Overview of SALSA Professional Forums
The South African Legislatures Secretaries' Association (SALSA) was established in 1995. In 2002 SALSA reconstituted itself and established various Professional Forums. During 2008 the role of SALSA as the implementation arm of the Speakers' Forum was confirmed and as such it is responsible for ensuring execution of the Legislative Sector strategy.
To provide information on the current constitution and functioning of SALSA Forums, convey their achievements and challenges, and put forward recommendations for consideration by SALSA based on the conclusions reached.
Constitution of SALSA Forums
Objectives & Functions
The Forums of SALSA
- are advisory bodies to SALSA,
- serve to share information, knowledge and experience as well as best practices,
- arrange inter-legislature visits,
- carry out ad hoc implementation activities assigned by SALSA and SFSA as well as forum initiated plans,
- report to SALSA on their activities.
Forums are composed of managers (middle, senior or executive) and practitioners working in a specific functional area. There is generally one representative from each legislative institution participating at the Forum.
Generally each Forum selects a chairperson, deputy chairperson and secretary to the Forum. A convening Secretary is also assigned to the Forum by SALSA to lead.
Each Forum has an executive which consists of the chairperson, deputy chairperson, secretary and between 2 to 4 additional forum members elected to the executive.
- Forum Leadership individually
Convening Secretary (from SALSA) - is assigned to a specific Forum and is required to provide strategic leadership and guidance to such Forum as well as give relevant feedback from Speakers' Forum and SALSA regarding developments pertaining to the Forum and broader Legislative Sector.
Chairperson - is expected to liaise with the convening Secretary regarding planning (meetings and strategic) and Forum matters and to lead or chair meetings of the Forum and its executive.
Deputy Chairperson - is expected to liaise with the convening Secretary regarding Forum matters and to lead or chair meetings of the Forum and its executive in the absence of the Chairperson.
Secretary to the Forum - is appointed to attend to the administration of the Forum. This generally involves all aspects pertaining to meetings, namely invites, rsvp, ensuring venue arrangements, agenda, minutes, follow up, communication and reporting of the Forum.
The executive of each Forum serves for a period of two years from election. The executive meets on a quarterly basis (usually shortly before the full Forum meeting) to discuss and agree on the agenda, issues and recommendations to the Forum.
- Full Forum
The SALSA Forums meet on a quarterly basis to plan, share experiences, discuss, monitor and evaluate its activities linked to its objectives.
Forum meetings are hosted on a rotational basis and the practice is that the hosting institution carries the cost of the meeting (in terms of conferencing and any entertainment).
To date nine SALSA Forums have been established covering most of the functional areas of Legislatures. These Forums are as follows: Table Staff, Committees, Legal Advisors, Human Resources, Public Participation, Petitions and Communications, Finance, Knowledge Management, Security and ISM Forums.
- Sub-Forums and Task teams
The Human Resources Forum has established four sub-forums related to specific Human Resources aspects, namely Members' Affairs, Human Resources Development, Employee Wellness and Labour.
From time to time Forums establish Task Teams on a temporary basis to deal with specific projects. The Task Team has a leader who usually coordinates its meetings and activities.
- Role in played in Video-conferencing system implementation
- Development of Committee Staff guide
- Conducting of the first Legislative Sector Baseline Study
- Development of the Legislative Sector Communications Strategy
- Drafting the Speakers' Forum Memorandum of Understanding
- Role in development of FMPLA Bill
- Contribution in development of HR Development Strategy
- Part in development of Legislative Sector Gender Strategy
- Role in development of Legislative Sector Disability Strategy
- Contribution in development of framework for Sector Public Participation Strategy
- Contribution in development of the Sector Oversight Model
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