The target of Impact Assessment (IA) is to support the policy-making process by providing information, inter-ministerial consultations and to promote early stakeholder discussions and to encourage more interdisciplinary cooperation.
However, IAs can have adverse effects on the regulation process. This allows, for example, early lobbying activities, delaying decisions or legitimizing those that were not the subject of public debate.
One of the main challenges of IA is that this process is different. In some cases the conflicting functions (analysis, transparency, participation and integration) are combined. Furthermore, IAs make methodological challenges where new approaches to governance are concerned.
In this context, the EVIA project has investigated the use of the IA process. It was analyzed whether IA is an effective and efficient approach to oblige the executive authorities to general goals, such as improving competitiveness, the integration of environmental concerns or the compliance with social aspects.
This involved the analysis of effects of the IA process for current policy decisions. The project has explored both the institutional factors for successful IA and the tools and methods that have proven to be particularly useful.
In order to determine the conditions for successful IAs, the project has:
- developed an evaluation framework on the quality of IAs;
- examined different approaches of IAs in different countries in relation to their institutional, procedural and substantive requirements and explored the use of instruments and methods in different types of regulations;
- carried out the study of a variety of IAs in order to achieve an empirical validation of the case studies.
With the results, appropriate IA practices with regard to institutional mechanisms (i.e., service stations, manuals, quality control procedures, etc.) and in terms of identifying the use of methods and tools in different institutional contexts were found. Furthermore, it was determined that approaches for different types of control would be the most suitable.