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Evaluation of National Parliament of the Solomon Islands:Parliamentary Strengthening Project (PSP)-Phase 3
Commissioning Unit: Fiji
Evaluation Plan: 2013-2017
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 03/2015
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Fiji
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation:

1.  As requested by the 9th Parliament leadership, engage a Solomon Islander with experience working in the SI Parliament who does not have a direct stake in periodic evaluation outcome(s) and is well familiar with the overall programme of development assistance provided under the PSP. This option allows for continuity during the interregnum between the end of PSP and as yet to be determined follow on programme of assistance.

2. Utilize existing UNDP regional resources, including Suva-based regional parliamentary support technical assistance consultant(s).1

3. Deepen the relationship with existing regional parliaments, including New South Wales and PNG, through the Twinning Arrangement already in place. 

4. Encourage a formalized separation of the current government structure in which the Office of the Prime Minister is in primary control of the budget process toward parliamentary responsibility and Management of this process.

5. Provide incentive for sustainable and independent parliamentary capacity and indigenous oversight of parliamentary process, procedure, training, capacity and operational Management through limited training (with some sort of ‘training of trainers’ component)

6. Encourage the development of institutional memory given the relatively high staff turnover through the enhanced storage, dissemination and availability of relevant staff procedures in the parliamentary library or other in-house information repository.

7. Consider a new member orientation session early in 2015 as an introduction to the fundamental precepts and successful (and sustainable) aspects of the 3-phase UNDP PSP.

8. Encourage enhanced direct MP outreach to constituents, civic groups, and the public at large beyond the immediate parameters of the election cycle through public information sessions, on-line (website) access to the daily proceedings of parliament, social media, and radio or other traditional media outreach. This might also include the opportunity for cell phone users to follow their elected representative on Twitter or to pose questions via Facebook, the SI Parliament website, or email.

9. Introduce a specific and defined programme of limited training with key parliamentary staff and perhaps willing MPs on strategic planning to include time management, human resource management, and financial management and accountability.

10. Provide opportunities for best practices sharing between and among successful individuals who have been promoted through the civil service ranks in the Parliament. This may include consideration of a "parliamentary internship programme" which could encourage young people to become more directly involved in their government. This would be a natural progression from the existing "youth in parliament" programme and act as a productive pipeline for encouraging the involvement of potential new staff once the existing cadre of parliamentary staff has moved on to other professional opportunities outside parliament.2

11. Identify new potential partnerships for parliamentary programme funding beyond the UNDP. UNDP could then provide the technical assistance (and more limited) aspect of development assistance from 2015. This may result in a gradual and logical reduction in parliamentary direct assistance while affording the opportunity for a more parliament-driven sustainable development process.3

12. Continue support for the Public Accounts Committee toward the goal of enhanced independent competencies beyond the direct review of the Auditor General’s office—particularly regarding review of Appropriations Bills. Also focus some remaining human and financial resources on ensuring the accuracy and timely transcription of Hansard records, necessary financial reports, and the parliamentary website regarding such records and proceedings for on-line notification and forward planning for PAC oversight and financial accounting and reporting purposes. Continue the established and demonstrated success of public outreach, public awareness, and public input into the legislative process through PAC activity from formation of the 10th Parliament.4

13. Encourage the promotion of legislation to modify the budgetary allocation mechanism between the Office of the Prime Minister and the Parliament to ensure fiscal autonomy in the expenditure of public funds while minimizing the opportunity for political patronage and potential corruption of a transparent and accountable political process. This is of particular import when the parliamentary majority is of the same party as the Prime Minister and in those cases where a substantial number of MPs are concurrently serving as Ministers in the Prime Minister’s cabinet. The fact that there are 24 government ministries in a Parliament with only 50 seats supports this conclusion.5

14. Formulate and implement a municipal government outreach and institutional governance strategy at the local, regional and/or village level. This is particularly important given the traditionally weak central government presence in geographically dispersed, remote and traditionally governed island communities with little if any contact to date with MPs representing constituencies and the limited constituent outreach identified by interlocutors in the nation to date.6

15. Once the 10th Parliament has been formed (or as is feasible during the forthcoming parliamentary election cycle in 2014), continue to encourage enhanced participation by women in the electoral process and thereafter in governance and civic engagement. As of September, 2014, there is only 1 woman MP among a total of 50 MPs in the National Parliament. As was noted as early as 2008, there has been discussion of the introduction of set aside seats for women in the parliamentary election process—to date without success:

 

 

 

 

Management Response: [Added: 2016/04/13] [Last Updated: 2016/04/13]

1. A good recommendation and we agree. This suggestion is important in light of any new thinking by UNDP and donor partners who should show willingness to support another phase of the project as strongly suggested by the stakeholders during the evaluation exercise. The interim measure will ensure continuity after the current phase completes in March and a suggested new phase if that would be the case.

2. Agree for an ongoing communication with the pacific center. As suggested by the consultant this is a cost effect way of ensuring that there is continuous support. This is important especially provisions for continued professional training since there have been a high turnover rate for parliament staff since 2008. A technical consultant with local knowledge on the contexts of Solomon Islands parliament would be excellent.

3. We agree. This arrangement has been helpful for the project. More consolidation should be made between the project, the National Parliament and the Twining arrangement to ensure that there is no duplication of support from the project and the Twining to the national parliament. Twining arrangements are very important in terms of long and sustainable support to the National Parliament and for secondment arrangements with NSW Parliament. In addition to that further and deepening relationship should also include exchange programs for MPs and especially chairs and committee members to Twining Parliaments.

4. Agree. Further support is needed to complete this reform. The project has engaged a consultant who has completed the necessary proposed legislations. However, parliament needs to be further supported by way of an expert who should be able to provide technical advice on setting up proper effective and efficient accounting and financial Management and human resources systems. Such support program should be for at least 3 months.

5. Good recommendation and the idea of a training of trainer’s component is a step in the right direction. Should be implemented with the support from the twining arrangement.

6. Good recommendation and should further qualify by ensuring that parliament is assisted by way of developing and adopting a training policy. The training policy should provide guidance to Parliament training needs and a proper schedule for staff trainings. In addition further support should be given to parliament to enlarge its library and digital capacity and a provision for fast and effective retrieval of information.

7. Strongly agree. The project is liaising with UNDP Pacific Centre for possible support. At this stage the project manager has been approached to be part of the program will be presenting on behalf of the project to MPs. The program is set for March 2015.

8. Strongly agree. Developing an effective constituency outreach program for Members of Parliament that should bring constituents closer to elected Members, help Members address constituents’ deeply felt or urgent needs, engage Members with their constituents in mutually beneficial problem identification and problem solving, inform development, introduction and enactment of, or advocacy for, legislation and ensure accountable, equitable, accessible and appropriate services for all who need them. This should be an ongoing program and should be delivered to all constituencies. In addition the capacity of the parliament Civic Education should be

9. Agree. Schedule staff to attend time Management coursed with the Institution of Public Management. This should be an ongoing activity.

10. Agree. Develop a proposal for a parliament internship program in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Service. Such program should be developed and implemented by the middle of the year.

11. Fully and strongly agree, working with UNDP Pacific Center and such support should ensure that the Solomon Islands Government should also provide funding support.

12. Agree. This should be ongoing as currently parliament through the Public Accounts Committee is working closely with the auditor general and the Ministry of Finance. Such close working relationship provides and gradual but important change to the work of the public accounts committee.

13. Agree. At the moment the proposed legislations has been drafted awaiting further consultations with cabinet and government approval. Once that is finalized further work should commence regarding any reviews to the draft legislations. The autonomy task should be accomplished by 2016.

14. Whilst agreeing on this recommendation. This should be a national government program that should look at a local regional arrangement where parliament officers are station at sub government stations to educate and work with constituents on the work of parliament. This should also allow arrangements where constituency programs are develop to allow MPs to travel as a regional group to visit and talk to their constituents.

15. Agree- currently the Young Women Parliamentary Group based in Parliament is doing a pilot project to find out election behave towards women. Findings should provide a baseline for further policy innovations in addressing this issue. More support should be provided to platforms like the Young Women Parliamentary Group. This will ensure a move proactive actively participate and disseminate information to relevant stakeholders and the public at large on issues facing women in leadership and creating and providing support to ongoing policy and legislations targeting women in leadership.

 

 

 

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