Commitments

Ensure that parliamentary openness procedures are in line with international good practice

What are illustrative commitments

About this Commitment

Amibition Level

  • Advanced Step

Sources of guidance

Requires new legislation?

  • Sometimes

Justification

Parliaments must constantly renew their commitments to openness, transparency and citizen engagement. Due to the rapid pace of technological change, there’s a need clear for periodic reviews of policies that influence parliament’s ability to engage; and it is often helpful to institutionalize this process for periodic review. The Declaration on Parliamentary Openness states that “Parliamentary transparency policies shall be publicly available and shall specify terms for their periodic review to take advantage of technological innovations and evolving good practices.” As early as 2004, the conclusions of a 2004 Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and World Bank Institute study group on access to information noted that “[c]onsideration should be given to regular parliamentary review, for example on a biannual basis, of implementation of the access to information regime.” (Mendel, 2005). The Global Centre for ICT in Parliament (2010) has also established that parliaments should elaborate “strategic plans, updated regularly, for the use of ICT that directly improve the operational capacity of parliaments to fulfil their legislative, oversight, and representational responsibilities.”

Recommendation

  1. Institutionalize a regular legislative openness review, in the rules of procedure or in other procedures and practices that involve the participation of local civil society experts, leading to both changes in policies and potential commitments.
  2. Actively engage with the government in the development of parliamentary openness commitments in future OGP action plans; either fully integrated into the countries action plan or as a separate appendix, focused solely on the legislature.
  3. Conduct a parliamentary information audit to ensure that necessary information is made available in accordance with international good practice.
  4. Form or formally task a committee or other body within parliament to monitor parliamentary openness and citizen engagement efforts.
  5. Engage in international fora dedicated to sharing international good practice, including the OGP Legislative Openness Working Group, to actively learn from other peer institutions regarding emerging best practice on parliamentary openness.

Other References

  • Mendel, T. (2005) Parliament and Access to Information: Working for Transparent Governance, CPA-WBI http://wbi.worldbank.org/wbi/Data/wbi/wbicms/files/drupal-acquia/wbi/Parliament%20and%20Access%20to%20Information%20by%20Toby%20Mandel.pdf
  • Global Centre for ICT in Parliament (2010) World e-Parliament Report 2010, IPU-UNDESA, http://www.ictparliament.org/wepr2010

Standards & Guidance