INTRODUCTION

Last revision 01/17/2020

What are the objectives of the Senate webpage?

The Senate webpage is the result of a process of technological renewal and organisational culture inspired by the Senate's principle of openness to citizens.

The Senate's webpage has improved on the design, browsing structure and the way in which information is presented about its activity, composition and functions. It also incorporates new contents and tools to make effective the principles of transparency, accountability and participation, moving further along a pathway already initiated with the first version which entered into effect in 1997, offering reliable, exhaustive and up-to-date information.

In order to respond to the new demands of transparency, the new webpage not only offers high quality information, presented in an understandable, intuitive and accessible way; it also facilitates the reusing and sharing of public data. A powerful search facility allows users to find information using a free text search box.

To facilitate the participation of citizens, there are communication channels with Senators, Parliamentary Groups, Committees and Parliamentary Administration. Another innovation is the opening of the Senate´s institutional account on the social networks Twitter (@Senadoesp), Instagram (@senadoesp), and Youtube (user/ElSenadoTV), aimed at giving information regarding the House´s activities and maintaining direct contact with the general public and providing a response to their suggestions, queries and information requests.

Who is the webpage aimed at?

The Senate's webpage is aimed at all citizens and uses clear and concise language to make parliamentary activity easier to understand. Browsing the page is intuitive and accessible, offering reliable and accurate information at all times.

Experts in political and legal matters will find extensive information about the Senate's activity, debates surrounding different initiatives and bills, official publications, and the composition of the different Senate bodies, from the historic period between 1834 and 1923, and since 1977.

To make the Senate more open and accessible to children and teenagers, adapted contents have been created as part of the section entitled “The Little Senate", so these users can familiarise themselves with the institution through cartoon strips, games and quizzes.

Can disabled people browse the webpage? What is the level of acces-sibility?

Yes. The webpage has been developed following the guidelines defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to obtain Level AA. We have also developed training to ensure that the introduction of new contents meets the requirements of this level.

However, initially there might be areas or specific contents that do not yet comply with certain aspects of these standards. The Senate is committed to continually improving the levels of accessibility.

What is the level of transparency of the webpage?

The Senate webpage reflects the institution's commitment to transparency. As well as offering reliable and exhaustive information, which allows users to access over one and a half million documents, the webpage is presented in a well-structured way that is easy to understand, making things easy to find. To facilitate access to information, there are electronic and telephone channels to provide assistance.

In addition to contents related to the activity, composition, organisation and functions of the Senate, the webpage publishes information about the following aspects:

  • Economic regime and social protection of Senators, which includes information about the remunerations, allowances and compensation received by members of parliament, their transportation regime, the technological material made available to them, and the subsidies allocated to Parliamentary Groups.
  • Senators' declarations of activities, assets and income.
  • Information required to apply for vacancies and to follow up on selection processes for staff, interns and participants in training seminars.
  • Contracting, through contractor profiles, procedures currently being undertaken and contracts which have already been awarded, with an indication of the procedures used in said contracting, the instruments through which contracts are publicised, the identity of successful tenderers and information regarding time stamps. As a 9 March, 2018, all contract-related procedures must be carried out on the Public Sector Contract Platform. Information regarding contracts prior to that date may be consulted either by viewing it in Contractual Information or by accessing it via the Transparency link.

The Senate is sensitive to growing demands for transparency and, therefore, will gradually incorporate new information onto the webpage.

How can I find information?

The structure of the webpage makes it easy and intuitive to browse from the homepage through the four major sections into which the information is structured: parliamentary activity, composition and organisation, getting to know the Senate and citizen relations. These four sections will always be active through the browser bar at the top. The heading also contains links to the sitemap and links to its contents.

To facilitate access to information, a general search engine has been developed with a search box at the top of the page which is permanently accessible from any section on the website. It enables users to search for any information by typing in free text.

There are also phone lines in the information office and in the units responsible for providing services.

Can the information provided on the website be shared?

Yes. One of the new features introduced on the Senate webpage is that it allows users to share information. Understanding that the institution must be part of the new "online society", the webpage now incorporates the tools required to achieve this. The send and share tabs, which appear on the majority of the website´s pages, enable users to exchange information on social networks such as Twitter or Instagram.

Which languages is the website available in?

The Senate webpage is available in Spanish, as well as the official languages spoken in each Self-Governing Community, and English.

The website can be browsed in the chosen language, although certain contents, such as the information obtained from the Senate databases, will be displayed in Spanish.

On the Senate webpage, you can follow speeches made in the official language of a Self-Governing Community, in accordance with the provisions of the Senate Standing Orders: this is true for the first intervention of the elected Speaker in the constitutional sitting, interventions made in sessions of the General Committee of Self-Governing Communities, and those which take place at Plenary Sittings when debating motions.

The Journal of Sittings for the Plenary Sitting and the General Committee of Self-Governing Communities can also be viewed on the webpage, containing speeches and interventions in the language in which they were given along with their transcription and their translation into Spanish.

Similarly, in the Senate Section of the Official Bulletin of Parliament, all the initiatives and bills presented are published in Spanish as well as in any of the official languages of the Self-Governing Communities.

Can the information provided on the webpage be reused?

In general, the information provided on this webpage is public and may be reused.

The Senate website offers the public a section relating to “Open Data”, with a whole catalogue of varying information in XML format.

Which channels of communication are made available by the webpage?

One of the aims of the new webpage is to facilitate citizen participation. To do that, there are channels made available which allow users to interact with Senators and Parliamentary Groups (e-mail, blogs, social networking sites, personal webpages, etc.) and facilitate contact with Committees and the various units of the Secretariat General.

Users may also link up to the Institution´s Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts, where they can access information on the House´s activities and where any queries and requests for information that they submit will be addressed.

For the purposes of grouping all these channels within the same point of access, the homepage has a "Participate" icon which takes users straight through to the area dedicated to citizen relations.

How to find an initiative or bill?

The webpage has been designed to provide citizens with quick, easy and understandable access to all the activity that goes on within the Senate.

The browsing model allows users to reach the very heart of parliamentary activity, which is the discussion and channelling of different initiatives and bills which are presented in the Senate, through different parts of the website:

  • Directly, from the homepage, you can search the site by entering free text into the search box.
  • You can view which initiatives and bills are being debated and which have already been debated on the homepage as well as the side-bar menu through the "News" section.
  • The Agendas of the different Plenary Sittings contain information about each of the matters discussed, as well as speakers, videos, journals of sittings, the results of any ballots held and approved texts and wording. You can also find links to full information about each initiative or bill.
  • Each Committee has a similar local browsing system to the one used to access the activity of the Plenary Sitting, where you can view all the bills and initiatives which are currently being debated or which have already been debated.
  • The details provided for each of the Senators contain a tab dedicated to their parliamentary activity, where you can view all the initiatives and bills they have presented. There is a similar tab in the details for each Parliamentary Group in the Senate, where you can view all the initiatives and bills authored by each Group, as well as by the Senators who are a member of said Group.
  • Finally, there is a specific search engine which allows you to find any initiative or bill which has been or is currently being debated, searching by date, author, or competent body to find out the issues encompassed and type of initiative. The search results provide access to all the information available about the initiative or bill in question.

The details of each initiative or bill are presented in the same format. At the top you will find information identifying the initiative or bill, showing the title and its author, status, type of initiative or bill, dates on which it was presented and classified, the file number, procedure and body responsible for channelling it, and a description of the subject matters it covers. The table also includes a link to "Documents" where you can view all the written documents presented with regard to the initiative, as well as a link to any "Related files" there might be. For bills and initiatives introduced through previous Legislatives, you will also find its archive number.

Below that, you will see the details of its debating and channelling procedure, which varies in complexity depending on the type of initiative or bill involved. These details are presented in chronological order and include links to all texts, publications and videos that exist in relation to each initiative or bill.

Can I find out which initiatives and bills have been presented by each Senator? And by each Parliamentary Group?

The details for each Senator contain a tab dedicated to their Parliamentary Activity, where you can view any initiatives and bills they have presented, with links to the relevant file, the Journal of Sittings and short videos.

There is a similar tab in the details for each Parliamentary Group in the Senate, where you can view all the initiatives and bills authored by each Group, as well as by the Senators who are a member of said Group.

What kind of news information does the webpage provide? Where can I view the latest news?

The homepage has direct access to all the news content.

It occupies a prominent position on the image carousel, associated with an explanation (slider), which communicates the most relevant news items.

Access to the "News" section provides information about the Senate's activity and Parliamentary Administration which might be of interest to citizens, such as Open Days or staff recruitment procedures. There is also direct access to the calendar of activities and the daily diary, which allows you to view the agendas for meetings, as well as a list of bills currently being debated. There are also schedules for live broadcasts and the scheduling for TV Senado.

Which information is provided through the calendar of activities? Is it possible to view the agendas for Plenary Sittings and Committee meetings?

The homepage provides access to an interactive calendar of activities which shows the meetings that have taken place or which have been convened. Plenary Sittings are shaded red and the days which contain information about an activity are underlined. Having selected a day or week, you can view the scheduled time of the meeting, as well as the agendas for Plenary Sittings and meetings of the Committees and Reporting Bodies.

Another way to view the agenda is to click on the "Agenda" button located in the news area of the homepage. Next to each scheduled meeting date, you will see the channel on which it will be broadcast (internet, satellite or fibre optic).

In addition to the general calendar of activities, which shows parliamentary meetings, institutional activity and international activity, the diary of the Speaker of the Senate and press conferences convened, in the different sections of the webpage you can view interactive calendars by type of activity (for the Plenary Sitting, the Permanent Deputation and official publications), and the agendas for the meetings convened (in the "Committees and Reporting Bodies" section”).

How can I follow a live broadcast of a Plenary Sitting? What about a Committee meeting? Can the video clips be saved and sent?

To make it easier to follow Senate activity in real time, a special section has been created, called “The Senate live”.

They can be broadcast over the internet (streaming), with up to four Sittings simultaneously. The broadcast schedule is posted in advance in the "TV Senado Sched-ule” section.

The system allows for video clips to be stored on the user's hard drive in MP4 for-mat.

Once the Sitting is over, you can access the videos by viewing the corresponding Plenary Sitting or Committee meeting, as well as the specific initiative or bill that was debated. This makes it easier to obtain all the information generated around the debate of an initiative since, together with the video, you can access the Journal of Sittings, the results of any ballots held, approved texts and wording, and all the documentation related with the matters discussed.

Finally, the Senate also broadcasts live on Hispasat satellite (frequency 11,972 on Vertical, Fec 3/4, symbol rate 27,500).