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Über dieses Buch

This book addresses the education and training of Members of Parliament (MPs). It examines existing training programs offered in various countries around the world, evaluates their strengths and weaknesses and makes recommendations for a new approach, which aligns the professional development of MPs to 21st century requirements. Contributors address the role of parliamentarians, how to prepare them for their multi-faceted functions, the importance of ethics in any program, the requirement for more sophisticated adult learning approaches, human resource implications and the need to reform existing education and training models. The book will appeal to scholars in the fields of political science, adult education and human resource management, as well as to parliamentarians interested in enhancing their skills so as to perform more efficiently and effectively.



1. Introduction—Parliaments: More Professional than Ever

Enhancing the capabilities of parliamentarians through greater education and training is both a sign of increasing professionalization of the occupation and a necessary condition for the professionalization of the institution. The four distinct functions of the parliament and the unique responsibilities and qualities of parliamentarians as public officers, whose position descriptions are nonetheless ill-defined, combine to create peculiar challenges in the design and delivery of professional development programs. This chapter introduces the themes addressed by the contributors of this edition, which reflect the diverse backgrounds and range of skills related to improving the functioning and effectiveness of parliaments and parliamentarians.
Ken Coghill

Human Resource Perspective


2. The Career Development of Parliamentarians

This chapter examines the career experiences of parliamentarians, with particular emphasis on how training and on-the-job learning contributes to their career development. It describes the significant changes in the vocational backgrounds of MPs and notes the rise of MPs transitioning from careers such as political advisers or aides. Such pre-parliamentary careers provide informal learning about the roles and activities of MPs, however, even these parliamentarians are likely to have skill gaps that need to be addressed through training. The chapter also examines the various parliamentary career types and argues that they will have divergent training needs, which extend beyond generic induction programs. The chapter reviews the predictors of career advancement of MPs and post-parliamentary career experiences. Finally, the chapter argues that traditional career theories are not appropriate frameworks through which to examine the career development of MPs. Instead, the recently developed boundaryless career perspective, with its hallmarks of career change and autonomy, provides a more suitable lens through which to interpret parliamentary careers. Applying this perspective, the chapter examines the specific competencies that parliamentarians need to develop to successfully navigate their careers. Specifically, MPs should attempt to acquire know-why competencies (developing identity and personal meaning from their work), know-whom competencies (building and maintaining mentoring relationships and personal networks) and know-how competencies (engaging in training activities to develop a portfolio of easily transportable skills).
Ross Donohue

3. Adult Learning: From Learning Theory to Parliamentary Practice

Understanding how adults learn is a critical aspect of successful training and development in the workplace. In the context of parliamentarians where there are no professional qualifications or standards, they are in a unique position. Awareness of how to address the development of knowledge and skills required for this professional role in a way that effectively delivers this information across the immense array of knowledge and abilities of people entering the field is critical. This chapter explores the concept of adult-learning and its critical role in understanding how to address the issue of knowledge and skill acquisition and building for parliamentarians.
Peter Holland, Rachel Lenders

The State of Play: Where to From Here


4. The Value of Ethics Education for Parliamentarians

This chapter examines the rationale for ethics education for parliamentarians, in view of the public significance of ethical behaviour in the discharge of the parliamentary role. The themes explored here are the public exemplary nature of parliamentarians’ behaviour, the relationship between this behaviour and social norms, the types of outcomes that explicit and implicit ethics education and/or training can be expected to deliver, the means and processes by which these outcomes can be produced, and the responsibilities of those who do and/or can play a key role in the ethics education process (e.g. leaders of the institution of parliament, experienced members and staff, role models of the past, ethics specialists, political parties, the media and the public). This chapter briefly reviews current ethics education practices in parliaments, and outlines, evaluates and recommends a new approach to parliamentary ethics education which is likely to be more effective in contemporary democracies.
Cristina Neesham

5. Learning to Be Learned

This chapter identifies and analyses the essential themes that need to be included in professional development and training programs for MPs, with an emphasis on the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes that affect the performance of the parliament within the democratic system. It canvasses the range of potential topics that could be included and the factors to be taken into account for specific programs and other aspects of program design.
Ken Coghill

6. Compulsory Professional Development for Members of Parliament

Being a member of parliament is a highly important and influential job, as their determinations have a profound effect on the lives of the population they are elected to serve. Despite having to make decisions on extremely complex issues, parliamentarians, unlike other professions are not required to attend professional development programs. Nor do they undergo any form of testing to ensure that they understand even the basic elements of their job. This chapter asks if this is a satisfactory situation in today’s knowledge-based society or should it be compulsory for parliamentarians, as opposed to candidates, to engage in professional development programs throughout their time in office?
Colleen Lewis

International Case Studies


7. Legislative Capacity Building: Pacific Case Studies

This chapter focuses on those who fund, develop and conduct education and training programs for Members of Parliament (MPs) and the value, or otherwise, of using external, fly-in-fly-out training providers from other cultural and political systems. The role of international organizations in funding, developing and evaluating parliamentariansʼ education and training programs and the resources spent on consultants is also examined. In addressing these issues, the role of parliamentary staff in assisting MPs to enhance their knowledge, skills and abilities is scrutinized, including structural and other challenges they would face if they were to play a more significant role. In making these arguments, the author draws primarily (but not exclusively) on data collected from MPs from five Pacific countries, which include the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, Guinea, Timor-Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu. The chapter concludes by offering suggestions on how education and training programs for MPs could be improved.
Abel Kinyondo

8. A Solution in Search of a Problem? International Approaches to ‘Training’ MPs

This chapter argues that parliamentary training in newer parliaments needs to change so that it is less concerned with ‘roles’ and more with helping MPs do their job better. Training should start with the problems that MPs face, and explain their roles in relation to political problem-solving. The chapter starts with a brief analysis of the difficulties in ‘teaching’ MPs how to be MPs and why this approach is a forlorn endeavour. The second section looks at two challenges facing parliamentary training, namely the difficulties of running induction programs and giving MPs the support skills they believe they need. In conclusion, the chapter suggests that in order to be effective, training should not be an isolated exercise but needs, critically, to be undertaken as part of a wider strategy to strengthen the parliament and build the norms and standards of behaviour that establish the wider parliamentary culture. (This chapter draws on the author’s experience in delivering assistance programs to a variety of parliaments around the world, and his analytical work on parliamentary support for donor agencies such as DFID, SIDA and DANIDA. He was also the author of the first Global Parliamentary Report (2013) published by the UNDP and IPU.)
Greg Power

9. How to Be a Good MP? The Case of the German Bundestag

The effective functioning of parliament requires the ability of parliamentarians to act effectively. Being primarily interested in how to ensure and improve MPs’ capacity to fulfil parliamentary functions, this chapter examines whether German parliamentarians receive adequate professional training by the German Bundestag and/or by their political parties. A theoretical framework of parliamentary functions and a case study analysis of Germany offers some notable findings. Both parliament as an institution and political parties offer few training programs to educate MPs. What little they do offer refers only to specific and narrow parliamentary functions and content varies significantly between programs.
Julia Schwanholz

10. Education and Training in China’s National People’s Congress

As part of a party-state authoritarian regime, China’s National People’s Congresses (NPC) has been criticized for their minimal function as a ‘rubber stamp’. Deputies are not freely elected but chosen based on their political stature. As such, the education and training system of China’s NPC is fundamentally different from the ones in democratic polities. This chapter will first describe the structure of China’s parliament and the electoral system of the NPC. The second part will illustrate roles and duties expected from the deputies. Part three will delineate the unique education and training system and, in the final section, efforts will be made to evaluate and assess the training program.
Chien-min Chao, Chun-Chih Chang

11. Learning the Ropes: Training MPs in the United Kingdom

This chapter examines the history of the education and training of Members in the UK House of Commons. It analyses the resources and guidance available to Members in being introduced to the working practices, resources, and behaviour of the House, examines the effect of party sources as the primary means of induction for most of the twentieth Century and the development of formal induction by parliamentary authorities in and since the late twentieth Century, and identifies problems remaining in providing effective induction for newly-elected Members.
Philip Norton



12. Reform Required

The wide-ranging and substantial effects parliamentarians’ decisions have on a nation and all who reside in it, sits uncomfortably with the current approach to many orientation, induction and professional development programs for members of parliament and to the voluntary nature of their attendance at them. This chapter queries whether, in today’s knowledge-based and globalized world, the status quo should continue. In doing so, it calls for this important matter to be addressed in a calm, thoughtful manner by all key stakeholders, from parliamentarians, political parties and senior parliamentary officers to the media and the community.
Colleen Lewis


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