Parliamentary Public Outreach and Communicaions Expert


Location : Colombo and Home-based, including 2 Missions to Colombo,, SRI LANKA
Application Deadline :17-Dec-17 (Midnight New York, USA)
Time left :2d 11h 20m
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
05-Feb-2018
Duration of Initial Contract :Up to 30 Working Days
Expected Duration of Assignment :Up to 30 Working Days


Background

BACKGROUND

The Parliament of Sri Lanka is the apex representative body that exercises the legislative power of the People as recognized by the Constitution. Parliament has a pivotal role in the democratic governance of the country, with wide ranging duties and responsibilities in legislative, oversight and representative functions.  Despite its impressive historical tradition, early achievements and a clear constitutional mandate, Parliament started facing challenges with regard to its authority, capacity and performance since the introduction of the executive presidency in 1978. The capacity of Parliament to fulfill its constitutional mandate needs to be strengthened in order to achieve the vision and objectives of a vibrant democracy.

Acknowledgment of the centrality of Parliament has gone hand in hand with a major period of transition that aims at sustainable development and sustaining peace. Certain noteworthy developments include the introduction in December 2015 of Sectoral Oversight Committees and a Committee on Public Finance to the Parliamentary structure, and appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee on Sustainable Development in November 2016. The rapid changes that have been initiated in the governance structure provide a critical opportunity to support Parliament to transform itself into a well-developed institution.

Bringing Parliament closer to citizens and creating opportunities for citizens’ engagement in parliamentary processes is a key component of any strategy to strengthen Parliament. The introduction of a reformed committee system is a prominent step forward. However, Parliament still lacks effectives systems, mechanisms and strategies to reach out to the public, and engage people in parliamentary processes. For example, there are no institutional mechanisms for submitting inputs into legislative and oversight processes by the public or to hold public consultations/hearings on key pieces of legislation. Moreover, there are statutory limitations on opening committee meetings to the public/media, which are currently being reviewed. In addition, Parliament’s external communications systems need to be strengthened. Parliament has a website and a mobile app which is regularly updated in all three languages and well recognized in Sri Lanka. However, Parliament lacks a designated office on public information and media. Whilst the Parliament is open for regular visits by the public and school children in keeping with security procedures, it lacks a formal Visitor’s Centre. Therefore, providing support to identify and set up effective strategies, systems and mechanisms for public engagement is essential to bring Parliament closer to the citizens.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka supports inclusive and effective democratic governance by advocating, advising on and fostering impartial spaces for dialogue, facilitating consensus, and supporting the strengthening of institutions. UNDP provided technical assistance to the Parliament of Sri Lanka from 2003-2008. In September 2015, following a request from Parliament’s leadership, UNDP designed, in partnership with the Parliament and other development partners, a fully-fledged programme aimed at strengthening the institution and developing its internal capacities. UNDP also agreed to facilitate coordination of parliamentary support activities by other development partners and implementing agencies. 

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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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 3. a) to i) and 4. a) to f) below;
  3. Provide technical specialized advice and quality assure actions to improve the public consultation processes of parliamentary committees, including:

a). 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;

b). Raise awareness of MPs and staff on public consultation processes and public consultation tools, including exposure to comparative good practices;

c). 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;

d). Recommend a clear strategy and concrete actions for institutionalizing and regularizing public consultations by parliamentary committees;

e). 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;

f). Identify training needs of supporting staff to assist representatives with effective public consultation activities and deliver/organize training;

g). 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;

h). Develop and support implementing a road map for the execution of the above-mentioned activities;

i). Prepare and disseminate, as required, training materials and knowledge products.

     4. 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:

a). 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;

b). Recommend strategy and actions for establishing a dedicated Media Centre for Parliament (including preparation of its mission, staffing table and job descriptions);

c). 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);

d). Recommend strategy and actions to for introducing an Internship Programme for Parliament;

e). Identify training needs of relevant staff to effectively implement the communications strategy and organize delivery of training;

f).  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

RESPONSIBILITIES

Expected Output/Deliverables

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:

  1. A work-plan for the consultancy within three days of beginning the assignment;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. Public consultation tools for parliamentary committees;
  5. A capacity development plan for MPs and staff to effectively carry out public consultations on draft policy/legislation and oversight of policy/legislation implementation;
  6. A communications strategy to increase public understanding of and participation in the work of parliament;
  7. A strategy and an action plan to establish a Media Centre for Parliament;
  8. A strategy and an action plan to establish a Visitors’ Centre for Parliament;
  9. A capacity development plan for MPs and staff to effectively implement the communications strategy;
  10. Training workshops for MPs and staff on effectively carrying out public consultations by Committees, as required;
  11. Training workshops for support staff on Communications strategy, as required;
  12. Training materials and knowledge products;
  13. 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.

 

TIMEFRAME

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.

 


Competencies

CONSULTANT PROFILE    

The prospective consultant should have:

  1. COMPETENCIES  

a.  Technical competencies

  • 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.

b.  Partnerships

  • 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.

c.  Results

  • 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

QUALIFICATIONS

  • 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.

 

HOW TO APPLY

The application should contain:

  • Cover letter explaining why you are the most suitable candidate for the advertised position and a brief methodology on how you will approach and conduct the work;
  • Updated CV to include qualifications/competencies, relevant past experience in similar assignments, and contact details of 3 professional referees who can certify your competencies, professionalism, quality of writing, presentation and overall suitability for this TOR;
  • Individual consultants will be evaluated based on a combimation of factors including cover letter, the credentials on offer and brief interview (optional) and the offer which gives the best value for money for the UNDP;
  • Please send the Financial Proposal separately to the following e-mail address: procurement.lk@undp.org  stating the vacancy number/position  in the subject line.

FINANCIAL PROPOSAL  

All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee: LKR

Amount in words:

(Rs).

Note: Payments will be based on invoices on achievement of agreed milestones i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR and certification of acceptance by the UNDP. The applicant must factor in all possible costs in his/her “All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee” including his/her consultancy and professional fee, travel (economy class flights is required to and from the Duty Station) honorarium, board and lodging, and any other foreseeable costs in this exercise. No costs other than what has been indicated in the financial proposal will be paid or reimbursed to the consultant. UNDP will only pay for any unplanned travel outside of this TOR and Duty Station on actual basis and on submission of original bills/invoices and on prior agreement with UNDP officials. Daily perdiums and costs for accommodation/meals/incidental expenses for such travel shall not exceed established local UNDP DSA rates.

For an Individual Contractor who is 62 years of age or older, and on an assignment requiring travel, be it for the purpose of arriving at the duty station or as an integral duty required travel under the TOR, a full medical examination and statement of fitness to work must be provided.  Such medical examination costs must be factored in to the financial proposal above. Medical examination is not a requirement for individuals on RLA contracts. 

PAYMENT FOR SERVICES

Payments will be based on milestones certified by Policy Specialist (Democratic Governance).

Payment Milestones will be as follows:

Deliverable 1: Payment of 10% against all-inclusive lump sum, upon the submission of a work-plan for the consultancy within three days of beginning the assignment;

Deliverable 2: Payment of 10% against all-inclusive lump sum, upon the submission of 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, processes and performance. Recommendations are expected to specifically address points under Sections 3. a) to i) and 4. a) to f) above;

Deliverable 3: (Payment of 20% against all-inclusive lump sum), upon:

(a) the submission of 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;

(b) the submission of a report on the formulation of Public consultation tools for parliamentary committees;

(c) the submission of a capacity development plan for MPs and staff to effectively carry out public consultations on draft policy/legislation and oversight of policy/legislation implementation.

Deliverable 4: (Payment of 20% against all-inclusive lump sum), upon:

(a) the submission of a communications strategy to increase public understanding of and participation in the work of parliament;

(b) the submission of a strategy and an action plan to establish a Media Centre for Parliament;

(c) the submission of a strategy and an action plan to establish a Visitors’ Centre for Parliament.

Deliverble 5: (Payment of 20% against all-inclusive lump sum) upon:

  1. The submission of a capacity development plan for MPs and staff to effectively implement the communications strategy;
  2. The submission of a report on a) training workshops for MPs and staff on effectively carrying out public consultations by Committees, as required; b) training workshops for support staff on Communications strategy, as required and c) development of training materials and knowledge products.

Deliverable 6: Payment of 20% against all-inclusive lump sum, upon the submission of  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.


UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.


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