Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

The role of evaluation tools in the decision making process

Decision making is a complex task and requires comprehensive approach, from and interaction between, the stakeholder groups involved. Existing decision making structures are, and have always been, questioned whether they need to be changed and adapted to the changing situation at place, including the economy, the environment, new forms of co-operation between stakeholders groups, but also awareness of these terms.

PETUS identified that different stakeholders had a variety of requirements for decision making framework for urban infrastructure projects:
- Politicians: simple tools and procedures used to give confidence to the people; long term planning component and impact assessment included; ability to view and handle conflict points; support for dialogue and communication; links to relevant stakeholder groups.
- Technicians/administration: cases and tools for reference; support for their work; support for communication between different stakeholder groups.
- Citizens/general public: find the right person to talk to; communicate from a common starting point; gain expertise and information; know their position and options in the decision making process; have new support for lobbying.

PETUS followed a comprehensive or ¿holistic¿ view on the subject of decision making, to help to:
(i) achieve interaction between stakeholders and create understanding for each others situations;
(ii) to make prepositions for new arrangements in negotiation and communication structures;
(iii) to gather information at large prepared for the involved stakeholders.

The development of a decision making framework (dmf) designed to support decision makers in their work and to provide the means for such a ¿holistic¿ approach, became a central task. Work focused on the development and collection of sectors for a decision making framework and the design of a supportive tool for practice use. Decision support tools, that include a matrix and checklist, have been developed as a result, from the findings from the case analysis, from workshops and interviews with end users.

The work in this work package compliments the work undertaken in the development of the framework for practical evaluation tools for urban sustainability. The different information sources of PETUS build the backbone in a double perspective: (i) case studies and tools serving as an information source and (ii) provide support on how to use and fill in the matrix.

Several of the PETUS case studies show that at least parts of their chosen planning and decision making steps comply with standard Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) procedural steps. By following a similar procedure to SEA, PETUS provides an introduction to SEA at a basic level. End users utilising PETUS follow a procedure that can be converted into an SEA as the steps involved are similar. PETUS is therefore considered to be supportive to achieve the various steps in the SEA procedure and not to replace it.

The final result of this work package has been the production of a
(i) matrix; developed to assist the process of increasing sustainability in the decision making process of a project over time. The matrix includes questions relating to the different stages of a project/plan or programmes development and also the different issues that should be considered at the different stages. The matrix is applicable for different stakeholders who are interested or involved in project development.
(ii) checklist; set up to provide a quick and easy to use list of questions that can be considered when attempting to incorporate sustainability into urban infrastructure projects. The sections of the checklist, like the matrix, follow a similar format to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to prevent duplication of work if an SEA is required for a plan, programme or policy.

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