Cámara de Diputados de la Nación
Introduction: The Beginning of a New Era
In December 2019, a new modernization management team took over in the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina, embarking on a journey of transformation. With a fresh perspective and a mandate for change, the team set out to evaluate existing processes and infrastructure to identify potential areas for improvement. As they began their strategic planning process, the team faced a significant challenge: the conservative nature of the legislative power, which had been following the same processes and procedures for the past 140 years. The team’s initial efforts were focused on methodically assessing the pros and cons of various projects and determining which should be prioritized in the short, medium, and long term.
The Impact of the Pandemic: Accelerating Change
However, as the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Argentina in March 2020, the team was forced to rapidly adapt and find innovative solutions to enable the legislative power to continue functioning remotely. This presented a complex challenge, given Argentina’s diverse geography, unequal infrastructure, and the fact that legislators represent 24 different territories across the country. The pandemic served as a catalyst for accelerated change, pushing the team to quickly implement new technological solutions and adapt to the new reality.
Addressing Technological Challenges: Building a Digital Foundation
To ensure that the legislative power could continue to function effectively, the modernization team collaborated with various departments, including information technology and systems, to create a comprehensive plan. They began by establishing a “call center” or help desk, staffed with workers from different areas, to provide ongoing support for legislators using new technology tools. This initial step was crucial in preventing user frustration and ensuring a smooth transition to remote work.
Simultaneously, the team worked on developing the political and legal framework for remote parliamentary operations. The creation of the modernization commission led to the development of a remote operation protocol, which was updated every 30 days to adapt to the evolving situation. This protocol allowed legislators to present projects, declarations of interest, and requests for reports using digital signatures for the first time in history.
To accommodate the new remote work reality, the team developed a hybrid system, combining videoconferencing technology (Cisco Webex) with a custom web app developed by in-house programmers. This app was designed specifically to comply with the legal requirements of the remote operation protocol and streamline parliamentary procedures.
Overcoming Obstacles: Building Trust and Resilience
As the modernization team rolled out their new digital solutions, they faced several challenges, including the need to install virtual private networks (VPNs) on legislators’ devices, enabling secure access to the legislative power’s network. They also implemented an identity verification process through the National Registry of People, ensuring the authenticity of each legislator’s digital signature.
In order to build trust in the new system, the team organized extensive training sessions for legislators, offering three daily shifts over a 10-day period. This intensive training not only familiarized legislators with the new technology but also fostered a climate of resilience within the national legislative power.
The Result: A Success Story Amidst the Pandemic
Despite initial challenges, the modernization team’s efforts led to a successful transition to remote work for the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina. The implementation of digital signatures and remote parliamentary procedures enabled legislators to continue their essential work, even passing significant legislation, such as the Voluntary Pregnancy Interruption Law, during the pandemic.
This journey highlights the importance of embracing change and innovation in the face of adversity. The Chamber of Deputies of Argentina’s ability to adapt and modernize during the pandemic serves as an inspiring example for institutions around the world.
In conclusion, the Argentine National Legislative Power’s experience during the pandemic demonstrates the remarkable potential of embracing change, innovation, and resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges. The modernization management team’s tireless efforts to implement new technologies, adapt processes, and provide extensive training for legislators enabled the legislative power to continue functioning and addressing the needs of Argentine society throughout the crisis. Their journey serves as an inspiring example for institutions worldwide, showcasing the importance of adaptability, collaboration, and the willingness to embrace new solutions in the face of adversity. As we continue to navigate an ever-changing world, the lessons learned from the Argentine National Legislative Power’s transformation will undoubtedly prove invaluable for organizations seeking to evolve and thrive in the face of uncertainty.
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