Posts on ‘Service development’ cover everything from good ideas for improving daily operations to methods for long term programmes to turn round a service in crisis. There is a mix of conventional presentations of management methods and tools with short notes on operational issues and more personal reflections in the ‘Lessons learned’ series.(more…)
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The texts in the ’Concepts and issues’ category are reflections on some neglected and emerging issues in parliamentary library & research service.
The topics so far in the ‘Concepts and issues’ category’ are linked, and indeed the main papers highlighted in the category were built in sequence and overlap in their content:
- The historic and present relation of the services to Member decision-making;
- The concept of value in these services and how to increase value;
- The management of ignorance;
- The significance of ‘evidence-based policymaking’ and the contribution to the UN SDGs. (Not yet a full paper)
The thread running through these papers and presentations is a challenge to the way parliamentary library & research services have traditionally presented themselves – and their key clients, the Members.(more…)
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) new version of the Parline database is a treasure-trove of information about parliaments worldwide. It allows searches by categories such as region and provides some very nice visualisation tools to present the data.
It is a good source of practical information – this search, for example, gives a list of all the parliamentary websites worldwide.
Parline is based mainly on survey of parliamentary administrations, which is both a strength and weakness. The strength is in the accuracy, currency and authority of the data. (For an example of a weakness, try this Data Explorer search on basic salaries of parliamentarians in Europe )
Unfortunately, so far as I can find, there is no data on library and research services. Perhaps a question could be included in future?
There is more background information below, and a communication to IFLAPARL about the new database is here. The database was presented at the IFLAPARL conference in Athens in August 2019.
“New Parline is the IPU’s open data platform on national parliaments. It allows you to consult and compare data on national parliaments including information on structures, working methods, gender parity, women’s caucuses, youth and MPs’ human rights.
The platform is aimed at parliamentarians, academics, international and civil society organizations and the general public.
Some of the data goes back several years allowing you to see evolutions and trends over time. Much of the data is unique and only available on New Parline.
Generally, the information on the platform comes from national parliaments directly. It is updated regularly to take into account any changes that result from elections. The data covers a wide range of themes; for example, the number of chambers, the number of women MPs, the number of laws initiated by parliament and the average age of MPs.
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.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of the founding of LSE's first blog, with over 100,000 open access posts now online, these three key short reads cover academic blogging & impacthttps://t.co/Lkxd57a8zRhttps://t.co/DQ8bF5k2Ydhttps://t.co/3q9Is5m3nS— Patrick Dunleavy (@PJDunleavy) February 18, 2020
IFLAPARL has published a call for papers on the theme of Evidence-Based Policymaking (EBPM). It will host an open session on this theme during the 2020 World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) in Dublin, Ireland. The WLIC will take place from 15-21 August, 2020. The date of the IFLAPARL session is yet to be confirmed.
The call states:
“Parliamentary library and research services have as a core function the provision of ‘evidence’ for representatives to undertake their work on policy. This is achieved by library and information services and products, and through research services, if offered. Provision is, however, one thing, while actual use may be something else. What does ‘evidence-based policy’ mean in a parliamentary context?
Given that parliamentary library and research services operate in a strictly non-partisan manner, explicit support for a UN SDG may not, in some contexts, be considered neutral. Work around ‘evidence’ however, can arguably make an impact on the objectives of the UN SDGs, whether as an intended outcome or not. The impact of the services would be most marked for UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 which in part concerns an aim to ‘build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions’ but other SDGs are also relevant.
Issues addressed in the session might include:
- How can science be effectively communicated to the parliamentary audience?;
- The application of gender-based information and analysis in parliaments (SDG 16 on quality of governance + SDG 5: ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’)
- How do parliamentarians actually use evidence? – in particular, as information/documentation and library resources, or as research services/products;
- How parliamentarians can be supported in their use of evidence? (e.g. by training, innovative products/services);
- Can communication of evidence to parliamentarians be successfully re-used to inform citizens?
- What insights does the academic study of ‘evidence-based policy’ provide for our practice?
- What has been the experience of parliamentary services – notably some in Africa – that have consciously applied an ‘evidence-based policy’ approach?
- What insights can we offer to those studying ‘evidence-based policy’?
The aim of the session is to share knowledge on how services support the use of ‘evidence’ and to critically examine academic study of ‘evidence-based policy’ in a parliamentary context. The academic studies may yield insights into how we can improve our practice; equally our practical experience may have something to add to the academic studies.
IFLAPARL is looking for substantive papers of 4-6 pages taking a critical approach to these issues, with relevant cases from library and research services, including analyses of projects and initiatives of general interest to Section members.”
On 31 January before 11 p.m. I registered the new domain name of http://www.informationatwork.eu. That is now the site’s primary address but any links to the previous address (.consulting) will still work.
You may read whatever signficance you like into this.
Parliamentary library and research services have the mission to deliver high-quality services – but what does ‘quality’ mean? Put your own rankings on the cars above – what does it is say about your idea of ‘quality’?(more…)
The concept of ‘account manager’ is well established in business – a role that gives the client a single point of contact with the organisation. Focusing communications allows a relationship to develop and the account manager can, therefore, calibrate service delivery to the needs of the particular client. For the client, the service has a more friendly face and a direct line of contact, in person or remotely. In a parliamentary setting, clients may be unaware of the full range of service offers and, depending on the structure, may find it daunting to work out what they can get from whom – so may look for apparently ‘quick and easy’ solutions elsewhere. An account manager can simplify the process of connecting the client with the relevant service offer, and so make it more likely that service will be requested and used.(more…)
‘Evidence in Action – an analysis of information gathering and use by Canadian parliamentarians’ Kimberly Girling, Research and Policy Director, Evidence for Democracy and Katie Gibbs, Executive Director, Evidence for Democracy. November 2019
This substantial report on the use of evidence by Members in Canada is the product of a campaigning organisation which describes itself as
“the leading fact-driven, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making in Canada. Through research, education and issue campaigns, Evidence for Democracy engages and empowers the science community while cultivating public and political demand for evidence-based decision-making”
“politicians will necessarily be in the business of making political judgements rather than merely rational assessments”p. 209, Crewe, 2015
Emma Crewe’s ‘House of Commons: an Anthropology of MPs at Work’ (2015) is an account of how UK Members work, based on anthropological observation. It provides insight into how Members actually use information and make decisions – academic study that appeared almost completely absent ten years ago when I researched ‘Members use of information’. Crewe does not directly address parliamentary library/research service issues (neither term is indexed) but she does make some very relevant observations on ‘evidence’ and how Members in the UK parliament use it.(more…)