Commonwealth Parliamentary Association hosts two virtual panel discussions for Clerks and parliamentary staff to share best practice on delivery of parliamentary democracy during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) global pandemic 

This week, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) held two virtual briefings for Commonwealth Clerks and parliamentary staff from across its membership of 180 Parliaments and Legislatures to share best practice on delivering parliamentary democracy during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) global pandemic.

The CPA’s Acting Secretary-General, Jarvis Matiya introduced the two CPA webinars for parliamentary staff with updates to participants on the CPA's responses to the COVID-19 global pandemic including the launch of the CPA Coronavirus toolkit.

The CPA webinars are available below:

CPA Webinar 1: Delivering Parliamentary Democracy during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A virtual briefing for Commonwealth clerks and parliamentary staff - Tuesday 5 May 2020, 14.00 – 15.30 GMT+1
View webinar video below or click here.  



• CPA Webinar 2: Delivering Parliamentary Democracy during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A virtual briefing for Commonwealth clerks and parliamentary staff - Wednesday 6 May 2020, 08.00 – 09.30 GMT+1
View webinar video below or click here.



Webinar Summary
The first panel discussion took place on Tuesday 5 May 2020 attended by 83 parliamentary staff from the CPA Africa, British Islands and Mediterranean (BIM), Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic (CAA) and Canada Regions while the second virtual briefing was held on Wednesday 6 May 2020 and was attended by 81 participants from the CPA Asia, Australia, India, Pacific and South-East Asia Regions.

During the two CPA webinars a wide range of expert panellists were able to share their experiences and technological innovations with participants online. The panellists represented the CPA’s membership of national, state, provincial and territorial Legislatures in the Commonwealth as well as the CPA Small Branches and the focus of each presentation was varied, ranging from a special focus on conducting virtual Committee meetings and plenary sessions through to providing innovative solutions to overcoming technological challenges.  

During the first CPA webinar, Eric Janse, Clerk Assistant at the Parliament of Canada, described how the House of Commons and House authorities had responded to the current global pandemic by introducing both new procedures and technological innovations to ensure democratic sittings could continue to take place.

Two panellists spoke in both CPA webinars - Liam Laurence Smyth, Clerk of Legislation at the UK Parliament spoke about how the House of Commons and the Parliamentary Digital Service has implemented hybrid virtual sittings for MPs.

Jonathan King, Deputy Clerk at the Parliament of the Isle of Man (Tynwald) spoke about how one of the oldest Parliaments in the world has implemented virtual sittings and continued to conduct legislative business during a period of lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus.


Bringing a different perspective from outside of the Commonwealth and representing the ParlAmericas network, Patricia Almeida, Coordinator of Innovation and Digital Strategy for the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, presented the digital innovations being introduced in her Parliament to coordinate the proceedings in one of the largest Legislatures in the Americas.

The second webinar additionally featured Tom Duncan, Clerk of the Legislative Assembly from the Australian Capital Territory who described his experience from the lens of a sub-national Legislature and explained how they had responded to the current global pandemic by introducing both new procedures and technological innovations to ensure democratic sittings could continue to take place.

Hans Landon-Lane, Digital Lead from the New Zealand Parliament, also delivered a presentation at the second webinar on the digital innovations being introduced to coordinate the proceedings in his Parliament and to ensure that democratic processes would continuing during the global pandemic. 

An additional presentation was delivered by Mohamed Hussain, Director of IT at the People’s Majlis (Parliament of the Maldives) who delved deeper into the different digital innovations as discussed in the earlier presentations by describing in detail the various ways in which his Parliament introduced the innovative technology and virtual sessions in order to ensure that democracy continues.

The presentations were followed by an interactive Q&A session where virtual attendees were encouraged to pose any questions to the panellists. Once the respective questions had been addressed, the second webinar for Commonwealth Clerks and parliamentary staff drew to a close, with the CPA Vice-Chairperson, Hon. John Ajaka, MLC, President of the Legislative Council of New South Wales in Australia extending his sincerest gratitude to all of the panellists and participants.

The CPA Headquarters Secretariat hosted the two CPA webinar sessions to serve as a platform for its membership of over 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures to connect and exchange ideas and experiences in delivering democracy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CPA Headquarters Secretariat is continuing to support its membership during the current pandemic through innovative methods. 

The webinars follow the recent launch of the CPA Toolkit on ‘Delivering Parliamentary Democracy during the Coronavirus pandemic’ which provides updates on the different measures actioned by various Commonwealth Parliaments as well as advice for Parliaments on measures that can be put in place.

Additional webinar resources:

United Kingdom:
- Video: Hybrid and Virtual Proceedings in the UK House of Commons and House of Lords (April 2020) click here for video.
- COVID-19 hybrid proceedings in the UK House of Commons click here
- UK Procedure Committee remote division system click here.
- UK House of Commons Hybrid Scrutiny Proceedings Guidance click here.

New Zealand
Presentation by Hans Landon-Lane, Digital Lead at the New Zealand Parliament click here.

Isle of Man:
Presentation by Jonathan King, Deputy Clerk at the Parliament of the Isle of Man (Tynwald) click here.

Maldives:
Presentation by Mohamed Hussain, Director of IT at the People's Majlis (Parliament of the Maldives) click here.

Canada:
Presentation by Eric Janse, Clerk Assistant at the Parliament of Canada click here.

Brazil:
- Presentation by Patricia Almeida, Coordinator of Innovation and Digital Strategy for the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil click here.
Video: The Chamber of Deputies of Brazil and digital innovations during COVID-19 - click here for video.


Click here to download a copy of the CPA toolkit for Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and delivering parliamentary democracy.

*Please note: This toolkit is published by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for the benefit of its membership and for the wider international community. This information is intended to supplement the current global pandemic advice and information from a wide range of international organisations. This toolkit does not supersede existing national guidance and plans. Rather, this toolkit should be used to augment existing relevant national plans and focus the support of the international community.

-Ends-

Updated 7 May 2020.


The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. 
 
For further information about the CPA, please contact:

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CPA Headquarters Secretariat 

T: +44 (0)20 7799 1460
Email hq.sec@cpahq.org
For media enquiries, please contact communications@cpahq.org