Digital Transformation

5 min

Adapting to Remote Deliberation: The Experience of Patos City Council

Câmara Municipal de Patos | Brazil

Written on September, 2020

Strategic Partners



The Onset of the Pandemic and Initial Response


The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 forced governments and institutions worldwide to adapt and modify their operations to maintain public health and safety. In Brazil, the City Council of Patos, located in Paraíba State, was among the first to respond to the crisis. On March 19, 2020, the council decided to suspend legislative activities indefinitely as a preventive measure. The primary concern was the continuity of processes and the potential repercussions of the rapidly expanding and largely unknown disease.


Transition to the Digital Parliament


On April 2, 2020, the City Council of Patos held its first remote session via videoconference, marking the beginning of the so-called digital parliament. This new approach replaced in-person operations for an extended period, providing a safe alternative to ensure the continuity of legislative activities. Comprising 17 parliamentarians, four women and 13 men, the council had already been utilizing Facebook and YouTube to broadcast their in-person sessions prior to the pandemic.


The Impact of Remote Sessions on City Council Operations


Remote sessions proved to be a viable and essential solution for the Patos City Council to continue its work during the pandemic. Many projects were approved during this time, contributing significantly to the city’s efforts to combat the virus. The swift adaptation to remote sessions allowed the council to maintain a sense of normalcy and continue serving the community during a challenging period.


The Future of Remote Deliberation in Patos City Council


The success of the digital parliament in Patos City Council highlights the potential of technology to transform how legislative bodies operate. It is hoped that the technological advancements prompted by the pandemic will persist, providing numerous benefits for both the council and the community. The focus should now shift to training staff to adapt to this new system and integrating remote work as part of the council’s standard operations. Embracing this new normal will enable continued growth and learning, ensuring the council remains responsive and efficient in serving its constituents.

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