CPA capacity-building programme provides training for St Helena’s elected officials and civil servants
Members of the St Helena Legislative Council, along with officials from the St Helena Government (SHG), have benefitted from a Technical Assistance Programme (TAP) delivered by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Headquarters from 31 October to 4 November 2022.
Elected Members, Portfolio Directors, SHG officials and staff from the Legislative Council Office participated in the programme aimed at supporting and improving the capacity of the Legislature.
Prior to a recent change to a Ministerial form of government in St Helena, the CPA supported the Legislative Council in assessing its legislative practices against the CPA Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures. Building on the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles on the separation of powers, the CPA Benchmarks provide a framework for excellence in Commonwealth parliamentary and legislative practice. During St Helena’s assessment, a number of areas were identified for further development, including the need for ongoing training for elected Members.
As a result, the CPA designed a bespoke one-week training course aimed at improving the knowledge and skills required of elected Members and officials to undertake their duties. The training was designed to provide a mix of professional development opportunities for those involved, resulting in the institutional strengthening of St Helena’s parliamentary processes and procedures. The programme covered areas such as parliamentary conduct and behaviour, the Ministerial system, the role of Committees, public inquiries and Ministerial question time.
Reflecting on the training programme, Hon. Andrew Turner, MLC said:
“With all of us a year into our roles, the training has answered valuable questions about the issues we've come across in that time. I hope that we can now take this training forward and use it to help develop better systems and improve decision making. I want to extend the thanks of all councillors to the CPA for taking the time to come to the Island and provide this in-depth training.”
The CPA Technical Assistance Programme was delivered with inputs from Connétable Michael Jackson of the Jersey States Assembly and Waseemah Achmat, Committee Coordinator from the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, demonstrating the CPA’s wide reach across the Commonwealth.
The CPA’s Deputy Head of Programmes, Lydia Buchanan, commented on the workshop:
“This week of training will go a long way to improving the standards of Ministerial oversight in St Helena. The CPA remains committed to St Helena and will continue to support the development of the Elected Members and parliamentary staff.”
The CPA St Helena Branch was founded in 1970 and regularly engages on bilateral and multi-lateral activities. St Helena is one of the smallest jurisdictions in the CPA’s membership.
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.
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Read about the reforms that have taken place at the St Helena Legislature
The Speaker of the Legislative Council of St Helena, Hon. Cyril Gunnell MLC recently wrote in The Parliamentarian (2022 Issue One) about St Helena’s evolving systems of government.