Wednesday, August 22, 2012
THE PARLIAMENTARY SERVICE IN UGANDA
Source: Office of the Clerk to Parliament BACKGROUND The history of Parliamentary Service in Uganda dates back to the time when the Legislative Council was established in 1919. Parliament has always had staff who facilitate legislators in carrying out their work. However, the members of staff of Parliament were part of the mainstream civil service. They were recruited, disciplined and deployed by the Public Service. Their terms of service were also determined by the Executive branch. They could be transferred to other Government departments. However, in 1997, Parliament passed a Private Member’s Bill into Law called the Administration of Parliament Act. This law established the administrative and financial autonomy of Parliament. The powers to recruit members of staff of Parliament were removed from the Public Service Commission and vested in the Parliamentart Commission. Therefore, members of staff were de-linked from the mainstream civil service. With the exception of the Clerk to Parliament, all the members of staff of Parliament are recruited and disciplined by the Parliamentary Commission. THE STRUCTURE OF THE PARLIAMENTARY SERVICE Section 9 (1) of the Administration of Parliament Act 1997, establishes the Parliamentary Service to be headed by the Clerk to Parliament. CLERK TO PARLIAMENT Article 87 of the Constitution establishes the Officer designated as Clerk to Parliament on the advice of the Public Service Commission. The Clerk heads the Parliamentary Service. The Clerk has the following responsibilities: Is responsible and reports to the Speaker about the general working and efficient conduct of business of the Parliamentary Service, Is responsible for providing a vision and leadership to the Parliamentary Service and for initiating the strategies to achieve that vision, Provides procedural guidance to the Speaker, Members of Parliament and Committees. The Parliamentary Service headed by the Clerk is organized under two arms: the Legislative arm and the Administrative arm. Each of these arms is headed by a Deputy Clerk. The arms are further broken down into departments. LEGISLATIVE SERVICES Under the Legislative Services arm, are the following departments and offices: Department of the Clerks Department of Legal and Legislative Services Department of Official Report Department of Library and Research Services The Budget Office ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES Under the Administrative Services arm, are the following departments and offices: Department of Finance and Administration Department of Sergeant – at – Arms Department of Information and Communication Technology Department of Human Resource Planning and Development Coordination Office Public Relations Office FUNCTIONS OF DEPARTMENTS DEPARTMENT OF LEGAL AND LEGISLATIVE SERVICES The Department OF Legal and Legislative Services provides efficient and timely Legal and Legislative Services to Parliament, its Committees and the Parliamentary Commission. THE PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE The Parliamentary Budget Office provides Parliament and its Committees with objective, independent and timely analysis of the national budget and national economy. DEPARTMENT OF THE OFFICAL REPORT The Department of Official Report provides an accurate, timely, verbatim report of the proceedings of Parliament in the form of the daily Hansard and the bound volumes; and the production of other Parliamentary publications. DEPARTMENT OF CLERKS The Department of Clerks provides procedural guidance and administrative support to Members of Parliament during plenary and in Committees. THE DEPARTMENT OF LIBRARY AND RESEARCH SERVICES The Department of Library and Research supports Parliament through the provision of Library and Information Services and Coordination of Research Services. DEPARTMENT OF SERGEANT-AT-ARMS The Department of Sergeant – at – Arms provides a safe, secure and clean environment throughout the precincts of parliament. DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION The Department of Finance and Administration provides financial, procurement, records management and administrative services to the Parliamentary Commission. DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY The purpose of the department is to develop and manage Parliament’s ICT system and services. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES The Department of Human Resources ensures efficient and effective staff management in accordance with laid down regulations and policies. PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICE The Public Relations/Information Office is a division under the Department of Finance and Administration. The main functions of the Public Relations Office are: To foster the good corporate image of the institution of Parliament, disseminate accurate information on the work of Parliament and educate the public on the operations and functions of Parliament. PARLIAMENTARY DEVELOPMENT AND COORDINATION OFFICE (PDCO) The Parliamentary Development and Coordination Office (PDCO) provides support in strategic planning, coordinates support from donor partners, mobilizes resources and overseas the implementation of the Parliamentary Strategic Investment and Development Plan (PSIDP). Its main goal is to develop the professionalism of MPs and staff in delivering on Parliament mandate. As by June 2011, the Parliament Service had a total of 311 members of staff serving under the above mentioned departments.
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