“‘All you need is LOVE’ ’: parliamentary library & research services that support parliaments in winning challenges during times of crisis” – APLAP conference June 2021

I recently had the honour of being invited keynote speaker at the conference of the Association of Parliamentary Libraries of Asia and the Pacific. It was an invitation as Chair of IFLAPARL, and the conference was open to all interested worldwide – two very welcome gestures at a time when regional associations might benefit from closer links between themselves and with IFLAPARL at global level.

Although invited as Chair of IFLAPARL, the request was to give a personal view – sharing my “knowledge, experiences, and insights on library and research services that are responsive to the needs of parliaments and parliamentarians in winning challenges during times of crisis and the corollary human resource management and information access issues.

The presentation slides are attached here but recordings of the full conference will be available online, as will the same presentation file [links to be added when available].

Do parliamentary research services do “policy analysis” or do they do “analysis of policy”?

“If the clients understand what ‘policy analysis’ should be, a parliamentary research service which promises to do it is creating an expectation that cannot or should not be fulfilled”

Do parliamentary research services do “policy analysis”? I was asked that recently and my answer was “no” and if both question and answer seem strange, I agree. My answer would have been different a few years ago – we even created posts titled ‘Policy Analyst’ in my then service. So what’s going on?

Firstly, there is no disagreement that parliamentary researchers analyse policy. But, strictly, that is not the same as “policy analysis”. Saying analysis of policy is not the same as policy analysis may sound very like the “Yes, Minster” official making the difference between the policy of administration and the administration of policy. It is, though, an important distinction.

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Blogging for research services – London School of Economics (LSE) practical advice

The LSE has been a highly-effective user of social media and these three articles provide some good reasons for a parliamentary research service to set up its own blog and Twitter account(s), and some excellent practical advice on how to do so.

Quality management basics for parliamentary research services



Quality management was a new frontier in the 1980s in the UK but became simply a condition for staying in business for much of the corporate and public sector by the 2000’s. This is not the case everywhere, and there are still challenges in public services – it is a lot easier to apply quality management methods in a car factory than in a professional service. For services and people new to quality management it is worth rehearsing the basics, with a particular focus on their application in services. The download is a presentation on quality management basics with some thoughts on how it can be applied to parliamentary research services.

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