Marketing measures for a new parliament
Seventeen of twenty-two (77%) respondents mentioned some kind of activity aimed at Members in a new parliament; only one specifically said they did nothing. It is a near universal phenomenon.
“Induction program and briefing books on how the Parliament works”. The briefing books “are distributed among all MPs and their assistants by email and in hard copy before or right after the Constituent Session of the Parliament. These are the handbook Practical Guide to the Work of the Member of Parliament, publication called How the Parliament Works and monolingual explanatory dictionary of commonly used terms called Short Parliamentary Dictionary. The induction programme for newly elected MPs and their assistants is organised by the department of the research service and “One of the topics covered in these seminars is the presentation of parliamentary administration including the roles and responsibilities of the research service. Last year after the parliamentary elections of 29 February 2020, due to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditionally organized introductory seminars for the MPs and their assistants were held online in an innovative way using modern technologies through a series of narrated presentations available on the intranet (internal network) of the Chancellery. These presentations provided practical information on the legislative process, oversight function of the Parliament, the competence of the Parliament in the EU affairs, the position of the Chancellery, and the scope of the Department of the Parliamentary Institute and its units. When playing the video-presentation there was not only the possibility to see individual slides of the presentation but also to listen to the lecturer’s commentary with explanations, demonstrations, and answers to practical aspects of parliamentary work (e.g. how to submit a draft law or interpellation). With the release of epidemic measures in summer 2020, the Department organized additional in-person seminars for parliamentary groups, tailor-made to their needs”.
(a) “At the beginning of the term of each Knesset [parliament of Israel], the Knesset organizes general training sessions for the new MKs [Members] in order to introduce them to the work of the Knesset and its various units. One of these sessions is devoted to the RIC [Knesset Research & Information Centre], and in it the Director of the RIC and the Head of the Budgetary Control Department (which is part of the RIC) impart information on the Center, our various products and services and how to request them.” (b) “After the inauguration of the current Knesset, the RIC organized further training sessions for MKs, dedicated to specific topics, such as education, employment, budget etc. Each session was
instructed by the relevant RIC Team Leader and researchers, and gave the participating MKs insight
into the basics of each topic, as well as to the importance of the professional services which they
can receive from the RIC for their parliamentary activities.” (c) “At the beginning of each Knesset term the Director of the RIC also sets up personal meetings with each of the new MKs. Each meeting is specifically planned to include the Team Leaders with expertise in the specific topics that each MK is likely to focus on during his/her tenure. Similar meetings are also set up between each new Committee Chair, the RIC Director and the relevant Team Leader.” In addition, the Head of Information Services in the RIC meets each new assistant [presumably new arrivals during the term as well as at the beginning of the parliament – IW] “in order to make sure they are aware of the products and services available from the RIC, guidelines for requests, the RIC Service Charter, etc.”
In New Zealand, they noted that induction activities at the very beginning may not work too well for research services – Members minds are focused on other matters. They are more receptive a little way into their term:
“Parliamentary Service runs an expo type induction event for new Members over a few days. The Library has a booth at this event. New Members at this point are receiving a lot of information on all aspects of Parliament and are most interested in IT arrangements, setting up electorate offices and finance matters. The Library endeavours to talk to the new MPs at this time, but they are often distracted. Six weeks after the election we contact new Members and offer to provide a one-on-one induction to let them know how the Library can help them and set up alerts and news monitoring services for them. We find at this stage; Members are often still not at a stage where they are interested in Library services. After the 2020 election, for some Members we did this one-on-one induction several months after they had been elected and at this point, they were very receptive”. The New Zealand service has also moved to a more personalised form of policy briefing for new Members: “We’ve also produced research briefs around election time that we use to promote our research skills to new MPs. Following the 2011 and 2014 elections a publication with a selection of research briefs was sent to each MP. However in recent elections we’ve moved away from a print publication, and while we still produced some research briefs, we’ve focussed on using individual briefs in inductions with new Members”.
“Early in each new Parliament, we communicate the many ways we can support new and returning parliamentarians with their work, emphasizing the research support we provide to parliamentary committees and associations as well as our customized research services to individual parliamentarians by sending a letter of welcome to parliamentarians, by participating in service fairs managed by the administrations of the Senate and the House, and by sending a series of timely newsletters that introduce our products and services to clients”.
“holding 2-3 days New Members Orientation on working with the Parliament at the Institute along with publications customised in [English and the local language] helps make early inroads to introduce [the research service] as MPs own research and capacity building facility; It takes good few months of preparation so that it is done professionally and MPs naturally get attracted towards the non-partisan service where they can [look for] any parliamentary service or product they need during their tenure as MPs”
“At the beginning of each new Legislative Session, our office contacts Deputies and Senators in order to inform them about the services we provide exclusively to them, their advisors and work teams. At present, we are working on a publication for new Senators and Deputies regarding the functioning of Parliament”
“Induction of Members on the use of research services and face to face engagements” and the “research week”.
“An information package for the MPs at the beginning of a new term” consisting of “a leaflet on our services – (previously) on office usable gadget (e.g. notepad, pen-drive) with logo and contact information”. In 2018 and for the forthcoming (2022) parliamentary term: a “Special publication with an overview of policy issues for a newly-elected parliament” (titled ‘Infoscope’ and based on the “Key issues” publication of the UK House of Commons Library)
“Training sessions [for] new Members and their staff as a part of the general introduction programme”
Anonymised responses include:
- We prepare resources for all new members and provide these in an informal setting that permits one-on-one discussions between members and our staff. This is complemented by a structured presentation and overview of our services to new members and meetings between the Director/senior staff and new members if required. To summarise, we attempt to meet directly with every new member at the commencement of each parliamentary term and discuss our service in a one-on-one setting. We also prepare and provide materials to new members and ensure all members have, at least, attended the presentation/overview of our service.
- Presentation of services to groups of Members – but also individually – as well as to their assistants. Introductory training sessions on Research Service and Library products and services by policy area (‘knowledge sources info sessions)’ – but they continue throughout the term. Interviews with Members.
- To contact them and their groups offering and explaining our services.
- At the beginning of every parliamentary term, the research service compiles…a book [with] practical information on various subjects such as rights and duties of MPs, how to register in the plenary voting system, what products are available and where to find them, absences, insurance, legislative procedure, electronic equipment…” “one copy is given to every MP” whether new to the parliament or a returning Member. In addition, the research service – with the publishing department – “publishes and provides all MPs [with] up-to-date relevant parliamentary legislation”
- We do a short presentation on the Research Service at the start of a new parliament, and we invite new members to have individual meetings to discuss what the research service can offer
- Production of brochures describing the activities of the [research service] and the practical procedures for requesting documentary material. Online training with parliamentary assistants of new members of parliament and other parliamentary bodies (political groups, committees, etc.) with a concrete presentation of the research service’s database…etc
- Presentation of services to groups of Members
Next in ‘Raising the Profile’:
Results in detail. Part 7 – What is the value to Members?