The 3-year UNDP Project “Consolidating Sri Lankan democracy and sustaining peace through parliamentary strengthening” (also referred to as the Parliamentary Development Support Project) is based upon a situational and needs assessment and identification of strategic priorities through preliminary consultations with key parliamentary leaders and officials as well as other stakeholders. The Project’s expected outcome is, “Parliament is strengthened to perform its core legislative, oversight and representational functions with increased effectiveness, transparency, accountability and citizens’ participation.” Seven key outputs have been identified towards this end, focusing on the following areas: (1) Strategic planning for Parliament; (2) Strengthening the Committee system and MP’s capacities; (3) Parliamentary procedure and practice; (4) Strengthening research and policy analysis services; (5) Public outreach, and citizens’ engagement in the legislative process; (6) Strengthening legislative and administrative business processes; and (7) Increasing women’s legislative representation and participation in decision-making.
UNDP is looking to obtain the services of an International Parliamentary Public Outreach and Communications Expert to support the development of an outreach and communication strategy and implementation plan for Parliament of Sri Lanka.
SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES
The Parliamentary Public Outreach and Communications Expert will contribute to the successful implementation of the Parliamentary Development Support Project, primarily Output 5 on Facilitating increased parliamentary transparency, accountability and partnership with civil society, and citizens’ engagement in the legislative process.
She/he will contribute knowledge and expertise to the realization of Activity Results identified under the above output:
- Activity Result 1: support to enhance public understanding of Parliament;
- Activity Result 2: support to enable public input into legislative and oversight processes.
The task of the Parliamentary Public Outreach and Communications Expert is to:
- undertake home-based review of the project, legal, and parliamentary-procedural documents relevant to the current public outreach and communications methods, mechanisms and capacity building requirements. Prepare a work-plan for the consultancy within three days after beginning the assignment;
- prepare an assessment report on the current framework, procedure and practice for public outreach and communications in the Parliament of Sri Lanka taking into account good practices, and propose recommendations to improve structures, mechanisms, processes and performance. Recommendations are expected to specifically address points below;
- Provide technical specialized advice and quality assure actions to improve the public consultation processes of parliamentary committees, including:
- Review the statutory limitations for opening committee meetings to the public/media, including the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act and Standing Orders. Provide specific recommendations on reforming the rules and procedure, as well as recommend mechanisms to introduce formal public consultation for committees within the present legal and procedural structure;
- Raise awareness of MPs and staff on public consultation processes and public consultation tools, including exposure to comparative good practices;
- Advise on mechanisms for sustainable use of public consultation processes and public consultation tools by parliamentary committees, including women, youth and vulnerable/marginalized groups as special target groups;
- Recommend a clear strategy and concrete actions for institutionalizing and regularizing public consultations by parliamentary committees;
- Provide inputs to develop the capacity of MPs and staff to effectively carry out public consultations on draft policy/legislation and oversight of policy/legislation implementation;
- Identify training needs of supporting staff to assist representatives with effective public consultation activities and deliver/organize training;
- Advise committees on strategies for involvement of national/local government agencies, media, civil society organizations, community groups, individual citizens, experts, and marginalized/vulnerable groups in consultations and the regular work of committees;
- Develop and support implementing a road map for the execution of the above-mentioned activities;
- Prepare and disseminate, as required, training materials and knowledge products.
- Provide technical specialized advice and support to enhance the quality of interaction between Parliament and Parliamentarians and citizens, media, civil society organizations and community groups through different means of communication. This, includes:
- Develop, and provide advice/support to the implementation of, a communications strategy and roadmap to increase public understanding of and participation in the work of Parliament. This would potentially include introducing a mobile unit to disseminate information about Parliament; production and dissemination of age-specific print and video educational material on Parliament; introducing a programme of structured student visits to Parliament; and reviewing the documentary on Parliament and other information products on Parliament;
- Recommend strategy and actions for establishing a dedicated Media Centre for Parliament (including preparation of its mission, staffing table and job descriptions);
- Recommend strategy and actions for establishing a Visitors’ Centre for Parliament (including preparation of its mission, staffing table, job descriptions, establishing a museaum on Parliament, and upgrading the souvenir shop of Parliament);
- Recommend strategy and actions to for introducing an Internship Programme for Parliament;
- Identify training needs of relevant staff to effectively implement the communications strategy and organize delivery of training;
- Prepare and disseminate as required training materials and knowledge products.
The Parliamentary Public Outreach and Communications Expert will work in close collaboration with the Project Management Consultant of the UNDP Parliamentary Development Support Project. She/he will work under the supervision and performance evaluation of the UNDP Policy Specialist (Governance and Peace-Building) and the Secretary General of Parliament. He/she will conduct consultations with the Committee Chairs, other Members of Parliament, Parliamentary staff, civil society and other stakeholders, as and when required.
Duties and Responsibilities
The Parliamentary Public Outreach and Communications Expert will provide the following deliverables. These deliverables may need to be revised based on the assessment report of the current framework referred to under deliverable 2 below:
- A work-plan for the consultancy within three days of beginning the assignment;
- An assessment report of the current framework, procedure and practice for public outreach and communications in the Parliament of Sri Lanka, taking into account good practices, and propose recommendations to improve structures, mechanisms, processes and performance. Recommendations are expected to specifically address points under Sections 3. a) to i) and 4. a) to f) above;
- A report reviewing the statutory limitations for opening committee meetings to the public/media, including the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act, and providing concrete proposals on how to address them;
- Public consultation tools for parliamentary committees;
- A capacity development plan for MPs and staff to effectively carry out public consultations on draft policy/legislation and oversight of policy/legislation implementation;
- A communications strategy to increase public understanding of and participation in the work of parliament;
- A strategy and an action plan to establish a Media Centre for Parliament;
- A strategy and an action plan to establish a Visitors’ Centre for Parliament;
- A capacity development plan for MPs and staff to effectively implement the communications strategy;
- Training workshops for MPs and staff on effectively carrying out public consultations by Committees, as required;
- Training workshops for support staff on Communications strategy, as required;
- Training materials and knowledge products;
- Two road maps for the execution of tasks under 1) improving parliamentary committees’ public consultation processes; and 2) improving Parliament’s communications processes mentioned within the scope of work.
The envisaged time frame of the consultancy is a maximum of up to 30 working days from Feburary – April 2018, including 2 in-country missions.
The prospective consultant should have:
- Strong analytical and research skills;
- Excellent organisational and planning skills;
- Excellent report writing and presentation skills;
- Pro-active, results-driven and able to meet strict deadlines.
- Maturity and confidence in dealing with senior members of national institutions;
- Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
- Good team player who has ability to maintain good relationships.
- Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
- Builds strong relationships with clients, focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to feedback;
- Results-oriented collaboration with colleagues.
- Required Skills and Experience
- A degree in communications, journalism, media studies or related field;
- Qualifications in social and political sciences, law, public administration or related field will be considered an asset;
- A minimum of 10 years relevant professional experience in the area of parliamentary communications affairs;
- Proven experience in supporting legislatures, including developing parliamentary communication/public relations strategies;
- Experience of working and/or interacting with high level government officials in developing countries;
- Knowledge and experience of representative institutions in Sri Lanka is an asset;
- Excellent command of the English language.
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