Council of Representatives

The Problem

Before commissioning the MP Portal Project MP’s were receiving physical bulky paper documents of sitting and committee meeting agendas, minutes and handsards, directly to their residential addresses and physical mailboxes either using drivers or mail services. MP’s usually receive parliamentary documents almost three days before any related activity, where most of the time consumed in printing and delivery. MP’s need to get the documents at a very where getting the information more
All bulky documents are brought over by MP’s to the meeting halls and debating chambers making it difficult to handle, manage, mobilize, archive, and destroy. MP’s are also worried about handwritten comments and annotations on the documents, they consider that to be highly confidential hence making it difficult for them to manage information security, especially in cases where the internal regulations accuses MP’s for disclosing some confidential parliamentary information.
MP’s threw (nightmare) expression about searching the stock of bulky documents they have, as digging for any information or hand written comments in the documents is so difficult. It is also noteworthy to say that in most of the times MP’s loose access to all the documents when they are not at home, making them paralyzed, especially in cases where MP’s increasingly travel to represent the Council or the IPU in international events outside the country.
Moreover, MP’s where facing difficulties in organizing their meetings and parliament activities schedules, and very often they miss reading the SMS or the email messages sent to them from the parliament administration, resulting in missing some very important parliament activities.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The initiative was successfully implemented, a Portal is developed using Microsoft SharePoint Technology that provides content and services to MP’s and Parliament administration staff. The Portal GUI was designed in a very simple and easy to navigate front end where it considers users that lightly use computer gadgets.
The Portal provided containers to important parliamentary content and information, most importantly it provides timely and detailed Sitting Agendas and minutes of meeting with easy access to attachments as hyperlinks and the ability to put down comments and annotations, and with an option to access to all archive information. It also provides information about committees meeting agendas, minutes of meeting, and parliamentary reports.
Moreover, it provides MP’s with access to all resolutions, circulars and internal memorandums raised from the speaker of the House.
The portal also provides miscellaneous important information that MP’s very often refer to, e.g. important categorized contact list related to the parliament work, important regulations, and MP’s personal documents.
The portal also provides usefull services MP’s where he/she can view all parliament activities, MP parliament activities, and MP personal activities with reminders via SMS and emails.
After completion of Portal development and testing, the project Sponsor invited key stakeholders from the MP’s representing potential cartels to demonstrate and convince them on using the portal, and that was followed by number of familiarization and training sessions.
After the portal has been productionized and made live, weekly reports measuring the hit counts on the different portal content were constantly reviewed and evaluated, and hence corrective actions were taken. Moreover, one-to-one interviews with MP’s were carried out randomly to measure the quality of service and satisfaction, and also forms were distributed to all MP’s that can be signed whenever MP’s feel like not in need of receiving physical documents. And all the above showed a very encouraging KPI’s reflecting a possible target of stopping distribution of documents by the beginning of 2013.
In order to provide the MPs with the technology and the tools, the council bought for the MPs the Samsung Note 10.1” to enable them access the portal anywhere and anytime.
In addition, many sessions were held for the both the MPs and the employees who are going to interact with the portal daily.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The Idea came up when the council aimed to move from the traditional process to the electronics processes and to automate them, the General Secretary formed a committee to study the feasibility from moving the paper process to the automated process, which submitted reports, show the benefit from moving green, after that OFC office of the council agreed on that project and name the Second Vice chairman to supervises the project. The project champions were named and assign to the project and a tender were in place to choose the best company to develop the project. The project was implemented by a company located in UAE called DataCell.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The main objective of the initiative was to improve MPs performance in committees meetings and the debating chamber, making parliament information highly available, accessible and timely. The Initiative Execution Team with efforts to achieved this initiative decided to provide all MP’s with Tablets and internet service to access the portal, believing that can encourage them to move away from physical hard copies. Another strategy to achieve the objectives is a decision proposed by the team and taken by the Chairman Second Deputy as to stop printing hard copies starting from the beginning of 2013, which is the period of time required by the MP’s to familiarize with the portal.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The project started by forming a team having IT as well as business units representatives to study the initiative and submit a business case with definition, objectives, cost/benefit, and timeframe expected to be required to implement the project. The business case was then discussed by the Council Office and obtained the financial approval required to start the project. After completing tendering procedures by the project team the Council signed with DataCell Company for the implementation of the portal, and the Chairman second deputy was involved in all project implementation phases including requirement gathering and BRR, planning, implementation and delivery, testing, training, deployment and going live. The project went through many iterative reviews by the team and changes were attended efficiently by the company arriving at an almost bug-free final product.
Further to all the above, the project team continued monitoring the usage of the portal, the obstacles MP’s are facing, and addressing all observations, suggestions raised by the MP’s. Weekly portal usage statistics were reviewed to monitor usage and to know the extent to which MP’s are depending on the portal.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Many obstacles were emerged when the implementation of the project were intended to begin, the two major obstacles was the time frame given to implement the project and moving to the new way of doing activities which was only around two months only from collecting the requirements to choosing the development company to implementing the solution to going live& the other major obstacles are convincing the MPs of this new way and how they will deal with the committees and sessions documents using the portal. Other than that we were facing some of the obstacles, which need the spirit of teamwork between all the employees who will feed the portal daily, and preparing the environment to deal with this new way.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
It was quite important to involve many resources into the project being the most important strategic project directly serving members of the parliament and engaging them with the parliament administration. In total around 7 staff representing different business units, 3 Information Technology experts, 1 Projects manager, and 6 members of the Parliament, a total of about BD 30000 has been consumed and that includes development and deployment services, portal hosting services, and 60+ tablets with internet services.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The ideas of this project intend to cut cost and reduce the paperwork of any parliament or council and go green. Any public sector or even private sector entity who are willing to minimize the cost and time in paperwork could coup this idea and move green and save lots of resources and money.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
Reducing the cost of publishing the agendas, handsards, time and efforts were the one of the key elements of the success of the project. Also accessing the council document anywhere and anytime made this idea a successful idea. This idea had become a service center for the parliament’s members providing them with up to date documents reports, announcements and meeting agendas. Cutting almost 90% of the budgets located for the sessions and committees meeting is another key element of this success also getting a good feedback from the MPs and the users also.

Below is some News talking about the project:
• Bahrain News Agency – 20 September 2012
• Alwasat Newspaper - 28 September 2012
• Akhbar Alkhaleej Newspaper- 21 September 2012
• Alwatan Newspaper – 29 September 2012
Feedback about the project
• Alwasat newspaper – 8 December 2012
• Alwasat newspaper – 7 December 2012
• Alayam Newspaper – 9 December 2012

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Council of Representatives
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Yahya AlMulla
Title:   Information Technology  
Telephone/ Fax:   973-17748444
Institution's / Project's Website:   www.nuwab.gov.bh
E-mail:   almullay@nuwab.gov.bh  
Address:   Manama B.O.Box 54040
Postal Code:  
City:   Manama
Country:   Bahrain

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