Impact Assessment (IA) aims to support the policy process by informing decision makers, stimulating interdisciplinary cooperation, and supporting early consultation between different administrations and with stakeholders. However, IA may also have undesirable effects on the regulatory process, for example by enabling early lobbying activities, by delaying decisions, or by legitimising decisions that were not open to a public debate. One of the key challenges of IA is that it combines a number of different functions analysis, transparency, participation, and integration between which there may be tensions.
Furthermore, IA encounters particular methodological challenges where new approaches to regulation are concerned. In this context, EVIA evaluates the use of IA procedures. It will be analysed if IA is an effective and efficient approach to committing regulatory units to generic objectives such as the improvement of competitiveness, the integration of environmental concerns or the consideration of social aspects. This includes the analysis of the question of the effect of IA procedures on actual policy decisions. The re-search will explore the institutional factors of successful IA, and which tools and methods have been proven to be useful.
To determine the conditions for successful IA the project will
1) develop a framework to assess the quality of IAs;
2) study different approaches to IA in different countries regarding their institutional, procedural and substantial requirements and the use of tools and methods on different types of regulations; and
3) conduct a survey on a large number of IAs for an empirical validation of the case study results.
As a result, good practices will be identified with regard to institutional procedures (e.g. help desks, manuals, mechanisms of quality control) and to the use of methods and tools for IA in different institutional settings. It will be assessed which approaches are best suited for different types of regulations.
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