Ομιλία στο Ευρωκοινοβούλιο για το e-Parliament

World e-Parliament Conference 2008

HELLENIC PARLIAMENT

Brussels, 25-26 November 2008

Dear Colleagues and Professional Associates,

Thank you for inviting us to make this presentation. The Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Mr Sioufas sends you his regards.

On the eve of the 21st century, the Information Society (IS) creates a new environment and new opportunities for growth, prosperity and quality of life. Its development relies on the rapid progress of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). These technologies are an essential tool for open and effective governing and the supply of improved services to the public

As a representative and member of the Hellenic Parliament I will present you the way that our National Parliament has implemented some of the principles of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

First of all, I will give you a general description of our Parliament followed by a summary of the current state of the developments in the ICT.

Information and communication activities at the parliament are administered and supported by the “Division for Information and New Technologies”, which provides support to all 13 divisions of the parliament and their approximately 1400 employees in 7 buildings in Athens, as well as all members of parliament and the Hellenic members of the European Parliament.

It is mentioned that Hellenic Parliament is unicameral.

Today the Parliament has at its disposal:

  • A range of servers adapted to various needs
  • Structured cabling in 7 buildings interconnected through high speed data transfer lines, such as LaserLink, optical fibre and copper cabling.
  • Approximately 900 Personal Computers with high speed internet access.

The services available to the Members of the National Parliament and European Parliament include:

  • Technical equipment and Support
  • From the year 1993 the Members have at their disposal information and office automation equipment, for example : a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a portable and a desktop printer, a photocopier and a fax machine, cell phones etc.
  • Internet access and an e-mail account
  • Space on the website and expertise for the design and hosting of their personal web page
  • Training: Our members are encouraged to receive training inside the Parliament.

The Hellenic parliament runs a

n Integrated Information System.

We have been working, for the last few years, on a Parliamentary Integrated Information System and transferred all the activities of our Organisation to 40 applications and sub-applications.

The Parliamentary Integrated Information System includes applications that support not only parliamentary activity such as Legislation and Amendments, Scrutiny and Committee documents and workflows but also administrative activity such as payroll operations, budgetary implementation, budgetary provisions assets management, procurements, Human Resources management etc

The implementation of the Integrated Information System has helped our organization to:

  • To record the internal procedures of all the Parliamentary Divisions
  • To improve the communication among Parliamentary Divisions
  • To achieve central control of all internal procedures as well as of all produced work at administrative level.
  • To improve the quality of services provided to citizens
  • To facilitate the Legislatives in their work.
  • To digitalize valuable printed Legislative work of the last 30 years.

The parliamentary work is developed on a Document Management System called Papyrus and can also support the workflow inside the Parliament.

There are four main applications of the Integrated Information System that support the parliamentary work:

1. Application for Parliamentary scrutiny

This application has improved the management and the routing of data and documents and has simplified all procedures related to the parliamentary Scrutiny.

2. Application for Legislative work

It facilitates and simplifies all legislative work which includes all information (data and documents) related to bills, laws proposals, parliamentary decisions, amendments.

3. Application for Parliamentary Committees

This application manages all data and document Information involved to the operation of parliamentary Committees.

4. Application for parliamentary proceedings management

This application ensures the redaction, the corrections, the indexing and the documentation of all parliamentary proceedings. Via many electronic tools it also ensures the survey of parliamentary work.

As far as security is concerned, special firewall servers have been installed between the parliamentary web and the world-wide web.

And now we will present the ways that the Parliament interacts with the outside world and gets closer to the citizen.

1. The WEB approach

  • The address of our website is www.parliament.gr and its contents include:
  • The working schedule and agenda of the plenary session and of each committee
  • The complete structure and functions of all offices and sections
  • the structure of the Parliament, a biographical note on each Member of Parliament and the MembersΆ web pages.
  • The detailed work of the Parliament (Legislation, Parliamentary Control, Meetings of each Committee)
  • The minutes of the Meetings
  • The submitted bills and their examination by the Committees
  • The minutes of discussions pertaining to any Amendment of the Constitution
  • The SpeakerΆs activities and the press briefings
  • The international activities of the Parliament
  • Links to Ministries and all public Organisations and Services
  • The building and its history
  • Events and exhibitions organised by the Parliament.

2. Members of the public can contact the parliament by e-mail and can receive our “Electronic Newsletter”, containing news, events and activities of the Parliament.

3. We think that very important is the link to the Internet Television on the website. People can attend the parliamentary meetings live, by selecting the relevant link. So, even the people from abroad or those who have no access to broadband TV (f.e from remote or isolated places) can watch the works of the Parliament.

Thenewportal

Having closely followed the developments in Information and Communication technologies and witnessed the possibilities and opportunities that they provide to improve and enhance the work flow of the parliament and its services, the Greek Parliament has decided to redesign its site.

The new portal, currently under construction, will contain in a new form, everything that is at present available on the website. More search tools will be available, information will be organised in subjects and will be linked to various sources The web pages will be dynamically developed, directly drawing their content from the exact points where primary information is generated.

Pages concerning the Members of Parliament, f.e.:

  • the MembersΆ biographical note,
  • their parliamentary activity supported by links to the actual text of the Minutes of related Meetings and to related videos with image and sound,
  • their participation in international events in their capacity as Members of Parliament,
  • their personal web pages, will be structured in a user-friendly manner allowing effortless surfing.

The new portal will also contain:

  • Petitions and Questions regarding the government, as required by the Parliamentary Control
  • a diary of proceedings allowing to retrieve past activities
  • a discussion forum
  • the possibility to carry out e-polls to gauge public opinion on various issues
  • the possibility to carry out the opinion of citizens about legislation
  • statistical details on the use of the web page
  • video recordings from the Parliament

The IPEX Project

The Hellenic Parliament could not ignore the need for inter-parliamentary cooperation. One of our aims is to contribute the common effort and to participate in this project. That means, we have the intention to implement this application in our Parliament as soon as possible.

Our point of view is that IPEX is not only an information project. It is a challenge to implement the interconnectivity of the National Parliaments and establish the collaboration among them.

I will now mention three areas in which we, as parliamentarians, are trying to develop the new ways of communication in our country.

The first one aims to develop the relationship of each member of parliament with the public.

The traditional way through newspapers, it is not enough to cover the work and activities of every single parliamentarian.

The Internet, however, can cover that gap.

Interactive web-pages, electronic newsletters and parliamentariansΆ participation in chat rooms and fora allow citizens to inform themselves, to enter in discussion and to give feedback by expressing their views and comments on the positions of the members or of the parliament.

Citizens should be in the position to know that their representative has particular views and positions, that s/he supports and discusses with them, but which may not be adopted at the end by the parliament.

These developments require training of each Member of Parliament on the new tools, as well as technical support from their teams of specialists.

Secondly, we aim to encourage the participation of citizens in the discussions of Parliamentary Committees working on particular pieces of proposed legislation, which will eventually become laws

The third area we aim to address is the participation of citizens in the public debate on legislation. At present, this debate stops at the discussions between government departments and union representatives. The new information and communication technologies, however, offer practical solutions enabling us to open up the public debate to a larger number of representatives.

Myself, my colleague and my professional associate from the related section would be happy to respond to any questions you may have.

Thank you

Al. Dermentzopoulos

Member of the Committee for Research and Technology at the Parliament of Greece