Terms of Reference for Consultancy: The Case Study of Parliamentary Committees’ Usage of Oversight Agencies’ Reports for Integrity in Malawi

Basic Job Information

Job Title: Short Term Expert
Location: Lilongwe, Malawi
Position Type: Consultant
Job Stage: Currently Open
Number of positions available: 1
Close Date: 2/25/2023

Background and Scope of Work
Democracy Works Foundation (DWF), in partnership with Democracy International (DI) and with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is implementing the Parliamentary Support Program, that seeks to contribute to Malawi’s democratic governance by supporting the Parliament of Malawi to better fulfill its legislative, oversight and representative functions. The Program provides technical support to selected Committees and Caucuses, besides providing cross-institutional coordination between Parliament and Statutory oversight institutions. It also facilitates collaboration and coordination between Parliament, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and the media, around public integrity issues and legislative and oversight matters.

In Malawi, as it is the case in most democratic countries, independent oversight agencies tend to have far greater capacity and expertise than Parliament to undertake detailed and forensic scrutiny of government activities. However, only Parliament has the constitutional duty and authority to call the executive and agency officials to account for their decisions and/or actions. Thus, Parliament’s business heavily relies on the strategic role and mechanisms played and instituted by Oversight Agencies, through the various reports that these oversight agencies produce and submit to Parliament through their established channels. Through these reports, the Oversight Agencies strategically complement the role that Parliament plays in a democracy. How these reports are used by Parliament and how the recommendations contained there-in are actioned upon or followed up is instrumental in this regard, just as it is also with respect to the overall relationship that Parliament has with the respective Oversight Agencies. As part of the efforts to support Parliament, Democracy Works Foundation seeks to establish the status quo, and identifies areas for improvement with respect to how Parliament received, integrates, and generally makes use of the reports of these agencies to strengthen its legislative, representative and/or oversight roles.

It is against this background that DWF now seeks to commission a study to understand how best to: (a) improve the way in which Parliament routinely debates and uses agency reports, and (b) support Oversight Agencies to follow up on and enforce recommendations in the quest to make Parliament effective and better.

Accordingly, DWF now seeks to hire a short-term technical expert (Consultant) to undertake the study, which is to also be informed by international and/or regional best practices. The study will employ a case study approach by systematically tracking reports of at least three agencies, from submission to final adoption by Parliament, as well as establishing how the recommendations and/or actions were/are followed or acted upon. This short-term consultancy will take place in person in Lilongwe, Malawi, with a start date in/or around February 2023. The level of effort is expected to be approximately 20 man-days.

Specific Tasks and Responsibilities
The specific tasks and responsibilities expected of the consultancy will include the following:

  1. Identify at least three oversight agencies and comprehensively analyze their respective mandates and ascertain how they support the role of Parliament in its legislative, representative and oversight functions;
  2. Identify at least one report of each of the selected agencies and systematically examine such report (s) with regard to the following parameters at the minimum:
    a) The content of the report(s).
    b) Trace the way in which Parliament handles those reports once it receives them, including which staffers assess them, how responsible Committees receive them, and how quickly they acknowledge or respond to the agency.
    c) Examine how Parliament uses that reports’ analysis, the extent to which it provides the basis for questioning Ministers or other relevant actors, and how Committees and Oversight agencies pick up and record the content of the reports.
    d) Examine the types of recommendations that flow from the Committee analysis and the extent to which the Committee and Oversight agency work together to draft those recommendations.
    e) Assess the level of follow-up by Committees and Oversight agencies and how government implements Parliamentary recommendations.
  3. Inspired by regional and international best practices and experiences, identify areas of improvement, and recommend, accordingly, specific ways in which such improvements can be effected.
  4. Present findings of the study at a stakeholders’ meeting to be organized by DWF.


  1. Inception report spelling out the Consultant’s understanding of the scope of the assignment.
  2. Draft Study report with actionable recommendations.
  3. Draft PowerPoint presentation on the analysis and recommendations.
  4. Final report with actionable recommendations and taking into account comments and observations from the stakeholders’ workshop.
  5. Final PowerPoint presentation of the summarized final report.

Required Qualifications, Skills, & Experience

  1. Advanced Degree (or equivalent) in Political Sciences, Economics, and/or Development Management.
  2. A minimum of 5 years’ relevant work experience.
  3. Demonstrated understanding of the Governance and Oversight Agencies work and dynamics in Malawi, Parliament (Secretariat structures and the Committee system), among others.
  4. Proven track record of effective interactions with all levels of Oversight agencies, Parliament and staff, policy makers, senior political and civic leaders, and Government.
  5. Fluency in written and spoken English.
  6. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to establish effective working relationships.
  7. Exceptional analytical skills and ability to apply analysis to programmatic activities.

Preferred Qualifications, Skills, & Experience

Demonstrated knowledge and experience with the Policy Oversight, Political Society and Economic Society of Governance, and Ministries, Departments and Agencies’ interface with Parliament’s system.


This Consultant will report to the DWF Regional Director or his/her designated representative.

Application Method

To apply, all interested candidates meeting the criteria should send: an expression of interest with a CV and a Technical Proposal, that contains a work plan, methodology and links to the past works that relate to this assignment; a financial offer, including a proposed daily rate, and a writing sample in English, to : recruitment@democracyworksfoundation.org by 25th February, 2023.