The Office of the National Assembly

The Office of the National Assembly supports Parliament organisationally by carrying out operational and administrative tasks as well as preparatory work for decision-making. It provides assistance in the work of Parliament to its officers, its committees and Members of Parliament in respect of particular duties. Moreover, it also operates offices for the groups of the five parliamentary parties, which are staffed in proportion to the number of Members in a group. The Act on the National Assembly also grants permission to employ persons financed by the Office of the National Assembly to aid the Members in their work. The officers of Parliament, committees and parliamentary groups may also employ experts.

Before the regime change, the Office of the National Assembly was largely a bureaucratic organisation performing duties relating to financial and technical operations. There was no need for well trained professionals to assist in the work of Parliament, as the National Assembly enjoyed no policymaking weight and sittings were few and far between. After 1990, the staff of experienced professionals grew gradually to reach the current number; it supports the operation of Parliament and can also carry out the new and growing number of tasks associated with providing support for the legislative process.

Chapter XII of the Act on the National Assembly sets forth the essential duties of the Office, while the provisions of the Rules of Procedure lay down those duties in greater detail. The Speaker directs the Office, establishes its Rules of Organisation and Operation, and appoints and dismisses its management. Since 1 January 2013, a Director General has been in charge of the Office of the National Assembly, relying on deputies for legislation as well as for financial management and operations. The Office of the National Assembly corresponds to the work organisation of Parliament and is thus divided into various organisational units. The new Rules of Organisation and Operation lay down the following units in the organisation: the Office of the Speaker of Parliament, Directorate for Legislation, Directorate for Financial Management and Operations, Directorate for Foreign Affairs, Directorate for Public Collections and Public Education, and Media Office.

The National Assembly employs a wide variety of professionals. Lawyers, administrative managers and economists prepare and organise the legislative efforts, plenary sittings and committee meetings in Parliament. Experts provide support in foreign affairs, public relations and parliamentary media activities, including specialists well versed in international and EU matters and protocol, event planners and media professionals. The Office staff also includes architects to plan and coordinate the jobs relating to maintaining and renovating the particularly valuable Parliament Building, finance experts and IT specialists as well as skilled joiners, upholsterers and tinsmiths who have acquired the fine skills of old-time craftsmen. The Office also employs parliamentary stenographers who regularly win gold medals at world championships. The staff at the renowned Parliamentary Library is also on the Office payroll. But it is the tour guides most visitors see. No wonder since Parliament is Hungary's most frequently visited building.