicher Dienst ** EPRS
  8. 8. Hellenic Parliament Scientific Service *under the scientific supervision of the President of the Scientific Council Provisions: art. 65 par. 5 C., 1975 Implementation: art. 160 RoP, 1987  Scientific Council  Internal RoP  Directly linked to the Speaker 8 *
  9. 9. Legal reporting Documentation In-house consultancy Technical assistance Main services 9 Scientific Service operations e.g. bilateral, Twinning, Europaid e.g. digitization, OCR, archiving
  10. 10. Austrian Parliament Scientific Service  1 of 7 services  Restructuring of the original service in 2006  Output: legal advice in administrative & procedural questions  Contains PBO* related unit  Also: special advisors for parl. research 10 *Parliamentary Budget Office
  11. 11. National Assembly of Serbia Research Group  NARS Organization: 4 Sectors  Embedded in the Library within the Legislation sector  Support to MPs (via Committees or Groups)  Output: knowledge based products 11
  12. 12. IPU guidelines  5 key phases (own categorization)  13 distinct steps  Reverse engineering possible to assess existing PaRS! 12 Phase/Guideline Phase a: Governance 1. Determine where PaRS will be located in the organization Phase b: Define the mandate 2. Establishment and objectives 3. Identify who may access the service 4. Determine what types of services will be offered Phase c: Determine how the research service operates 5. Adopt a Service Charter and criteria for prioritizing demands 6. Identify staff requirements 7. Establish a process for quality control 8. Secure access to a range of information sources 9. Define information management requirements 10. Establish means of promotion and evaluation Phase d: Make the most of partnerships 11. Build partnerships within the parliamentary administration 12. Set up partnerships with other research services Phase e: Reporting to Parliament 13. Establish ways to report to parliament
  13. 13. 13 1. Determine where PaRS will be located in the organization Phase a: Governance  AUP: One of seven ‘services’  HeP: Linked to Speaker  NARS: Unit within library
  14. 14. 14 2. Establishment and objectives Phase b: Define the mandate  AUP: Major rearrangement/shrinking in past decade  HeP: Constitutional basis  NARS*: Regulations on Internal Organization and Job Classification EPRS: Establishment in November 2013 *establishment of research institutes or departments within the state administration is not supported by applicable national law
  15. 15. 15 3. Identify who may access the service Phase b: Define the mandate  AUP: MPs (PBO); administration  HeP: Via the Speaker  NARS: Requests from MPs via Committees or Parliamentary Groups EPRS: Direct MP requests
  16. 16. 16 4. Determine what types of services will be offered Phase b: Define the mandate  AUP: Legal advice in administrative and procedural questions  HeP: Legal reports on bills and law proposals, legal opinions  NARS: Research documents and knowledge related products
  17. 17. 17 5. Adopt a Service Charter and criteria for prioritizing demands Phase c: Determine operation  AUP, HeP and NARS: Internal Rules of Procedure 6. Identify staff requirements  AUP: N/K  HeP: approx. 35 (with Scientific Council)  NARS: 6 researchers EPRS: approx. 340
  18. 18. 18 7. Establish a process for quality control Phase c: Determine operation  AUP, HeP & NARS: No EPRS: Editing board 8. Secure access to a range of information sources  AUP, HeP & NARS: Yes Parliamentary library offers a basis for securing and accessing such resources
  19. 19. 19 9. Define information management requirements Phase c: Determine operation  AUP: Legal workflow management  HeP: Basic infrastructure; DMS to be defined  NARS: DMS in place and operational 10. Establish means of promotion and evaluation  AUP: No  HeP: No  NARS: Communication strategy in place EPRS: Communication plan is implemented; institutional memory
  20. 20. 20 11. Build partnerships within the parliamentary administration 12. Set up partnerships with other research services Phase d: Partnerships  AUP, HeP & NARS: Yes 13. Establish ways to report to parliament  AUP: N/K  HeP: No  NARS: No EPRS: Yes
  21. 21. 21 Part C. PaRS and parliamentary innovation
  22. 22. 22 Analysis I: Innovation  Innovation inherent with IP guidelines  Innovation* may affect the function of parliaments  _Challenges: Tackling administrative inefficiency or procedural aspects, e.g. open legislative data/Akoma Ntoso quasi-standard  _Concerns: Undermine the foundations of the representation system, e.g. through constitutional or legislative crowdsourcing initiatives * Focus on ICT
  23. 23. 23 Analysis II: Issues  More efficient use of new technologies in parliaments through PaRS involvement, e.g. policy communication, citizen’s engagement, e-democracy etc.  Study: Impartiality, independency, accuracy and comprehensibility seem to be the main qualities which are expected by both MPs and the general public when using the ICT tools (UN, 2012).  PaRS need to stand out in the ‘informal’ competition with external agencies
  24. 24. 24 Analysis III: Tools and stakeholders  Utilization of technology tools to advance quality of PaRS products  Internal ICT tools, e.g. DMS, OCR, XML editors …  Size and composition of PaRS is critical  ‘Proper’ mix of professionals, e.g. legal, political, engineering, data scientists etc.  Develop and manage a vast network of stakeholders
  25. 25. 25 Part D. Conclusions
  26. 26. 26 Role of PaRS I  Project management role in the introduction new technologies  Aggressive approach as in-house consultancy  Coordination of parliamentary experts and external consultants  Participation in research and/or technical assistance consortia to acquire necessary knowhow
  27. 27. 27 Role of PaRS II  Technology may be evolving fast, but some facettes may not be ripe enough to enter the parliamentary environment  Issues of privacy, confidentiality and ethics …  PaRS have to claim the role for themselves to guide the adoption of technologies in a controlled manner  Strengthened ties with parliamentary libraries Reforms to strengthen the functions of PaRS
  28. 28. 28 Assessment  In the light of the above, are the aforementioned PaRS ‘future proof’? PaRS Assessment AUP HeP NARS EPRS limited scope, co- operations, digital support tradition, staffing, ICT tools scope, staffing capacity, institutional memory FACTORS
  29. 29. 29 IPU guidelines 1. Revision on a frequent basis 2. Addition of a consistent methodological approach 3. More detailed sections on ‘digital environment’ and the ‘information management’, maybe as sub-steps? 4. Include in the next IPU Global Parliamentary Report
  30. 30. 30 Thank you! fitsilisf@parliament.gr

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