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Parliaments in OGP – Recommendations

Explore our list of recommendations for actions that parliaments can take to advance open government through legislation, oversight, opening up parliamentary institutions and processes, and fostering dialogue.

Legislative action

  • Adopt, or review and amend legislation to strengthen the legal frameworks governing access to information, public accountability, and civic space and participation in specific sectors or policy areas (e.g. climate, gender, justice) or across government (e.g. freedom of information, freedom of association/speech, public participation, open data, privacy, fiscal openness);
  • Enact legislation to strengthen reporting and accountability of the Executive Branch. This may include strengthening whistleblower protection, regular public reporting, complaints processes, or strengthening avenues for public interest litigation.
  • Adopt or improve legislation that ensures the public access to information from the Parliament, and identify individuals or offices responsible for responding to requests for information;
  • Implement a fully functional legislative footprints system, enabling public tracking of legislative initiatives from the drafting stage through to legislative review, adoption and – where relevant – amendments;
  • Improve the ways in which civil society and citizens can provide inputs throughout the legislative drafting and review by mandating public commenting and/or consultation opportunities at fixed points in the process;
  • Ensure all primary and secondary legislation is published in an easily accessible format, free of charge.

Improving Oversight 

  • Strengthen transparency and public participation opportunities in parliamentary oversight by improving transparency of records of fora in parliamentary oversight is exercised (e.g parliamentary questions, hearings, ad-hoc and standing committees) and providing opportunities for public input into the same.
  • Improve transparency independent oversight bodies created by or reporting to the parliament on government performance (e.g. supreme audit institutions or ombudsman) and transparency of parliamentary response to their findings and recommendations.
  • Legally mandate that the Ministry of Finance regularly report to the budget committee in the case of emergency financial spending (Covid19, conflict, climate emergencies), to ensure continued parliamentary oversight, and ensure that the meetings or their records are publicly available to strengthen transparency and accountability of public spending.
  • Improve the public review of auditing reports by the plenary and/or parliamentary committees, to strengthen accountability and encourage action on relevant recommendations, and invite, consider and share public submissions.
  • Invite regular briefings on the national OGP Action Plan progress throughout the OGP process at relevant parliamentary working group/subcommittee meetings, and invite, consider and share public input into the same.

Opening up Parliament 

  • Proactively publish information related to parliamentary operations, such as information on lawmakers, meeting agendas, bills, debates, and voting records.
  • Raise awareness of the potential mechanisms citizens can use to participate in parliamentary work.
  • Implement consultations and public hearings that give citizens opportunities to provide feedback and demonstrate their interests, both online and in-person.
  • Strengthen communication between legislators and their constituents and give opportunities for citizens, especially vulnerable groups, to give input.
  • Require each legislator to publish information on their work periodically, such as a comparison between their campaign commitments and their record of legislative activities.
  • Review and further improve the asset declaration required by Members of Parliament and senior parliamentary staff
  • Improve participation of civil society and citizens in the activities of parliamentary committees, to ensure their reports and recommendations are sufficiently informed by lived realities
  • Invite the supreme audit institution, or a suitable independent auditor, to conduct a full audit of the parliamentary budget and spending

Dialogue and agenda setting

  • Establish an open government working committee or working group to invite regular inputs from government, create an opportunity for participation by civil society and citizens, and ensure that OGP commitments become logged as part of the parliamentary record;
  • Co-create a resolution on open government (and/or a specific area of reform such as political advertising, lobbying or civic space) to strengthen cross-party support and build a working relationship with relevant civil society and other stakeholders
  • The Speaker, Secretary-General and/or relevant committees initiate a regional conversation around a specific area of open government reform, in support of reformers in government and civil society (e.g. tackling misinformation and disinformation; political advertising; digital governance)
Open Government Partnership