Using the Indicators for Democratic Parliaments in the context of a parliamentary development project
This case study explores how the INTER PARES programme used the Indicators for Democratic Parliaments in the context of a parliamentary development project to adapt its needs assessment and monitoring tools for reporting to the donor.
The case study was published in November 2023.
INTER PARES | Parliaments in Partnership is a global parliamentary development project funded by the European Union and implemented by International IDEA. The programme facilitates peer-to-peer parliamentary strengthening to enhance how partner parliaments perform their legislative, oversight, representative, budgetary and administrative functions. It also supports interparliamentary collaboration and learning at the global level and collaborates with the IPU in developing the Indicators for Democratic Parliaments.
As an EU funded project, INTER PARES is required to use a logical framework to monitor and report on project results. To do so, it needed to design a capacity assessment matrix for the five core parliamentary functions that would be quantifiable, yielding a numerical result, yet also qualitative, providing information about the parliament’s context and explaining the numerical scores. The tool had to be user friendly but short for use in an 18-month implementation period.
Starting with assessment tools developed by the funder an initial format was designed, revealing some gaps, and needed updates. The project consulted the newly prepared Indicators for Democratic Parliaments whose comprehensive approach provides an encyclopaedic resource for defining and describing all aspects of parliamentary practice.
The instrument is divided into five sections, one for each function each having a few main dimensions. It asks key informant(s) in partner parliaments to assess, and score, their parliament’s capacity for each dimension, listing detailed considerations as a guide for discussion and interview.
Once the basic layout was designed, INTER PARES compared all IPU indicators, dimensions, and criteria against the matrix, adapting it to reflect the IPU Indicators. The IPU Indicators were helpful to:
- Double check that the matrix assessment was sufficiently complete and relevant.
- Define an underlying logic of first assessing formal powers then their use in practice
- Develop dimensions and considerations especially within the administrative function and inclusive institutional practices
- Refine considerations which informants and the assessment team could discuss to probe for deeper understanding of issues and scores, supporting qualitative analysis, ensuring scores were contextualized ,and that the tool supported learning.
- Work with partners to understand their systems and needs as the basis for a co-designed work plan and monitoring
- Improve the logical framework with in-depth qualitative information gathering
- Enhance both the project and funder’s confidence that the tool rests on a high standard of good practice.
The IPU Indicators for Democratic Parliaments is a self-assessment tool designed to enable parliaments to diagnose gaps and weaknesses in any segment of parliamentary work, and to identify ways in which changes can be made. While parliaments are the intended primary users of the Indicators, the tool can be a valuable resource for parliamentary development projects. In the case of the INTER PARES | Parliaments in Partnership project, the IPU Indicators were useful in enhancing project management, monitoring, and learning.
For more details, see the full case study created by INTER PARES.
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