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Congress Connect application of the Council of Europe needs complete overhaul

Tender: Congress Connect project – complete overhaul the application by reviewing all the functionalities and incorporating a technical architecture

Contracting Authority: Council of Europe (CoR), Strasbourg FR

Deadline: 13/3

Summary: The Congress Connect application (formerly known as the Who’s Who) is used for managing the structural organisation of the Congress and organising Congress activities. In addition to dealing with recurring activities (session, committee meetings, keeping track of delegations), this application contains detailed knowledge on:

–              all the members’ mandates and members’ participation in Congress activities in a structured and chronological order

–              the composition of all the Congress delegations

–              the composition of the Congress Bureau

–              the composition of the political groups and committees

The current application is aimed at various communities within the Council of Europe, such as the members of the Congress, the secretaries of the delegations, the ministries of foreign affairs and the Congress secretariat and other departments of the Council of Europe.

The current application was developed around ten years ago and suffers from the following problems:

–              functional rigidity preventing structural changes in the Congress from being applied in a simple way

–              efficiency problems

–              usability problems

When the Congress adopted new rules and procedures, it proved impossible to update the current application.  It is now necessary to upgrade the application to meet the structural needs of the Congress.  In view of these issues, it has been decided to completely overhaul the application by reviewing all the functionalities and incorporating a technical architecture making it the best possible fit for the Council of Europe’s technical ecosystem.

Scope and objectives of the project: From a functional point of view, the Congress Connect application addresses several issues: first of all, the constitution and archiving of retrievable Congress business data (composition of the delegations, the chambers, the committees and the Bureau). These data constitute the structured value of the information. In this connection, the Congress Connect application is a real knowledge base (one that is structured and therefore searchable for statistical purposes). A second key aspect is that it should provide reliable, checked and validated information on the Congress website. Accordingly, the main objective is to have a fast and highly structured application in order to be able to use the information easily.

The second issue is the organisation of the sessions and committee meetings for the secretariat and the administrators. Congress Connect is used to assist the secretariat and the administrators in their organisational work in this respect. To be more precise, it serves as a basis for printing operational documents. Accordingly, the aim is to employ an ergonomic and efficient application to save time on routine work.

 The third issue to be addressed by the Congress Connect application is the need to provide Congress members with a hub application that facilitates their actions by providing online access via a responsive interface to session and other Congress meeting registrations, participation in session debates and access to prepaid tickets. The aim is therefore to have a user-friendly and appealing application to enable members to carry out their tasks with ease.

From the technical point of view, the Congress Connect application has been adapted to provide APIs to other applications that will use them and, conversely, use the APIs of other applications already present in the Council of Europe’s IT set-up.

The project schedule ties in with the renewal of the mandates of the delegations to the Congress. The new application will therefore be required to go beyond the limits of the current application in order to ensure that new operational rules of the Congress can be applied.

The various beneficiaries of the application are, of course, the members as well as any individual who has to register for a Congress activity, organisers, such as the Congress’s administration team and secretariat and, by extension, the developers responsible for interconnecting the applications and, further down the line, visitors to the website who have to be given reliable information.

Out of scope: In the context of Congress Connect, there is a public mobile app: CongressApp. Although this is out of scope, the CongressApp public app must be connected to Congress Connect in order to receive contact data, calendars and events and this information is accessible off-line.

Background: The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is an institution of the Council of Europe, responsible for strengthening local and regional democracy in its 47 member states and assessing the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government. The Congress is made up of two chambers: the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions. It has 324 representatives and 324 substitutes, all appointed for four years, representing over 150,000 local and regional authorities in the Council of Europe’s 47 member states. The Congress’s work is organised with three committees: a Monitoring Committee, a Governance Committee and a Current Affairs Committee.

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