• Collaboration and innovation,

    the path for legislative houses

  • Digital democracy is the new way of civil society to exert power. It is also known as participatory democracy, a model that maintains representation and also ensures civil society participation in decision-making process.

     

    It boost the civic participation on the decision-making in the public debate through tools such as public consultation and crowdsourcing, a series of procedures of consultation by receiving contributions from individuals who wish to contribute with its expertise.

     

    It has been an important technique for qualifying legislative activity. However, its use depends on an essential and inherent characteristic of the Legislative Power: the search for consensus and the construction of agreements.

     

    Brazil has 5,599 Legislative Houses, between Municipalities, State Assemblies and the National Congress. There are 249,000 servants, and their vast majority in the Municipal Houses, where 85% have only 9 to 11 parliamentarians.

     

    Legislative power plays a central role in answering to the demands for more participation. Society experiences the age of speed in its social relations. The interactivity between individuals with mandates assumes a speed that representative democratic institutions are not designed, given the checks and balances that safeguard the very existence of a democratic regime and individual rights.

     

    The Legislative Houses have created offices responsible for the State of the Art of innovation policies in order to answer to the new demands of society, as well as internal demands of an administrative nature.

     

    They are servants and Members of parliament's staff who seek to think disruptively using their knowledge of the legislative house, on regard of its ethical and administrative culture and its legislative processes to rethink processes that further expand the representativeness of the house.

     

    However, it is still necessary to develop disruptive skills in legislative houses. Through tools and innovation-driven training that meets their needs. The search for innovation will be more representative if decentralised, meeting local demands. Thus, houses will be able to rethink their structure and processes, from making decisions about their legislative process, to a simple change in bureaucratic routines that support legislative activity.

     

    Let's look at the Brazilian Federal Senate case, where a participation platform, e-cidadania, can serve millions of citizens a year. Citizens are free to propose their ideas and vote on ideas proposed by others for review by the Committee on Human Rights and Participatory Legislation.

     

    There are so many examples within the legislature that meet the demand for more participation and also enable civil society to collaborate on topics whose technical knowledge is essential.

     

    In the case of the State of São Paulo, in Brazil, the Legislative Assembly has developed an App that brings more transparency to the activities of Parliament and its offices.

     

    The Fiscaliza Cidadão is an unprecedented effort to respond to society's demands for further transparency. It provides information such as monthly office expenses and their staff list and official license plates.

     

    The Municipal and State Legislative Houses are the front line of political representation. Faced with municipalities with reduced administrative capacities, state parliaments assume the responsibility for the induction of innovation processes, as already happens in the Executive Branch with the Intermunicipal Consortia.

     

    In this sense, legislative institutes are the spearheads for articulating networks that share challenges and solutions. These institutions are the ones responsible for developing studies on parliamentary affairs, to support the houses to think its own role. 

     

    The Legislative Institute of São Paulo State Assembly and the Bússola Tech, are creating a coursework on Legislative Innovation aimed at the employees of the São Paulo State Legislative Assembly.

     

    When we talk about Innovation in the Legislative, it is necessary to understand that collaboration is an inseparable aspect, since it provides technical and behavioural knowledge and enables the innovation process.

  • Luís Kimaid

    Vinicius Schurgelies