Members of Commonwealth parliaments have called for post legislative scrutiny in order to improve service delivery and accountability.
The measure is also a tool to monitor implementation progress of recommendations issued by parliaments.
“Post legislative scrutiny is a valuable oversight tool, part of an end interactive process, through which Parliaments can evaluate efficacy, quality and relevance,” Ms Wendy Hart, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association regional secretary for the Pacific, said at the weekend.
Mr Shri Rajendra Trivedi, the Speaker of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly (India), said parliaments should evaluate implementation of legislation passed and policy framework of government through well-structured committee systems as well as other institutional mechanisms.
Once adopted for implementation, parliaments will have more feasibility to cause governments to account for resources allocated to them and monitor implementation progress of policy decisions and resolutions.
However, parliaments must have adequate financial and human resources.
“In designing post legislative scrutiny systems, parliaments should consider what they can contribute themselves, and what they can ask others to contribute,” Ms Zoe Oliver-Watts, the director of Westminster Foundation for Democracy, said.
She cited the UK House of Lords and House of Commons where she has served as a clerk.
Mr Oliver-Watts said post legislative scrutiny remains an indirect integral part of parliamentary committees through routine works.
However, the parliamentarians noted challenges to the mechanism, including the respect for separation of powers between the arms of government and lack of mandate to implement their recommendations.
Mr Jacob Oulanyah, the Ugandan Deputy Speaker, sought to know how Parliaments can exercise scrutiny beyond appropriated funds and pre-legislation of bills and polices.
“Most constitutions are very clear on the issue of oversight, we look at the budget, look at the numbers and approve them, which makes parliament an oversight institution on our monies. That is very clear; pre-legislative process are also clear, a Bill comes to parliament, it goes through three readings, and this is very clear,” he said.
“But when it comes to post legislative scrutiny, should we continue the way we have been continuing, ad hoc? Should we adopt a formal process, formal institution to handle issues of post legislative scrutiny?” Mr Oulanyah asked.
He said Parliaments usually spend a lot of time processing legislation, adding that legislation and post legislative scrutiny might be tedious.
“Should we as parliament create institutions to hold back that law and subject it to checks after?” he asked.
Other MPs, including Mr Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri) and Ms Joy Atim Ongom (Lira) asked about the fate of recommendations, which in many governments are treated “as mere recommendations that are not binding to the executive.”
In response, Ms Oliver-Watts advised parliaments to adopt time frames on implementation of recommendations and measures to press the executive to implement the decisions without necessarily crossing their path.
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Publish date : 2019-09-30 16:55:44