• Citizen engagement in South Korea

The Korean National Assembly has a long-standing practice of receiving and addressing public petitions, dating back to the Petition Act of 1961 and the revision of the National Assembly Act in 1988. To further enhance this tradition, it introduced the Sinmungo e-petition platform in 2020. Petitions that receive over 100 signatures within 30 days are published, while petitions with over 100,000 signatures in less than 30 days are referred to a special committee.

The National Assembly’s Petitions Support Center manages all e-petitions and has so far seen 18 petitions referred to the special committee. The adopted petitions, along with an “opinion report,” are then forwarded to the government. Post which, any further steps taken by the government concerning the petition are reported to the National Assembly.

  • Post-Legislative Scrutiny in India

The Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR), also known as the House of Representatives, is made up of elected members from political parties participating in general elections. It has effectively integrated a systematic Post-Legislative Scrutiny (PLS) into its committee. The findings from the PLS play a crucial role in determining the legislative agenda and deciding the need for repeal or amendment of specific laws.

The House of Representatives is well-equipped with each committee assisted by 10 to 20 specialists. The significance of PLS was formalised in the legislative process with the amendment of the law in September 2019.

  •  Technology-driven Parliament in Bahrain

The Shura Council of Bahrain faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic as it sought to transition its operations online, including remote work, virtual committees and plenary sessions, and online voting. In response, the council focused on four technological advancements: migrating to the cloud, enhancing member support, promoting mobility, and reinforcing cybersecurity.

 AI-powered solutions were developed, including speech-to-text for legislative reporting in the Bahraini dialect, live captioning of online video content, and a document search chatbot. In 2022, a comprehensive five-year plan was created to utilise AI applications in services and procedures. Furthermore, the Council plans to bring on board AI experts within parliament to drive these advancements forward.

  • Post-Legislative Scrutiny in Indonesia

Although it is a traditional function of parliaments, post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) has not always been consistently carried out. A systematic PLS approach has been implemented by many parliaments inside their committee systems. The Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR) in Indonesia is one of the parliaments that has put creative ideas into practice to improve PLS’s efficacy. After 2014, a DPR legislation committee began carrying out a formal procedure. The committee’s major areas of interest include legal issues, including whether a particular piece of law has been challenged in a constitutional court. The PLS findings are used to plan the upcoming legislative agenda and to decide whether a particular piece of law needs to be repealed or amended.

PLS became required at both the national and local parliamentary levels after the DPR amended the law on the legislative process in September 2019. That was a big step toward formalising PLS’s inclusion in Indonesia’s legislative process and further ingraining its significance in the DPR’s duties.

When conducting PLS, the value of having the right human resources available cannot be emphasised. The DPR is well-equipped with parliamentary and professional specialists; at any one moment, each committee is assisted by 10 to 20 experts. The difficulty for the DPR in this regard is that, although research professors who are promoted based on criteria established by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences provide expert help, these research parameters sometimes conflict with parliamentary activity. There is frequently a glaring gap, indicating the need to match academic research with DPR research requirements.

  • Citizen engagement in South Korea

The Petition Act of 1961 and the revision to the National Assembly Act in 1988 established the practice of submitting petitions to the Korean National Assembly. On January 10, 2020, the National Assembly established the Sinmungo e-petition platform. The National Assembly publishes petitions that receive over 100 signatures within 30 days after they are received within another 7 days. The National Assembly refers petitions to a special committee when they receive over 100,000 signatures in less than 30 days.

The National Assembly’s Petitions Support Center is responsible for managing e-petitions. So far, 18 e-petitions have been submitted to the special committee that received 100,000 or more signatures within 30 days.

Additionally, the National Assembly’s adopted petitions and an “opinion report” are forwarded to the government. The government is required to report to the National Assembly on any additional steps taken to address the petition.

  •  Conducting Parliament during Covid-19 in Bahrain

The Shura Council of Bahrain had difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic when attempting to move its everyday operations online through remote working, virtual committee and plenary sessions, and online voting. The Council’s answer concentrated on four key issues:
• Moving to the cloud
• Personalizing member support
• Focusing on mobility
• Focusing on cyber security

 AI-powered solutions were created during the epidemic and were motivated by the demands of the time. Examples include speech-to-text for legislative reporting (based on the Bahraini dialect), live captioning of online streamed footage, and a chatbot for document searches. The Council is also creating more chatbots for legal advice and library users.

The Council created a five-year AI plan in 2022, complete with a project road map. To investigate the viability of utilising AI applications in services and procedures, it has also established a dedicated working group within the secretariat with the participation of all directorate heads. There is a plan to hire AI experts within parliament to advance these technologies.

  • Artificial Intelligence to manage Amendments in Italy

Amendments are submitted electronically to the Italian Senate, but not usually to alter legislation that has already been proposed. Members frequently offer amendments as a tactic to promote different ideas or to criticise the administration, especially those from opposition parties. In extreme circumstances, they might “filibuster” by presenting numerous amendments that differ by a few words to stall the legislative process. The Senate staff members in charge of analysing, gathering, and arranging amendments may find this difficult.

For Senate workers, the IT department has created several document management and automation applications. As part of an experiment, a new AI-powered amendment management system was put in place to deal with workload spikes like those brought on by filibustering. The detection of clusters of modifications with similar wording is sped up by this technology, which employs “text clustering algorithms.”

The Senate is looking into the possibilities of identifying comparable laws that might be similarly impacted by the changes and of detecting not only textual but also semantic similarities.

  • Monitoring Parliamentary affairs in Austria

The Austrian Parliamentary Administration created the EULE Media Monitor which maintains a 360° approach to monitor affairs in Parliament. By providing information in an accessible web-based format, the EULE Media Monitor aids in keeping MPs informed.

Since credible information has become more elusive, staying afloat amidst a sea of dubious social media posts, contradictory news sources and overwhelming professional data has increasingly become challenging. In this difficult environment, parliamentary research services work to offer the trustworthy information that parliamentarians so much need.

The Parliamentary staff within the Austrian Legal, Legislative and Research Service has been tasked with locating, selecting, and visualising content pertinent to legislators. By presenting analyses of social media, news, and more general expert research, organised by several policy areas, the EULE Media Monitor helps members of parliament save time and money.

  • Evidence-based policymaking in Kenya

The foundation of evidence-based policymaking is the idea that decisions based on systematic evidence are better informed and lead to better results. To promote Kenya’s development objectives, the Kenyan Parliament created the Parliamentary Caucus on Evidence-Informed Oversight and Decision-Making (PC-EIDM) in 2015.

A nonpartisan caucus that includes representatives from both the National Assembly and the Senate, PC-EIDM is an unofficial committee of the House. The goal is to promote and urge lawmakers to use evidence-informed decision-making to improve oversight and boost accountability. Its establishment was justified by the necessity to increase MPs’ interest in using evidence when carrying out oversight, enacting legislation, and representing the public rather than just depending on personal beliefs or political stances.

EIDM was sparked by Kenya’s 2010 Constitution, which gave Parliament the power to formulate the budget rather than just approve it. The advantages of MPs depending on evidence when conducting oversight and making decisions are now acknowledged by the Kenyan Parliament. These advantages include the capacity to direct spending toward a particular action and a decrease in the waste of public resources.

  • Citizen engagement in Zambia

The National Assembly of Zambia recognised the need to engage with citizens more effectively and transparently ten years ago. They decided to use radio broadcasts to implement “questions and answers” sessions. The Zambian Parliament makes information accessible to the public through a plethora of mediums, including the parliament’s website, radio and TV stations, and constituency offices. All of which contribute to bringing the parliament closer to the populace by serving all ages and social classes.

The National Assembly Radio airs Monday through Friday each week. When parliament is in session, all proceedings are streamed live, and a programme called “Parliamentary Business Update” allows viewers to participate by texting questions. In the course of the programme, specialists go over the procedure for doing parliamentary business and take questions on certain subjects. Experts respond right away on the air, or the next day if more research or consultation is required. In the meantime, “Know your MP” is a service that allows citizens to ask their MPs questions directly.

Through reverse questions and answers, listeners can win prizes such as parliamentary publications and promotional items during the live radio broadcast. This furthers the goal of promoting citizen understanding of the law. The National Assembly is eager to modernise its communication approach to stay up with how social media is used in contemporary culture. As Facebook participation extends beyond the typical work hours of parliament, the Assembly is considering expanding the Q&A sessions there, subject to developing the required staffing, policies, and standards for moderation and management.

  • Gender-Inclusive Parliament in Sierra Leone

The Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act signed into law by President Julius Maada Bio on 19 January will ensure that at least 30% of parliamentarians are women and impose similar quotas in other institutions like government, local councils, the diplomatic corps and the civil service.

Furthermore, the law also stipulates that at least 30% of jobs in the private sector should be held by women (for companies with 25 or more employees) and extends maternity leave from 12 to 14 weeks.

As of February 2023, only 12.33% of MPs are women in Sierra Leone. The Law is touted as a major legislative intervention to improve the condition of women in one of the most impoverished nations on earth.

North America
  • Public participation in budget-making in Canada

Pre-budget consultations are one of the activities that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance may perform during each legislative session. Before 1993, the Ministry of Finance had complete control over the budget-making process, which was not open to the general public. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance was asked to conduct public consultations on financial matters when the Minister of Finance opened up the process for preparing the budget in 1993. The Finance Committee does not work on specific departmental allocations; instead, it concentrates on overall spending, tax policy, deficits, and surpluses.

The Committee issues a press release to launch the public consultation process, urging Canadians to provide feedback on the upcoming budget and outlining the precise topics they want witnesses to focus on throughout their testimony. Participation in the public consultation process before the Committee is open to any individual or organisation. When the Committee holds public hearings, which occasionally take place in various places, witnesses may testify in person or may submit written briefs online. The Committee formulates its recommendations based on the pre-budget consultations; these suggestions are made public on the Committee website so that people who have testified or submitted written briefs may determine whether the Committee has considered their presentations.

Witness statements are written down and made available on the Committee’s website. Additionally, a summary of written submissions is also published. The consultation process is open for a fair amount of time – online consultations are open for 60 days, while in-person consultations are open for at least two weeks.

South America
  • Virtual Congress in Chile

The National Congress of Chile created the Virtual Congress, an online platform for public engagement, with the assistance of the Inter-American Development Bank. To reach as many people as possible and get as much feedback as possible, the parliamentary administration uploads material about draft legislation or other topics for public consultation to the platform in plain English. Approximately 25 draught laws and 7 questions for public input were issued in the first half of 2022. On the platform, more than 150,000 people have registered. The National Congress staff evaluates the citizen response and compiles summaries of the many viewpoints on the proposed legislation and participant recommendations. The summary is sent to participants, published online, and sent to MPs seven days after voting is completed.

There are several difficulties and opportunities for improvement that staff working on the Virtual Congress platform have identified. It includes reaching out to remote communities, analyzing the impact on the legislative process, making better use of data analytics, simplifying the layout of the platform, and coordinating work between the Chilean congress and the people.