Author: Mark Egan (States of Jersey)
There are significant problems with measuring the effectiveness of parliamentary activity in having “influence, impact and power”, to use the terms of reference for our conference. It may also be difficult to identify what makes for “better” policy-making, representation, scrutiny and accountability in terms of achieving more influential or powerful legislatures. This paper, from a parliamentary practitioner, adds two extra elements of complexity to the debate: the effects of legislature size and political culture on assessing parliamentary effectiveness. Drawing on a comparison between the UK House of Commons and the Jersey States Assembly it argues that a small legislature can struggle to perform all of the functions which are now routinely expected of a larger legislature. In addition, a jurisdiction’s political culture plays a crucial role in determining attitudes within a legislature and amongst the electorate about the roles a parliamentary body and its members are expected to play.
This paper will be delivered as part of our academic panel on “Parliaments in Comparative Perspective”, between 10.00am and 11.30am.