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Speaker inaugurates Citizens‘ Bureau in Parliament

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By Edzorna Francis Mensah

Speaker of Parliament, Alban S.K Bagbin has inaugurated Citizens’ Bureau in Parliament as part of the efforts by Parliament to mainstream CSO’s participation and harness their contributions to support the work of the House.

In his address, Mr. Speaker asked the house to demonstrate patriotism in what they do, even as they work to rebuild trust and confidence in the public and “we must eschew all self-centeredness in our day-to-day work. Let us work to progressively open up parliament to the people and involve them in what we do. How else can we have a shared responsibility toward protecting Ghana’s democracy”!

He said as they celebrate 30 years of Parliamentary Democracy and reflect on the journey thus far, “it should be clear that efforts at safeguarding Ghana’s democracy will not be complete unless we increase access to the legislature, and remain accountable. 

The author, Tom Smith, said “An attitude of accountability lies at the core of any effort to improve upon the quality of life, satisfy people, empower individuals, cultivate impactful leadership, maximize effectiveness, and achieve better results.” The first step toward accountability begins with oneself – ourselves; hence the Citizens’ Bureau”.

The Citizens’ Bureau is an office in Parliament that facilitates engagements and information sharing between Parliament and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). It is a platform through which public information from Parliament is shared with CSOs.

The Bureau will also facilitate Knowledge sharing and evidence gathering for evidence-informed decision-making by Parliament.

 It will again facilitate the dissemination of information on various relevant research works conducted by CSOs and Think-tanks to Members and officials of Parliament to enhance their work. The Bureau is equally responsible for the formulation, implementation, and reporting of Open Parliament Initiatives under the Open Government Partnership.

The inauguration was under the theme: “Promoting parliamentary responsiveness and openness through information sharing civic engagement and public accountability”

Parliament has enjoyed the support of various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), think tanks, and the media in the execution of its legislative, oversight, accountability, and deliberative functions over the years. However, this partnership has been ad-hoc in nature. 

In recognition of the important roles CSOs play in the governance space Parliament under Goal Three (3) of its Corporate Strategic Plan (2020-2024) emphasized the need to strengthen the representational role and public involvement in the work of Parliament by institutionalizing Parliament-citizens’ engagement through partnership with media, CSOs, and Thinktanks.

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