Supporting the Sierra Leone Parliament in its commitment to openness and accessibility
Parliaments are fundamental institutions of democratic governance. Effective parliaments contribute to the rule of law, economic prosperity, and improved social welfare of a country. To support the Parliament of Sierra Leone in its commitment towards providing the best parliamentary services to its citizens, WFD partnered with the legislature of the West African state in developing and unveiling the institution’s service charter.
The service charter outlines the commitment of the Sierra Leone Parliament in being a more open and accessible institution to the public. The charter details how citizens can seek and obtain information about their national assembly. This is with respect the parliament’s roles, legislative processes, legislations and amendments, historical information, records, and reports.
Additionally, the charter seeks to demonstrate an improvement in service delivery by parliament and the promotion of citizen engagement. According to the Clerk of the Parliament of Sierra Leone, Hon. Paran Tarawally:
“This charter set forth the guidelines of what our services are, how we deliver them to you, what we expect from you and how you can contact us. We are building an interesting new customer service culture that requires your cooperation and support.”
During the unveiling of the charter at the entrance of the Parliament building on 2nd March 2021, the Speaker of the House, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu said the vision and mission of Parliament in the charter have clearly spelt out its roles and responsibilities in the development of the country. He further pledged that Parliament would carry out these roles in the best interest of the nation. “We will uphold and maintain what is in the Parliamentary Service Charter,” the speaker asserted.
The development of the service charter is in line with Sierra Leone’s fulfilment of its commitments under the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative. OGP is a global collaboration formed by government leaders and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) with the aim of promoting accountability and transparency, as well as responsive and inclusive governance.
As a member of the initiative since 2013, Sierra Leone has so far implemented two action plans and is now on its third National Action Plan (NAP III). The NAP III (2019-2021) comprises eight commitments with one of them being open parliament. The commitment aims at: increasing proactive publication of parliamentary documents; creating a platform to improve public participation in parliament; and targeting marginalized communities in outreach and opportunities for participation.
WFD has been partnering with the Sierra Leone Parliament to promote the attaining of its OGP goals. Recently, we held a two-day virtual study tour that enabled 15 members of the Sierra Leone OGP Parliamentary working group to learn from and exchange knowledge with parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and OGP practitioners from different countries on the implementation of the OGP priorities.