Benchmarking 2.0: Improving Parliamentary Performance in a Tech-Enabled World

A Study Group Meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association,
including Commonwealth representatives of the community
London, England, May 7-9, 2013


The increasing use of technology and social media by citizens in their daily lives presents both opportunities and challenges to representative institutions. Parliaments, parliamentarians and civil society parliamentary monitoring organizations (PMOs) are harnessing innovative technologies to reach new audiences and enhance the ability of citizens to participate in parliamentary work. Yet, parliaments often struggle to keep pace with citizen demands, arising due to the reduction of barriers to online organizing, while social media is also being used to rapidly disseminate isolated incidences of wrongdoing by individual parliamentarians -- often negatively affecting public perception of parliament more broadly. This study group brings together parliamentarians and representatives of the global PMO community, which has recently released the collaboratively authored Declaration on Parliamentary Openness, to review and update the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures. Discussions will focus on the needs for increased parliamentary openness and strong benchmarks for individual parliamentary conduct, ethics and behavior, in order to strengthen the ability of parliaments to represent citizens in a tech-empowered world.