From a Reactive Research Section To a Robust Monitoring and Evaluation Legislative Oversight Data Centre: The Transformation of Uganda Parliament Research Service to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century

BAGONZA, Mugabi John and KINTU, Francis (2015) From a Reactive Research Section To a Robust Monitoring and Evaluation Legislative Oversight Data Centre: The Transformation of Uganda Parliament Research Service to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2015 - Cape Town, South Africa in Session 220 - Library and Research Services for Parliaments.

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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

From a Reactive Research Section To a Robust Monitoring and Evaluation Legislative Oversight Data Centre: The Transformation of Uganda Parliament Research Service to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century

Amidst increasing demands to justify policy and resource allocation decisions, and faced with persistent public concerns about financial accountability, wastage within publicly funded services and lack of effectiveness of government programmes, one of the major challenges facing Parliaments in the 21st Century is to hold governments accountable for results. And one of the challenges facing Legislative Research Services in nations like Uganda, is furnishing Parliaments with reliable and timely performance information and data, to aide Parliament systematically hold Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to account for achieving results. This is particularly so in a context where Parliaments traditionally rely for information on reports generated by the same MDAs over which they exercise oversight; and where such MDAs and other external agencies set up to promote accountability in the public sector, suffer deficiencies in institutional capacity, or are more motivated to arm Parliament with only information that justifies their policy and budget proposals. In order to meet this contemporary challenge, and also remain relevant to the dynamic information needs of Parliament, the Legislative Research Service in Uganda has had to evolve and reposition itself – from the traditional function of Legislative Library and Research Services focusing on generating reports largely based on secondary data and generated by the Executive Branch – to a robust oversight M&E data centre to meet MPs’ increased demand for more effective scrutiny of government policies and programmes. Since embarking on these innovations, impressive results have been registered, along with challenges. The Research Department is slowly but steadily transforming into the “engine room” of Uganda’s Parliament’s oversight work. This paper shares our experience which we believe can offer some invaluable lessons to Research units in Parliaments facing similar challenges, and where information for oversight is often scanty and accountability mechanisms in the public sector are weak.

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