The Temporary Committee on the Digital Future (Tijdelijke Commissie Digitale Toekomst, TCDT) of the Dutch House of Representatives has asked the Rathenau Instituut to conduct an international comparative study into how other parliaments deal with digitisation issues and what working methods they use. With this study, the TCDT wants to examine how the Dutch House of Representatives can strengthen its knowledge position in the field of digitisation and get a better grip on the desired and undesirable developments associated with digitisation.
The research carried out by the Rathenau Instituut consisted of two phases. In phase I, a quick scan was made of the various working methods used by ten parliaments to address digitisation: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Norway, United Kingdom, United States and Switzerland. For each working method, we described - mainly on the basis of desk research - the function and positioning of the working method, the approach, and the digitisation issues dealt with.
In phase II, a selection of five countries with working methods that seemed most relevant and promising for the Dutch situation was further investigated. These were Germany (with three different interesting working methods and a parliamentary system somewhat similar to the Dutch one), the United Kingdom (with many different working methods and results that have received international recognition, including on disinformation and AI), the United States (with standing committees that have many and various forms of support), Denmark (with an interesting working method that has a coordinating function for the entire parliament), and Norway (with an interesting accessible method for informing all members of parliament). In phase II, the functioning of the various working methods in practice was also explicitly examined by means of semi-open interviews with parliamentarians and civil servants (including substantive support services.