Knowledge and power: the essential connection between research and the work of legislature
Well-functioning parliamentary information services can make legislation more effective.
Parliamentary resource centers must make their services more relevant and easier to use for legislators. The process must start with individual MPs and move onward and upward to committees and the leadership of the assembly. If the parliament has many new members, special effort must be seen to introduce them to the work done by the information service. There must be easy access to parliamentary libraries and information agency data and services (including computer networks) and they must be easy to use – that is, the information must be concise, understandable, and must include diagrams and visual aids where necessary. Concentrating on MPs and their unique needs in the legislative environment is the deciding factor for supporting information services. According to the writer, it is important to convince MPs and committees of the merits of balanced analysis provided by information services, to draw upon unified views of good political philosophy in situations where legislatives are continuously influenced by intelligent people who spin facts to serve their interests. Legislators need impartial arbiters who can verify the truth of information.
This article is an Estonian translation on the author’s work, “Knowledge and Power. The Essential Connection Between Research and the Work of Legislature.” Dick Toornstra, ECPRD, European Parliament 2002. Full text:www.ecprd.org.