Sierra Leone: Study Visit by the Clerk of Parliament

Published 18 December 2018

From 4 – 6 December 2018, CPA UK hosted the Clerk of the Parliament of Sierra Leone, Mr Paran Tarawally, to share knowledge and best practice on the responsibilities of the Clerk of the House.

Over the course of three days, the Clerk met with UK clerks and officials to discuss a wide range of topics including management of the Clerk’s office, stakeholder management and the implementation of strategy.

Maintaining impartiality, neutrality and fairness was a key focus during the discussions on management of the Clerk’s office and stakeholder management. The Clerk was impressed by the apolitical nature and impartiality of the UK clerks and officials. Several discussions focused on the importance of neutrality for clerks to build trust to provide advice and follow protocol. The Clerk was keen to develop understanding of building strong and well-supported governance and staffing structures. The UK officials and clerks emphasised the importance of the Clerk’s role in supporting clerks to be confident regulators and ensuring procedures are followed correctly.

The programme also provided the Clerk with an opportunity to shadow a Clerk Assistant in the House of Lords, gaining insight into parliamentary procedure and the management of day-to-day business. The Clerk engaged in discussions about implementation of strategic objectives in the UK Parliament. In the UK, the Director-General and the Clerk of the House of Commons hold separate positions, whereas in the Parliament of Sierra Leone, these responsibilities are incorporated into the role of the Clerk of Parliament. The Clerk gained insight into the importance of developing the right leadership team and governance structure to effectively implement strategic plans, as well as developing understanding of best practice to achieve strategic objectives.

Several sessions provided insight into the principles and practicalities of managing the Clerk’s office, including the Speaker’s Morning Briefing. The Clerk was also impressed by the All Staff Town Hall meetings which provide senior management with an opportunity to engage with wider staff concerns.

At the end of the programme, the Clerk emphasised he had improved his understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the Clerk and developing effective governance structures. The Clerk indicated that he found the programme very useful and will be sharing learnings during an upcoming all-staff retreat to discuss the Parliament of Sierra Leone’s strategic plan in December 2018 and through implementation of policies. CPA UK looks forward to continuing to strengthen its close relationship with the Parliament of Sierra Leone and facilitating capacity-building and parliamentary strengthening programmes in the future.

For more information about CPA UK’s work in Sierra Leone, please click here.

Key highlights

  • The visit covered a wide variety of issues including planning and implementation of strategic objectives, the key roles and responsibilities of the Clerk of Parliament, governance and staff structures, and security protocol and procedures.
  • The Clerk met with Sir David Natzler KCB, Clerk of the House of Commons, to discuss management of the Clerk’s office. Their discussion focused on the importance of remaining fair and impartial, as well as developing a strong and well-supported team.
  • Discussions focused on the different approaches to successfully devising and implementing a strategic plan for Parliament, including an insightful session with Ian Ailles, Director-General of the House of Commons.
  • The visit included observational sessions including attending the Speaker’s Morning Briefing, shadowing a clerk in the House of Commons, and observing an All Staff Town Hall meeting with the Director-General and the Clerk of the House of Commons.