Reading: Tools for parliamentary monitoring
Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations (PMO) were the pioneers of designing civic tech tools for transparency and accountability. PMOs are advocates for open, accessible and responsible parliaments, believing that citizens should oversee the work of the parliaments and have control over law-making processes. In 2011 there were more than 191 PMOs registered, monitoring the work of more than 80 national parliaments . Nowadays, most countries have PMOs and civic-tech tools that enable citizens to monitor the work of their parliaments.
But what is it that they do, and what are the tools PMOs work with?
Parliamentary Monitoring tools are digital tools that enable voters to monitor the actions of their representatives. Somewhat similar to promise trackers, but different in the sense that these platforms usually include facts and figures such as members’ of parliament voting records, the number of written questions and speeches during debates, recent appearances, expenses and an extensive register of interests.
One of the most known tools is TheyWorkForYou, which monitors MPs in the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament in the United Kingdom, the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly. An additional feature of this platform, built by the UK-based non-profit organisation MySociety (pioneers in online technology to foster civic participation), is The Policy Agreement Ratio, which helps display MPs’ voting records in gradations, such as “consistently voted against”, “almost always voted against”, or “generally voted against” regarding important policy issues . The platform provides impartial information on the actions, words and votes of MPs and simplifies access to this information for those who are interested.
All PMO tools are designed with the idea to allow citizens to make a fair judgement of MPs on the basis of what they do and to make MPs feel accountable. Both transparency and accountability help keep citizens better informed and more engaged in politics.
 Opening Parliaments. Organizations. http://www.openingparliament.org/organizations/
 Korthagen, I., & Dorst, H. (2020). Parliamentary Monitoring. European E-Democracy in Practice, 151.