Ex-post evaluation in surveyed parliaments

AuthorAnglmayer, Irmgard
Bette r Regulation prac tices in natio nal parliaments
3. Ex-post evaluation in surveyed parliaments
Key finding s
Ex-post evaluation examines how po licies and legislation are implemented and whet her the
initial policy objectives have been a chieved. The evaluation process generates knowledge that
helps policy -makers decide wheth er and in what way the policies/legislation sh ould be revised.
Ideally, the design of the amending initiat ive take s the ev aluation fin dings int o accoun t and thus
closes the policy cy cle.
Policy learning is an important function of evaluations in general this a pplies equ ally for the
executive and the legislative branch. If a parliament takes evaluation findings further and
initia tes ( or aim s to trigger) a policy revis ion, the pa rliamentar y evalu ation relates to par liaments'
legislative function (see Griglio, p. 118, and Bättig/Schwab, pp. 3 ff.)
Another important motivation for parliaments to engage in ex-post evaluation is to hold the
executive accountable for the implementation of policies and legislation. In this respect,
parliamentary ex-post evalu ation falls in th e remit o f the oversight that parliaments exercise over
the e xecutive . Accou nta bility is at least as important for parliaments as policy learning.
The s pectrum of activities par liaments under take in evaluation wor k encompasses active and
passive t ypes of scrutiny. They range from in-de pth s crut iny of g ove rnment ev alu ations to the
undertaking of parliaments' own evaluation reports (or studies). Overall, parliaments are 'n ot big
producers of evaluations' (Jacob/Speer/Furubo, p. 19).
Of the 3 8 surveyed parliam ents, 1 7 (12 EU-27 parliamen ts and 5 thi rd-country parl iaments )
engage in ex-post evaluati on beyon d class ical par liame ntar y scr utiny, alb eit in dif feren t ways
and to gr eatly var ying extent.
Of thes e 17 parl iaments, 1 2 activel y condu ct their own ex-po st evaluations or reviews:
8 EU-27 parlia ments: Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland and
and 4 third-country parliaments: Canada, Moldova, Switzerland and the UK; in the
three latt er cases go vernment follow-up is ma nd ator y.
In some of these twelve parliaments, evaluations have generated a certain degree of
institutionalisation, while others perform them sparingly and ad hoc. A few have set up
dedicated evaluation capacities (within the administrat ion or at the political level), whereas
others rely on parliamentary research services, entrust evaluation activities to standing
committees or control committees, or use a combination of political bodies and administrative
In addition, the parliaments of Austria, Portugal and Spain have mechanisms in place to carry out
evaluation analysis relating mainly to budgetary and economic matters, while Ireland has
developed a framework for in-depth post-enactment scrutiny. Finally, the Albanian and
Montenegrin parliaments have paved the way for evaluations through amendments to th eir
rules of pr ocedure.
A total of 15 parliaments across the EU -27 and 6 of the surveyed th ird-country parli aments
indicat ed that they do not engage in any s pecific ex-post evaluation wor k bey ond class ical
parliamenta ry scrutiny in the fram ework of exercising parliamentary control over the executive.
EPRS | European Parli amentary Re search Service
3.1. Level of engagement in parliamentary ex-post evaluation
Table 3EU-27 par liaments and the Europ ean Parliament: level of engagement in ex-post
no evaluation
beyond classical
commi ttee
sc ru ti ny
evaluation work
(e.g . in-d ept h
sc ru ti ny)
parliaments' own
evaluation work
Aust ria
Belgi um
Croat ia
Czec hia
Denmar k
Estoni a
Ger many
Ital y
Malt a
Nether lands
Polan d
Port ugal
Romani a
Slovak ia
Slove ni a
Europe an Parl iame nt

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