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Parliamentary Assistance Coordination Office (PACO)

 Background
The Parliamentary Assistance Coordination office was established in 2010 (as recommended by an Ad-hoc Committee) to harmonize donor support to the Sierra Leone Parliament. As a results of a mapping exercise undertaken June-July 2010 the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) and donor partners, it was revealed that the Parliament of Sierra Leone was engaged with several development partners who are providing materials, technical and or financial assistance to Parliamentary Committees, individual members of Parliament (MPs) and Parliamentary staff, and sometimes without the involvement of the administration of Parliament.

Consequently, partners interventions most of the times failed to properly prioritize the needs of Parliament and sometimes directly provided assistance to MP;s and parliamentary Committees without informing the Speaker and or the Office of the Clerk.
Because such supports were not carried out in a well-coordinated and transparent manner, tensions between MPs from different parties and the administration were common; especially when beneficiaries were asked to account.

In this context, the Ad-hoc Committee on Parliamentary Organization and Development proposed the establishment of a Parliamentary Assistance Coordination Office (PACO) as part of parliament's administrative structure to be a liaison office between Parliament and its donor partners.

Objectives
To coordinate all Development Partners’ technical, material and financial assistance to Parliament (Parliamentary Committees, MPs and Staff), to avoid duplication and ensure the most strategic use of limited resources
Provide support and facilitate the planning and implementation of Development Partners’ interventions
Develop proposals and liaise with current as well as potential future Development Partners to mobilize additional assistance to Parliament in line with Parliament’s Strategic Plan.
PACO will serve as a single conduit for the implementation of all future development partner interventions, eliminating the need for the creation of additional PIUs.

Administrative Composition:
The Unit comprises of the following Staff:
A Programme Coordinator, attached by Parliament to serve as the Head of Office;
A Technical Advisor, attached by UNDP
A Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, attached by ACBF
An Administrative and Finance Officer, attached by ACBF
A Projet Officer, attached by Parliament

Model of Supervision and Coordination:

The PACO of the Parliament of Sierra Leone is modeled after and builds on lessons learned from the successful establishment and functioning of Coordination Offices within the Parliaments of Uganda and Ghana. To enhance coordination and supervision, all Development Partners are asked to inform the Office of the Clerk of Parliament in writing of all planned support to be provided to MPs, Parliamentary Committees and/or staff with copy to PACO. This is inclusive of invitations for participation in workshops, seminars and conferences. Once this official correspondence has been done or intensions declared, the liaison work of PACO starts.

The PACO is required to report to the Clerk of Parliament with whom it will maintain daily contact on progress of Partners’ interventions and similarly inform partners on the level of facilitation by Parliament. This process helps increase transparency and accountability and also serves to reduce transaction costs on both Parliament and Development Partners.

                    Organogram - Parliamentary Assistance Coordination Office (PACO) 

                                                                                 




Recent Supports and Activities:

The Parliamentary Assistance Coordination Office (PACO) is currently coordinating donor assistance and support for capacity building for the Sierra Leone Parliament. Key among the partners are the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and to a lesser extent the UNFPA and few Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). In recent times, the UNDP recruited some Committee Clerks and provided some working tools and equipment for staff and also procured a server. On its part, the ACBF is providing two million United States dollars capacity building support for Sierra Leone Parliament under four main component: Institutional support, research and documentation, training and knowledge upgrading and communication and outreach.

ACBF Supported Activities:

Internet installation in the New Administrative Building; enhancing the facility within Parliament

Networking of the New Administrative Building 

                                                           

Library materials including Parliamentary debate, statutory instruments, Votes and Proceedings and Acts of Parliament that were in a very bad state and almost out of use were bound under the ACBF’s support.  172 big volumes of library materials were bound which included: 154 Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments, 6 Volumes of Parliamentary Debates and 12 Volumes of Votes and Proceedings. 

Handing over of bind copies of Acts, Statutory Instruments and Votes and Proceedings to the Library Department.

                                                                    

Video image and voice recording CCTV Cameras and Television Screens were procured and installed in the Chamber of Parliament and various parts of the old and new buildings of Parliament. This has been very impactful on the Debate/Hansards Department, the Security Post, the Parliamentary Press Gallery and the public. It has resulted into enhanced storage and retrieval of parliamentary proceedings in the Chamber, and MP’S, Staff and visitors can easily view Parliamentary Proceedings.       

                                                                    

Provision of administrative support to Parliament. The project supported the recruitment of four staff: M&E and Finance Officer (who were directly recruited from outside) and the Coordinator and Project Officer (who were indirectly recruited on secondment from Parliament). These staff have not only been engaged in the project activities but have also undertake assignments from Parliament outside the project’s spheres.

UNDP Supported Activities:

South-South collaboration promoted (Legislative Department- 3 MP’s, the Clerk of Parliament and a staff visit Kenya Parliament to learn best practices of the Legislative Department and the CDF).
PACO office supported with office materials.
Research Department supported with books.
Support to Female Caucus to participate in Commission on the Status of Women in New York.
Two Female Caucus members supported to attend a workshop for female parliamentarians organized by CPA UK in Accra, Ghana.
Support to the IT Department (Cisco Router, Server for internet).
Supported the Committee on Social Services to attend African Child’s day in Port Loko.
Organized workshop for the committee dealing with Extractives.
Procured Photo copier for photocopying room and printer for PACO.
Supported the M & E officer on a two days training in M & E procedures.
Supported the printing of Registers for the Legislative Department for record keeping.
Youth report presentation
Supported Female Parliamentarians to attend International Women’s Day.
Constitutional review consultation with Parliamentarians

UNFPA Supported Activity

-   Workshop for Parliamentarians in compliance with UNFPA mandate to conducting activities that support sexual reproductive health and population issues

CPA – UK Supported Activities
Scooping visit
Visit of Hon. Speaker
The aim of the visit was to enhance the understanding of the Speaker of Sierra Leone Parliament on the constitutional, governance and administrative role of the Speaker and Clerk of the House of Commons.

Meeting with the Speaker of the House of Commons; Rt Hon. John Bercow MP and Speaker of Sierra Leone Parliament Hon. Sheku Badara. Basiru. Dumbuya.
                                                                      

CPA – Head Quarters Supported Activities
Workshop on West Africa Association of Public Accounts Committee in Burkina Faso
Workshop on international Executive Parliamentary staff training programme in Canada.
Workshop on Agriculture Committee
Mid-Year Executive Meeting in UK
Conference in Vienna

NEWS AND EVENTS:
IPAM Certifies Parliamentary Staff 7/5/2015