Parliament Committee documentation processes reformed

Dec 19, 2013

IPD produced a suite of 7 templates to respond to the request of the Committees for support. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh.

The Honourable Speaker to the Parliament of Bangladesh, Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, on December 9, 2013 endorsed a number of Parliamentary Committee-specific Templates, the aim of which is to standardize the handling of documentation and records within the Parliamentary Standing Committees.

It was the target Standing Committees that IPD has been working with since 2012 who identified the need to adopt more consistent documentation handling processes, drawing on the experiences of national and international parliamentary specialists by having standard templates to help guide the work within the Committees.

IPD held a series of consultations with numerous relevant key stakeholders including both the Parliamentarians and the Parliamentary Secretariat, to ensure that the templates met the needs of the Committees. As a result of those meetings, IPD produced a suite of 7 templates to respond to the request of the Committees for support. The Committee Templates which have now been approved by the Speaker as the head of the institution include: Committee meetings Agenda; standard Minutes of Meetings and a Checklist of the steps necessary for organizing and conducting Committee meetings. IPD will continue to advocate for the adoption of the remaining templates when the new Parliament is inaugurated.

Why is this important?
Firstly, having standard format records will enhance the institutional memory within the Committees. In the 9th Parliament there were 51 Standing Committees in operation and having a standard method of working in terms of documentation and recording helps make the Committee system more efficient and effective. In addition, the standardization of Committee operations will be especially important for the incoming 10th Parliamentarians, many of whom will be first time MPs, to understand how the Committees function.

The templates will also help support the efforts to improve Parliament’s outreach capacity as the checklist requires that the Committee meetings schedules are posted on the Parliament website which will mean that citizens will now be made aware of when Committee meetings are to be held. Therefore, the adoption of the Committee templates developed by IPD marks a significant milestone in IPD’s efforts to help enhance Parliament’s democratic practices through strengthening the working of Parliament and  increasing its knowledge management by having standard operating procedures for the new incoming Parliament.