The I.Q.Tools project developed an internet-based software designed to support the process of Impact Assessment within the European Commission. This software is designed to provide the necessary information for each step of the impact assessment and help to structure this information in a meaningful way. I.Q. TOOLS provides different functions and resources facilitating the IA process as described in the Impact Assessment Guidelines of the Commission SEC(2005)791, and helps in complying with the different steps laid out therein. I.Q. TOOLS provides resources supporting desk officers to assess the potential intended and unintended impacts of policy initiatives on the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability and the significance of those impacts.All text provided within I.Q. TOOLS is as close as possible to the official documents.
The I.Q. TOOLS software is firstly a tool that supports the collection of information among a group and organises their discussion while providing background information on Impact Assessment, good practices, indicators, data, references, etc. This constitutes Part I of the I.Q. Tool (I for Indicators).
Secondly it is a tool that guides the user through the use of economic models. This constitutes the Part Q of the I.Q. Tool (Q for Quantification). Economic modelling is not relevant or feasible for all aspects of impact assessment. I.Q. TOOLS guides the user to those models that could be useful for the planned IA and provides background information out of a comprehensive model inventory. For certain models that are relevant for the IA, scenarios might be explored by the user.
Impact Assessment within the software will take place in two main phases: set up of an impact assessment and analysis.
Depending on the selection of instruments, policy areas and relevant impact areas, the web pages will be automatically linked to the inventories of I.Q. TOOLS, namely the:
Model Inventory: The user is presented with a list of models that are in principle able to quantify impacts, either in physical or in monetary terms. All models included in this inventory have been funded by the European Commission and have proven their suitability in other documented applications.
Good practices: this inventory contains previous Impact Assessments within the Commission and Country studies on Impact Assessment. For I.Q. TOOLS, the IA from 2003 and 2004 have been reviewed and if an IA has proven to be a good example for a certain phase, a certain impact area, or a policy area, a reference is given.
Impact Inventory: The Guidelines require to think over a number of key questions on the possible impacts of the different policy options. In I.Q. TOOLS, each of those questions is complemented by a brief description, links to background information on the Commission web pages, and data sources (quantitative indicators related to each impact area) from Eurostat, from other European agencies (e.g. EEA), and from international organisations (e.g. OECD).
All inventories can be accessed at any time via the handbook of I.Q. TOOLS. The handbook serves as a book of references for all kinds of questions that may arise during an Impact Assessment.
The software has been renamed to IA Tools and further developed by the European Commission and is now hosted by the Joint Research Centre – Institute for Prospective Technological Studies. It is accessible via http://iatools.jrc.ec.europa.eu/bin/view/IQTool/WebHome.html