Evidence-based Instruments

   

To what extent does the government assess the potential impacts of existing and prepared legal acts (regulatory impact assessments, RIA)?

EUOECD
 
RIA are applied to all new regulations and to existing regulations which are characterized by complex impact paths. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
10
New Zealand
Following its restrictive policy regarding regulation, the National government introduced a guideline in late 2009 with the effect that regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) are systematically undertaken for any policy activity involving options that may result in a paper being submitted to the cabinet and may accordingly lead to draft legislation. This aims at restricting new regulations to those that the government sees as necessary, sensible and robust, while avoiding regulations that are ineffective and costly.
Citations:
Cabinet Office Circular CO (09) 8: Regulatory Impact Analysis Requirements: New Guidance (Wellington: Cabinet Office 2009).
Regulatory Impact Analysis Handbook (Wellington: The Treasury 2013).
New Zealand’s Regulatory Management System: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/regulation/system (accessed November 30, 2015).
9
Finland
Systematic impact assessment is today a routine part of the Finnish legislative drafting process. Regulatory impact assessment activities have comprised, for instance, a series of evaluation reports by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that deal with principles of development policy, partner countries and geographic regions. Furthermore, assessments have investigated the activities of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and an international evaluation of the Finnish national innovation system, commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, has been performed. The general framework for regulatory impact assessments is grounded in a program-management system governing intersectoral policy programs. This framework was initiated in 2007 and is still valid as a guide to impact assessment. An independent Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis was established in December 2015 at the Prime Minister’s Office as part of the Sipiläs government program. The Council is responsible for issuing statements on government proposals and on their regulatory impact assessments. In April 2016, the government appointed the first term of the Council (April 2016 to April 2019). During 2016, the Council considered about twenty draft government proposals. The verdict has not been favorable as regards the overall quality of law-making, as the Council has found impact assessments to have been deficient in a significant proportion of proposals.
Citations:
“Impact Assessment in Legislative Drafting. Guidelines”, Ministry of Justice, Finland. Publication 2008:4;
Auri Pakarinen, Jyrki Tala and Laura Hämynen, “Regulatory Impact Assessment in the Finnish Government’s Proposals in 2009”, National Research Institute of Legal Policy, Research Communications no. 104;
“Better Regulation”, Helsinki, Ministry of Justice, 2014; http://oikeusministerio.fi/en/index/basicprovisions/legis;lation/parempisaantely.html
Prime Minister’s Office, Finland: “Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis”, http://vnk.fi/en/council-of-regulatory-impact-analysis.
Netherlands
In the Netherlands, RIAs are broadly and effectively applied in two fields: environmental impact assessments (EIMs) and administrative burden-reduction assessments (ABRAs).

Environmental impact assessments are legally prescribed for projects (e.g., infrastructure, water management, tourism, rural projects, garbage processing, energy and industry) with foreseeable large environmental impacts. Initiators of such projects are obliged to produce an environmental impact report that specifies the environmental impacts of the intended project and activities and includes major alternatives. Environmental research and multi-criteria analysis are the standard methods used.

The development of a method for ex ante evaluation of intended legislation regarding compliance costs to business and citizens was entrusted in 1998 to an ad hoc, temporary, but independent advisory commission called the Advisory Board on Administrative Burden Reduction (ACTAL). In 2011, some policymakers suggested that ACTAL become a permanent rather than temporary body. The policy philosophy on administrative regulation was at that time already shifting from (always negative) “burden reduction” to (prudentially positive and strategic) “appropriate regulation.” After evaluating its impact, the government decided in 2017 that ACTAL is to be succeeded by a formal advisory body, Adviescollege Toetsing Regeldruk (ATR, Advisory Body on Assessment of Regulatory Burdens).
Citations:
www.actal.nl/over-actal/taken-en-bevoegdheden/ (consulted 26 October 2014)

Milieueffectrapportage (nl.m.wikipedia.org, consulted 26 October 2014)

J. ten Hoppe, Tijd om te kiezen, Column dd. 14 June 2016 (actal.nl, consulted 8 November 2016)

Staatscourant nr. 29814, 29 Mei 2017, Besluit van 17 mei 2017, nr. 2017000809, houdende instelling van het Adviescollege toetsing regeldruk
 
RIA are applied systematically to most new regulations. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
8
Australia
The federal government and the state and territory governments require the preparation of regulation impact statements (RIS) for significant regulatory proposals. An RIS provides a formal assessment of the costs and benefits of a regulatory proposal and alternative options for that proposal, followed by a recommendation supporting the most effective and efficient option. RISs are thus not assessments of the socioeconomic impacts of regulatory proposals, although such impacts are implicitly taken into account as part of the process. More significantly, in recent years, while around 75% to 85% of all Australian government proposals with significant impacts led to the performance of an RIS, this share was lower for proposals with highly significant impacts.

Since many government functions and responsibilities are shared between the federal government and the states, these shared activities are coordinated through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), which is the body that brings the federal and state governments together to decide policy. The procedures for the preparation of RIS proposals differ between the federal government and the COAG. Most states and territories have their own requirements for RISs that apply where a regulation will have effect in only a single state or territory. At the federal level, RISs are managed by the Office of Best Practice Regulation, which is part of the Department of Finance and Deregulation.
Citations:
Productivity Commission, ‘Regulatory Impact Analysis: Benchmarking,’ Research Report, November 2012: http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/120675/ria-benchmarking.pdf

http://www.oecd.org/publications/oecd-regulatory-policy-outlook-2015-9789264238770-en.htm

https://www.pmc.gov.au/regulation/developing-regulation-impact-statement
Austria
Under the federal budget law, the government and its ministries are obliged to assess the impact of legislative proposals with respect to the public budget and on the basis of financial, economic, environmental, consumer-protection and employment issues. In addition, in order to avoid overregulation, the government’s legislative proposals must be assessed regarding their regulatory impact. Other detailed regulatory impact assessment (RIA) requirements exist in further decrees.

The results of RIA studies are published in the preface to each legislative proposal. In Austria, RIA is a very recently established, but nonetheless a rapidly evolving tool for legislators and parliamentarians. With the 2013 reform, RIA can now be considered an important component of the country’s legislative process. But, the impact of the new coalition government, following the elections of October 2017, cannot be predicted.
Chile
All newly proposed laws must be accompanied by a report summarizing their predicted fiscal impact and the financial implications for the government budget. This report is always prepared by the fiscal department of the corresponding ministry. Chile also has a constitutional restriction on policy proposals that imply budget changes. Legally, there is no obligation to present a report concerning potential socioeconomic impacts that do not implicate the state budgets, but political practice shows that those aspects are normally also considered. Furthermore, there are supervisory bodies (Superintendencias) that monitor enterprises within specific sectors and produce evaluations and reports. In a strictly legal sense, these supervisory bodies do not have the specific objective of evaluating the impact of new regulations or proposed modifications to the legal framework. Nevertheless, the evaluation of possible impacts tends to be one result of their work. The following supervisory bodies exist in Chile:

• Supervisory Board for Health (Superintendencia de Salud)
• Supervisory Board for Banks and Financial Institutions (Superintendencia de Bancos e Instituciones Financieras)
• Supervisory Board for Securities and Insurance (Superintendencia de Valores y Seguros)
• Supervisory Board for Education (Superintendencia de Educación)
• Supervisory Board for Health Services (Superintendencia de Servicios Sanitarios)
• Supervisory Board for Electricity and Fuels (Superintendencia de Electricidad y Combustibles)
• Supervisory Board for Social Security (Superintendencia de Seguridad Social)
• Supervisory Board for Pensions (Superintendencia de Pensiones)
• Supervisory Board for Casinos (Superintendencia de Casinos de Juegos)
• Supervisory Board for Bankruptcy (Superintendencia de Quiebras)
• Supervisory Board for the Environment (Superintendencia del Medio Ambiente)

In some areas, the line ministries serve as the oversight body for this type of review.
Citations:
OECD (2016), Regulatory Policy in Chile: Government Capacity to Ensure High-Quality Regulation, OECD
Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264254596-en
Czech Rep.
According to the government legislative rules and partly based on the implementation of EU law, regulatory impact assessments (RIA) are in principle applied to all generally binding regulations prepared by the ministries and other central administrative authorities. However, constitutional amendments and transpositions of EU law that do not go beyond EU requirements are exempt from RIA, and the government can exempt further legislation upon recommendation by the Working Committee of the Legislative Council for RIA, an interministerial body, or the chairman of the Government Legislative Council. There is a common RIA methodology, which has been refined over time. The committee checks the completeness and accuracy of the impact assessment of the legislative proposals submitted to the government in accordance with government-approved guidelines for RIA.
Denmark
For all proposed legislation and administrative regulations there is an explicit requirement for impact assessments to determine economic consequences for state and local governments, administrative consequences, effects on business and environmental impact. The relation to EU legislation must also be assessed.

Thinking about consequences starts during the initial consideration of a new law or regulation (screening stage) and continues while the content and degree of new measures are considered (scoping stage). A detailed RIA is then worked out during the final stage (assessment stage).

Hence, RIAs have become a required part of Danish policy formulation. The extent to which existing regulations are regularly assessed depends on the regulation in question and the feedback the administrative agency gets.

When new legislation is based on EU legislation the impact assessment will be included in the document (samlenotat) that goes to the European Affairs Committee in the parliament. According to a rough estimate, about 40% of new Danish legislation is based on or related to EU regulations.

In recent years, studies have focused more on analyzing the effectiveness of policy initiatives in, for example, labor market and social policies. To assess labor market policies there has even been some experimental studies (e.g., in relation to activation programs).
Citations:
Prime Minister’s Office (Statsministeriet), Cirkulære om bemærkninger til lovforslag og andre regeringsforslag og fremgangsmåden ved udarbejdelse af lovforslag, redegørelser, administrative forskrifter m.v., No. 159, 16. september 1998, https://www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0900.aspx?s21=cirkul%C3%A6re+om+bem%C3%A6rkninger+til+lovforslag+og+andre+regeringsforslag+og+fremgangsm%C3%A5den&s19=159&s20=1998&s22=|10|&s113=0 (accessed 20 April 2013).

Ministry of Finance, Vejledning on konsekvensanalyser, Maj 2005, http://www.lovprocesguide.dk/sw2104.asp (accessed 20 April 2013).

Ministry of Finance, “Ny EU-regulerings økonomiske konsekvenser for den offentlige sektor,” http://www.fm.dk/publikationer/2004/budgetredegoerelse-2004/7-ny-eu_regulerings-oekonomiske-konsekvenser-for-den-offentlige-sektor/ (Accessed 2 May 2013).

Maibom, J., M. Svarer and M. Rosholm, 2014, Can active labor market policies combat youth unemployment, Nordic Economic Policy Review, 215-262.
Estonia
The development and monitoring of regulatory impact assessments (RIA) is shared between the Ministry of Justice and the GO’s Strategy Unit, with the latter taking a leading role with regard to EU-related issues during the 2014 – 2020 period. Formal RIA procedures are quite well established, with all relevant normative acts, manuals and guidelines accessible on a dedicated website.

Since 2014, RIA has been mandatory for all categories of legal acts. A major breakthrough should be achieved with the help of EU structural assistance over the 2014-2020 period. Various training, development and implementation measures focused on RIA procedures are foreseen; the number of assessments performed is expected to increase tenfold by 2020. Yet, progress has been very modest thus far and lack of human resources is one of the major obstacles to meet the target.
Germany
In 2000, revised rules of procedure for the federal ministries (Gemeinsame Geschäftsordnung der Bundesministerien, GGO) came into effect, requiring an impact assessment (Gesetzesfolgenabschätzung, GFA) for every draft law. Thus, regulatory impact assessments are institutionally anchored in Germany. The GFA process analyzes both intended and unintended effects of draft laws and potential alternatives.

The government’s 2006 Bureaucracy Reduction and Better Regulation program created a number of new policies relevant to the assessment process. It established the National Regulatory Control Council (Normenkontrollrat, NKR) as an independent watchdog and advisory body tasked with assessing new legislation. It adopted the Standard Cost Model as a tool for measuring bureaucratic costs. Finally, it institutionalized the bureaucracy reduction process by creating a coordination unit within the cabinet office and setting up a committee at the ministerial undersecretary level. However, the NRK only concentrates on potential bureaucratic costs, and not on impacts of laws foreseen through the evaluation process. In addition, about 30% of laws – specifically, those which are initiated by parliament – are not reviewed under the NKR. A separate program is in place for environmental impact assessment.
Japan
The basic framework for policy evaluation in Japan is the Government Policy Evaluations Act of 2001.

The process is administered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC, Administrative Evaluation Bureau), while the ministries are charged with doing their own analyses, which has led some to question the impartiality of the procedure. However, a number of evaluations in strategically important fields have been undertaken by the Ministry of the Interior itself. In 2010, the ministry took over responsibility for policy evaluations of special measures concerning taxation as well as impact analyses of regulations dealing with competition issues.

The Ministry of Finance also performs a Budget Execution Review of selected issues, and the Board of Audit engages in financial audits of government accounts.

Between 2008 and 2016, Japan engaged in six government-expenditure reviews. This is above the OECD average for such processes, though the scope of these reviews was unclear.

The fragmented nature of such assessments seems to indicate potentially low levels of reliability and effectiveness. Indeed, it is difficult to point to a major policy arena in which these endeavors have led to major improvements.
Citations:
Miki Matsuura, Joanna Watkins, William Dorotinsky: Overview of Public Sector Performance Assessment Processes in Japan, GET Note: Japanese Public Sector Assessment Processes, August 2010, World Bank

OECD, Government at a Glance 2017 Country Fact Sheet Japan
Latvia
The government decision-making process requires every draft act of legislation to undergo an assessment, which takes the form of an annotated report. This annotation accompanies the draft through the review process to the cabinet. The annotation addresses budgetary impact, impact on particular target groups and the cost of implementation. In practice, the quality of annotations varies widely depending on the approach taken by the drafters, which range from a detailed, evidence-based analysis to a simple pro forma summary of intent. Minimum standards for annotations are not enforced.

In 2013, the government office made revisions to the annotation requirement. The new annotation form requires a justification for introducing new regulations, an assessment of compliance costs for citizens and businesses, and an assessment of public health effects. The revised regulations also seek, through the introduction of so-called green papers, to improve stakeholder involvement in the early stages of drafting. The green papers ensure that relevant information and discussion documents are publicly available at an early stage of the policy-development process. The State Chancellery monitors the quality of annotations and the use of the green papers. The Chancellery has delayed several policies due to inadequacies in the annotations or the green-paper process.
Mexico
Regulatory impact assessment (RIA) was introduced in Mexico in 1997. In 2000, RIA was implemented broadly through reform of the Federal Administrative Procedure Law. Thus, RIA in Mexico is established by law, and not by presidential or prime ministerial degree as in some other OECD countries. There is a government agency belonging to the Ministry of Economy, the Federal Commission for Regulatory Improvement (Comisión Federal de Mejora Regulatoria, COFEMER), which is responsible for performing impact assessments on new proposals if they generate compliance costs. COFEMER spot-checks existing regulations, but does not assess them systematically. Nevertheless, despite some limitations, it has been quite active since it was established at the beginning of Fox’s term in 2000, and its reputation in Mexico is good. However, opinions issued by COFEMER are not binding on other agencies and ministries. The majority of Mexico’s 32 states have also adopted RIAs for subnational regulatory projects and there are efforts to expand this further. Overall, RIA could be strengthened by involving stakeholders early on in the process.

Beyond RIA, evidence-based evaluations of several Mexican public policies in the social sector have gained international recognition and have had significant spillover effects to the international evaluation community. This is especially true for social policies, where rigorous impact assessments based on experimental and quasi-experimental analyses of education, health, and nutrition programs (Programa de Educación, Salud y Alimentación, PROGRESA) can be perceived as an international showcase on how to evaluate large-scale social programs. In this area, the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL) is responsible for carrying out rigorous impact evaluations in large social-sector programs. CONEVAL is an autonomous and independent agency created by the 2007 General Law on Social Development (Ley General de Desarrollo Social).
Norway
Norway introduced a system of regulatory impact assessment (RIA) in 1985, and revised it in 1995. The ministers and the government are responsible for providing comprehensive assessments of the potential budgetary, environmental, health and human-rights effects of their proposals. Consequences are to be quantified to the extent possible, including by means of a thorough, realistic socioeconomic analysis. A set of codified guidelines (the Instructions for Official Studies and Reports) governs the production of RIAs. However, the ministry in charge has some discretion to decide when a RIA should be conducted. There is no formal rule establishing when a full RIA must be produced, and when a less detailed assessment is sufficient.

If performed, RIAs are included as a separate section in the ad hoc reports commissioned from experts or broader committees, as well as in white papers and final bills. There is no central body in the government administration that conducts quality control on RIAs, although each department has issued guidelines on how RIAs should be conducted. An interministerial panel on economic impact assessments was established in 2005, bringing together RIA experts from various ministries; this continues to have an advisory function with respect to improving the quality of RIAs. The parliament may send back a proposal if it regards the attached RIA as unsatisfactory. This has actually occurred in a number of cases.
South Korea
There were no changes in regulatory impact assessment (RIA) policy in the period under review. RIA has been mandatory for all new regulations since 2005 and is applied to older regulations if they are strengthened in any way. RIAs assess proposals’ socioeconomic impacts and provide cost-benefit analyses. However, there is still a broad gray zone enabling regulatory organizations to decide in a discretionary fashion. The real RIA implementation process is neither transparent nor predictable, and indeed varies depending on the case. RIA has typically been no more than formally applied in policy areas that are a political focus of the serving president. The Lee government’s Four Canal Project and energy diplomacy, as well as ODA allocation under the Park administration’s New Village Movement, are typical cases showing how RIA can be sidelined by the president’s political interests.

South Korea has undergone a third OECD regulatory reform review, with previous evaluations taken in 2000 and 2007. The 2015 report indicated that Korea was performing slightly above the OECD average with regard to regulatory impact assessment. However, the report also said there was still room for improvement, including in the area of the “quality of these practices and by extending these practices to the entire regulatory system.” The review also stressed the need for Korea to establish a clear strategy for regulatory policy in order to make better use of its deployed resources.
Citations:
OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2015, Country profile Korea, www.oecd.org/publications/oecd-regulatory-policy-outlook-2015-9789264238770-en.htm
Korea Herald. Analytic tools crucial in improving regulatory practices: US adviser. October 13, 2017. http://khnews.kheraldm.com/view.php?ud=20171013000737&md=20171016003056_BL
Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Korea to the OECD. Korea’s Regulatory Policy Evaluated in New OECD Book. May 31, 2017.
http://oecd.mofa.go.kr/english/eu/oecd/korea/new/index.jsp?sp=/webmodule/htsboard/template/read/new_legengreadboard.jsp%3FtypeID=16%26boarded=12385%26seqno=753074%26tableName=TYPE_ENGLEGATIO
Switzerland
There is no formal institution responsible for ex-ante impact assessment in Switzerland. Article 170 of the constitution states that “(t)he federal parliament shall ensure that the efficacy of measures taken by the confederation is evaluated.” In some ministries such as the Department of Economic Affairs, individual units occasionally perform ex-ante impact assessments. Furthermore, ex-ante evaluations by the administration always include checks for consistency with existing law (performed by the Department of Justice), compatibility with EU regulations, and if necessary, analyze budget implications, probable administrative costs and personnel requirements. Ex-post evaluations have also been strongly developed; however, it is unclear whether the results of these analyses have any substantial effect on implementation.

In a recent study, the authors argue that “the meager impact and success of the RIA is due to its institutional context, namely Swiss semi-direct referendum democracy. Direct democratic involvement and the division of power in the course of consensual government are both great barriers for effective policy appraisal” (Sager/Rissi 2011).

Beyond these processes, functional equivalents of impact assessments do exist. First, expert commissions that draft or suggest laws also evaluate alternatives, while examining the potential impacts, benefits and problems associated with proposed solutions. Second, and probably more important, is the so-called consultation procedure derived from Article 147 of the constitution. This article stipulates that “the cantons, the political parties and the interested circles shall be heard in the course of the preparation of important legislation and other projects of substantial impact, and on important international treaties.” As a consequence, all those who are affected by a planned law have a constitutional right to give their opinion as to its pros and cons.
From a comparative perspective, Switzerland was a relative latecomer to performance-management policies, as were Germany and Austria. It was only in 2011 that the federal administration decided to implement some form of performance management on a consistent basis.

In 2016, a report by the Federal Audit Office criticized RIA praxis in Switzerland arguing that it did not fully comply with the formal requirements for RIA (EFK 2016). This critique led to a political debate about whether the Federal Administration had deliberately misinformed the parliament. In the course of this debate, the widespread neglect of RIA by politicians was largely ignored (Sager 2017).
Citations:
EFK [Eidgenössische Finanzkontrolle] (2016). Prognosen in den Botschaften des Bundesrates, Evaluation der prospektiven Folgenabschätzungen von Gesetzesentwürfen, Bern.

Fritz Sager/Christof Rissi 2013: The limited scope of policy appraisal in the context of referendum democracy – the case of regulatory impact assessment in Switzerland, Evaluation: The International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 17(2): 151-164.

Fritz Sager (2017). „Regulierungsfolgenabschätzung (RFA): Prognosen und Kompromisse“, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 14. Februar 2017, S. 9.
UK
The reduction of regulation costs has been a long-standing policy goal of successive governments. Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs) have to be prepared for all legislation, which affects businesses, charities and voluntary bodies, to assess the benefits and burdens of the planned measure. Academic research has questioned the value of these assessments since their results are not systematically integrated into the decision-making process, but they are certainly applied. The threshold for conducting a full RIA has been raised from effects exceeding £1 million to £5 million, but this is expected only to reduce the number of RIAs by 7%. RIAs are flowed up after five years to verify their findings, with independent oversight.

While this is good overall practice, it has not yet been followed in the assessment of Brexit. Although Brexit Secretary David Davies stated repeatedly that the government has assessed the impact of different possible models of Brexit, though not with a formal RIA, the results of these assessments remain unpublished.
Citations:
Dunlop, Claire A. et al. 2012: The many uses of regulatory impact assessment: A meta- analysis of EU and UK cases, in: Regulation & Governance Vol. 6 23-45.
7
Canada
Canada’s assessment of the potential socioeconomic impact of draft laws is somewhat irregular, as regulatory impact assessments (RIA) are performed randomly, except in areas such as environmental projects where they are required by statute, or in cases when the Treasury Board’s authority and approval are required, as is true of regulatory measures and government projects. In particular, the Treasury Board regulatory development process requires the submission of a regulatory impact analysis statement (RIAS) before the any regulation is drafted. The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) of Canada is formally charged with so-called performance audits, which aim to provide an independent, objective and systematic assessment of whether government programs are being run with due regard for economy, efficiency and environmental impact. The OAG has considerable discretion regarding which programs it will examine, and takes requests from parliamentary committees, members of parliament, citizens, civic groups and other parties to conduct audits in specific areas. It conducts between 25 and 30 performance audits each year, and publishes the results in reports.

Although the Liberals promised to strengthen evidence-based policymaking, a rigorous evaluation of proposed policies has frequently been undermined by a lack of data or budget cutbacks. In collaboration with the federal government and the University of Ottawa, Mitacs (a national, not-for-profit research and training organization) recently established the Canadian Science Policy Fellowship, which matches academics with various government departments for a year-long term, so that government departments can consult academic experts.

The Liberal government also pledged to make Statistics Canada fully independent. However, the chief statistician of Statistics Canada resigned in 2016, citing concerns that the required usage of centralized information technology services across all federal agencies compromised Statistics Canada’s ability to fulfill its mandate. Bill C-36, introduced in 2017, is intended to strengthen the independence of Statistics Canada, but does not address the use of Shared Services Canada.
Citations:
Parliament of Canada, Bill C-36: An Act to Amend the Statistics Act, posted at http://www.parl.ca/Content/Bills/421/Government/C-36/C-36_3/C-36_3.PDF
Iceland
Iceland had no history of conducting regulatory impact assessments until March 2016 when new regulations on cabinet procedures were enacted (Reglur um starfshætti ríkisstjórnar). Paragraph 13 concerns impact assessment of cabinet bills. Every minister shall evaluate the impact, including financial impact, of every bill he intends to submit to the parliament. This impact assessment shall be a part of the explanatory statement with the bill. However, the methodology for these impact assessments is not defined further in the regulations.
Citations:
Reglur um starfshætti ríkisstjórnar. Nr. 292/2016 18. mars 2016.
Lithuania
Although the production of impact assessments for draft government decisions became mandatory in 2003, high-profile regulatory initiatives are in most cases not in fact subject to in-depth assessment. Seeking to improve the relevance and quality of impact assessments, a review of the impact assessment system was conducted under the Kubilius government. Meanwhile, the Butkevičius government decided to focus the system on high-priority regulatory decisions. The Skvernelis government confirmed the need to apply rigorous impact-assessment methods (e.g., cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness analyses) and suggested the establishment of a competence center for evidence-based policymaking.

However, the OECD has argued that impact assessment in Lithuania remains a largely formal exercise intended to justify choices already made (with a strong preference for the regulatory option). And indeed, no high-profile decision involving the selection of the best identified alternative has yet been made following an RIA process. Since 2013, the Government Office has prepared an annual priority list of legislative initiatives that need to be assessed in greater depth (14 initiatives in 2013 and 26 initiatives in 2014). However, the number of such initiatives is rather small compared to the 300 or so draft laws contained in the Annual Legislative Program. More significantly, this too remains a purely formal exercise, detached from actual decision-making. The principle of proportionality, under which important legislative initiatives with broad possible effects would be given more detailed impact assessments, is often ignored. Consequently, this instrument is generally disregarded by ministers and members of parliament. To improve the situation, it was recommended that all the major political parties agree to a memorandum of understanding.

The Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, the largest parliamentary party, pledged to conduct cost-benefits analyzes for new initiatives. The same provision was repeated in the new coalition government’s program. According to its action plan, the Government Office intends to create a center for evidence-based policymaking, which will conduct cost-benefit analysis on strategic issues and other systemic evaluations. It remains to be seen whether this commitment will be implemented.
Citations:
OECD, Regulatory Policy in Lithuania: Focusing on the Delivery Side, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2015 http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance/regulatory-policy-in-lithuania_9789264239340-en.
Sweden
The purpose of regulatory impact analysis (RIA) is to assess the degree to which regulation has negative and/or unintended consequences for the targets of regulation. More broadly, RIA is nowadays used to avoid increasing regulatory burdens on private businesses. RIAs are also used to examine which regulatory framework could be simplified or abolished.

Sweden, according to an evaluation, has had “rather modest” results from RIAs. Simplifying rules pertaining to private businesses has been an important part of economic development policy over the past several years, but RIAs as a specific model of analysis do not seem to be used systematically and over a broad range of issues.
Citations:
Erlandsson, M. (2010), Regelförenkling genom konsekvensutredningar (Stockholm: Sieps).
6
Croatia
The EU accession process has accelerated the development of RIA in Croatia. In July 2011, the Kosor government adopted an RIA bill and re-established the Government Office for Coordination of the Regulatory Impact Assessment System that had been abolished in July 2009 as a reaction to populist critique. In accordance with the RIA Action Plan for 2013 – 2015, the office became a department of the government’s Legislation Office, and RIA implementation coordinators were appointed in all ministries. Since 2012, all government bodies have been obliged to prepare annual regulatory plans specifying which of their planned regulations should undergo a RIA. However, these and other obligations have been only selectively met. RIA results do not feature prominently in cabinet sessions.
Citations:
Petak, Z. (2015): Evidence-Based Policy Making and the Implementation of Regulatory Impact Assessment in Croatia, in: Management and Business Administration: Central Europe 23(2): 147-162.
Cyprus
As part of a better regulation project begun in 2007, a RIA is required for every new policy measure. After years of hesitation that limited RIAs to a simple questionnaire, a robust tool was adopted in 2016. This change included training to enable government employees to efficiently implement the new assessment. Since January 2017, RIAs are applied rather systematically. An annual evaluation report will be submitted to the Council of Ministers.

Before the 2016 reforms, the method used to assess the impact of policies consisted simply of line ministries seeking the views of other ministries and listening to the views of stakeholders during parliamentary committee discussions.
Citations:
1. Better Regulation 2nd Progress Report, September 2017 [in Greek], https://issuu.com/presidency-reform-cyprus/docs/2
Italy
RIAs are in principle required from all ministries and local authorities (under laws 50/1999 and 246/2005). At the national level, RIAs fall under the responsibility of the ministries. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is responsible for the review and quality control of the whole RIA processes as well as for the coordination of activities associated with a RIA. The Department for Juridical and Legislative Affairs of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers is responsible for the elaboration of RIA methodology. Annual reports are submitted to parliament.

Following reforms adopted by previous governments, the current RIA framework prohibits any discussion by the Council of Ministers of a proposal that lacks a RIA. It is, however, questionable whether sufficient resources are available to implement RIAs effectively. While in the past these rules were not always applied, things have gradually changed and now most normative acts are accompanied by a RIA. The 2016 government report to parliament documents this increase, which is also due to the growing pressure of EU rules. The quality of RIAs is, however, still far from homogeneous and qualified observers have found that while RIAs conducted by independent authorities are in general more sound, those of ministerial departments continue to be rather formalistic (Osservatorio air 2014). From 15 December 2017, a new RIA regulation takes effect which should be more comprehensive.
Citations:
Maria Francesca Rocchetti: Impact Assessment in Italy: State of the Art and Patterns of Regulatory Reform: http://regulatoryreform.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Rocchetti-Impact-Assessment-in-Italy-Sept-2014.pdf
http://presidenza.governo.it/DAGL/uff_studi/AIR.html
http://presidenza.governo.it/Sito2015-Presidenza/DAGL/uff_studi/Relazione_2016.pdf
http://www.osservatorioair.it/lair-e-gli-altri-strumenti-per-la-qualita-della-regolazione-nellannuario-2014/
http://www.osservatorioair.it/l%E2%80%99air-nelle-autorita-indipendenti-il-nuovo-libro-a-cura-dell%E2%80%99osservatorio-air/
http://www.osservatorioair.it/in-gazzetta-ufficiale-il-nuovo-regolamento-di-disciplina-dellair-della-vir-e-della-consultazione/
Malta
Malta’s policy on regulatory impact assessments (RIA) is not fully developed and the process of filing is also not fully integrated in Maltese policymaking; however, a RIA process does exist, with the cabinet required to approve RIAs for government notices, regulations and by-laws. This process is detailed in the Small Business Act, Chapter 512 in Maltese law. Nonetheless, since the European Union utilizes RIAs as part of all major regulatory projects, the government has had to improve its RIA process; recent reports from the EU confirm steady progress. To ensure detail to the system, an IAF process was introduced. Each ministry is responsible for drawing them up, assisted by their legal office and program implementation policy directorate (a unit found in each ministry). Nonetheless, the attorney general’s office, which also has a legislative unit, does much of the work.
Citations:
OECD (2007), “Regulatory Management Capacities of Member States of the EU that Joined the Union on 1 May
2004: Sustaining Regulatory Management Improvements through a Better Regulation Policy,” Sigma Papers, No. 42, OECD Publishing. https://www.mepa.org.mt/permitting-ea-eiaprocess
Ope rational Program II ‘Empowering People for More Jobs and a Better Quality of Life,’ July 2012, p.28
http://www.bru.gov.mt/wp-co ntent/uploads/2011/01/ESF-4-87-Laun ch-Speech-by-Mr-J-Aquilina.pdf
http://www.bru.gov.mt/administrative-b urdens/
http://gov.mt/en/Government/Gov ernment%20of%20Malta/Ministries%20a nd%20Entities/Pages/OPM-Portfolio.a spx
Romania
RIA-related procedures were introduced in Romania in 2005. At least in theory, legislative proposals cannot enter the legislative process without RIA approval from the Public Policy Unit of the Secretariat General of the Government (GSG). In practice, the use and the quality of RIA is highly uneven, and many RIAs are superficial. Capacity remains a critical obstacle to the effective implementation of RIA procedures and requirements. Further problems have stemmed from the complex division of monitoring and evaluation responsibilities between the GSG and the Prime Minister`s Chancellery.
Slovakia
When RIA was introduced in Slovakia back in 2001, no central unit in charge of RIA was created at the government’s core. In response, the first Fico government introduced a Uniform Methodology of Assessment of Selected Impacts in 2008, which was updated by the Radičová government in 2010. Four ministries are involved in the process (Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family), with the Economic Analysis Division of the Ministry of Economy playing a coordinating role. While these changes have improved the efficiency of RIA, its application still suffers from a high degree of fragmentation. RIA continues to play a marginal role in the third Fico government. Options articulated by the supervising bodies remain non-binding, so that there are no sanctions if RIA is low.
Citations:
Staroňová, K. (2016): ‘Regulatory Impact Assessment in Slovakia: Performance and Procedural Reform, in: Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 34(3): 214-227.

Staronova, K., Hejzlarová, E., Hondliková, K. (2017): Making Regulatory Impact Assessment Gender-Sensitive: The Case of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in: Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences 51(E): 89-105 (http://rtsa.ro/tras/index.php/tras/article/download/526/515).
Slovenia
In Slovenia, RIA guidelines have largely been copy and pasted from the European Union. The government’s Public Administration Development Strategy 2015-2020 acknowledged the need for improving RIA and has brought some progress. However, oversight has continued to suffer from institutional fragmentation, so that the quality of RIA has been uneven among ministries. When an RIA is applied, it is often limited to a qualitative assessment, and there are no official statistics regarding the implementation of RIA. As fast-track legislation is exempt from RIA, RIAs were not performed for at least a third of all new measures passed in the period under review.
Citations:
Government of the Republic of Slovenia (2015): Public Administration 2020: Public Administration Development Strategy 2015-2020. Ljubljana (http://www.mju.gov.si/fileadmin/mju.gov.si/pageuploads/JAVNA_UPRAVA/Kakovost/Strategija_razvoja_JU_2015-2020/Strategija_razvoja_ANG_final_web.pdf).

OECD (2018): Regulatory Policy in Slovenia: Oversight Matters. Paris.
 
RIA are applied in some cases. There is no common RIA methodology guaranteeing common minimum standards.
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Bulgaria
After marked improvements in the legal framework for RIA in 2016 with respect to both the Council of Ministers and the parliament, 2017 was the first year of the framework’s implementation. An analysis by the Parliamentary Research Center indicated a limited change compared to previous practices. More importantly, the analysis found that compliance with the requirements for RIA continues to be mostly formal. Since this may be due to the very early stage of the framework’s implementation and the corresponding lack of experience, it is still too early to properly assess the effectiveness of the framework.
Citations:
National Center for Parliamentary Research (2017): Analysis of the legislative activity of the 44th National Assembly. First session, April 19 to July 31, 2017. Sofia.
France
The practice of compiling regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) has been followed since 1995, notably under the supervision of the PMO. However, there is still no systematic RIA process with comparable rules and methodologies; this is just one reason why there is an excess of legislation with an insufficient analysis of regulatory impact. There are partial substitutes, however. The finance and budget ministries try to systematically evaluate the fiscal impact of any new measure. This evaluation might be biased, however, as considerations may be exclusively motivated by financial and budgetary concerns. In some ministries (such as industry, agriculture and social affairs) there is also a tradition of analyzing the impact of planned policies. In other sectors, the law might impose these assessments (such as with the environmental and industry ministries, for instance). A legal assessment is systematically practiced by the Conseil d’Etat before the adoption of a regulation or governmental bill. Parliamentary committees also often do an excellent job of regulatory assessment.

However, what is lacking is a systematic cross-examination involving all the main stakeholders. Former President Sarkozy, with the goal of trimming bureaucratic costs, instituted the so-called RGPP (Revue Générale des Politiques Publiques). It has permitted the cutting of around 100,000 positions, but the process has been highly criticized by the opposition and by the unions. President Hollande has decided to move to another type of review (Modernisation de l’Action Publique) but little, aside from a reduction of regions from 22 to 13, has changed so far.

More recently, the government think tank France Stratégie has been charged with the impact evaluation of public policies (i.e., the impact of the Macron law, innovation policy, or subsidies for companies). It also has delivered methodological guidelines for the evaluation of public policies. There is, however, a notable lack of evaluation of new bills under discussion. Macron’s election might constitute a U-turn if his ambitious reform plans are implemented. In line with this strategy, it is planned that parliament should take a much more active role in evaluating past and future policies.
Luxembourg
At the end of the 1990s, Luxembourg launched its first draft for regulatory impact assessments (RIAs), to simplify administrative procedures at both, the national and European levels. Since 2004, the government has systematized the potential impact of legislative proposals by aligning legislative and administrative processes under the responsibility of a competent authority, the Plateforme interministérielle de réforme et de simplification administrative. The so-called Omnibus Bill concerning 11 laws and two regulations was implemented in 2017 to facilitate and speed up planning procedures in 102 municipalities, a transversal approach towards a systematic screening of all administrative procedures. Currently, the government is evaluating the impact of 89 administrative simplification projects.

Since 2009, all draft bills have been required to undergo a regulatory impact assessment. Within eight weeks before adoption of a draft bill, the government has to carry out consultations with stakeholders, considering their expertise and responding to requests. Based on adequate analyses, a draft bill is adapted, completed and submitted to parliament. The impact assessment is necessarily attached to legislation or regulation submitted to the Council of Ministers. Prior to submission, the secretariat of the Council forwards a copy to the interministerial platform, which prepares a formal statement to the Council.

The standard impact evaluation form (a checklist form, or “fiche d’évaluation d’impact”) was revised in 2010 to include gender mainstreaming principles. It enabled a close cooperation with the Ministry for Equal Opportunities. Although regulatory impact assessment programs have been instituted for some years, there is still room for improvement, especially in making such evidence-based instruments more widespread. Further improvements should be implemented through an ex ante verification process on a national and European level.
Citations:
Building an Institutional Framework for Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA): Guidance for Policy Makers. OECD, 2008. www.oecd.org/regreform/regulatory-policy/40984990.pdf. Accessed 30 Dec. 2017.

“Gestion de la qualité sur base du modèle d’auto-évaluation CAF.” Portal de la Fonction publique, www.fonction-publique.public.lu/fr/modernisation-etat/qualite-publique/gestion-qualite-base-caf/. Accessed 30 Dec. 2017.

“Modernisation de l’Etat.” Portal de la Fonction publique, www.fonction-publique.public.lu/fr/modernisation-etat/index.html. Accessed 30 Dec. 2017.

OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2015: Luxembourg. OECD, 2015. www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/Luxembourg-web.pdf. Accessed 30 Dec. 2017.

“Über die Tücken des Bürokratie-Abbaus.“ Luxemburger Wort, 4 Sept. 2017.
www.wort.lu/de/politik/administrative-vereinfachung-ueber-die-tuecken-des-buerokratie-abbaus-599435eda5e74263e13c5cf5. Accessed 30 Dec. 2017.
Spain
The law on the common administrative procedure, passed in October 2015, includes a promising provision (indeed, an entire chapter) devoted to ensuring that lawmaking in the future will take place in accordance with the principles of “smart regulation” and “better regulation.” This development, which is based on OECD recommendations, seeks to guarantee that the administration engages in systematic planning before laws are drafted, while creating a more sophisticated RIA process and producing regulations that are proportional to the political goal and more congruent with other laws. However, though the chances of applying RIAs may be improving in Spain, to date there has been little concern for the quality of legislation (apart from purely formal legalistic issues that are monitored by the Council of State).
Citations:
Ley 39/2015, de 1 de octubre, del Procedimiento Administrativo Común de las Administraciones Públicas.
www.boe.es/diario_boe/tx t.php?id=BOE-A-2015-10565
USA
The U.S. government provides for extensive analysis of major decisions, within both the legislative and executive branches, and for administrative or regulatory decisions as well as legislation. Regulatory impact assessment for agency regulations is supervised by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). For significant regulations, it must approve impact assessments conducted by the agencies as a condition for issuing the regulations. In addition, the Government Accountability Office, which reports to Congress, conducts assessments on an ad hoc basis, mostly in response to requests by Congress. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) conducts analysis of proposed bills, including cost estimates over a 10-year period.

The Congressional Research Service also conducted several notable studies on climate change. The CBO study on health care focused primarily on issues of budgetary impact, but it did touch on many other issues, including coverage. The U.S. government has normally been highly ambitious with respect to the volume and coverage of impact assessment.

However, the Trump administration largely abandoned impact analysis and other professional expertise. Agencies have been under a strong presidential mandate to reduce regulations and reverse decisions taken during the Obama administration. Since the first several months of the Trump presidency, this effort has been aggressively carried out on the basis of minimal analysis. The president also issued an order saying that for every new regulation that an agency adopts, it is required to cancel two existing regulations – a mechanical solution that does not permit analytic influence.
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Hungary
The Orbán government amended the Act on Lawmaking (Act of CXXX of 2010) that included provisions on RIA in sections 17§ and 21§. It established the Government Feasibility Center and assigned it to the Ministry of Justice. In practice, RIA has suffered from sluggish implementation and has been applied almost exclusively in the environmental context and/or in cases where international obligations have demanded it.
Ireland
The 2011 Programme for Government states: “We will require departments to carry out and publish Regulatory Impact Assessments [RIAs] before government decisions are taken.” In principle, RIAs are used by all government departments. In practice, the range of RIAs completed and published is narrow. The last published list of completed RIAs dates from 2009.

In response to parliamentary questions on the topic in July 2012, the prime minister responded: “My department will shortly be consulting departments generally about the question of publication of regulatory impact analyses carried out before government decisions are taken.” Despite the reiteration in the Annual Review of the Programme for Government of the requirement that all departments undertake RIAs for regulatory changes, there is little evidence that these are being undertaken and published.

The cancellation and repayment of water charges paid to Irish Water in 2017 constituted a major failure in the areas of regulatory impact assessment, policy coordination, and government communication with the public.
Citations:
The latest available government documentation relating to RIAs is
http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Publications/Publications_Archive/Publications_2011/Revised_RIA_Guidelines_June_2009.pdf
Parts of the Independent Assessment of ‘The options for water provision’ are available at
http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/Environment/Water/FileDownLoad,29194,en.pdf
Israel
As a part of a regulatory-burden-reduction process, the government approved plans for a regulatory impact assessment model in 2014. However, this became mandatory for all new regulations and regulatory ministries only in 2016 (with several exceptions). In 2016, six RIA reports were published. By the end of the review period in 2017, seven reports had been published. A ministerial committee for regulation has been established, and an annual timeline for RIA has been published. In addition, a Governmental Regulation Website has been launched, providing ministries with a guidebook (tailored for specific ministry requirements) written by the PMO. This represents a major advancement in the government’s policy-design process, although the many exceptions to these requirements mean that significant progress remains to be made.
Citations:
“More about the Regulatory Impact Assessment Program,” PMO website:
http://regulation.gov.il/misgeret

“RIA Guide,” Governmental Regulation Website (Hebrew): http://regulation.pmo.gov.il/RIAguide/Pages/RIA.aspx “Report from the committee for improving regulatory mechanisms in Israel and reviewing interfaces between various regulators in the market,” official report (April 2013). The Protocol of the Economic Affairs Committee – 28.10.2015: http://main.knesset.gov.il/Activity/committees/Economics/Conclusion/coc281015.pdf
Portugal
There has been minimal change in this area with regard to the previous period. RIA instruments are still not utilized. The government’s program includes the goal of “ex ante and ex post evaluation of the impact of structuring legislation, especially that which carries costs for small and medium-sized enterprises.” Documents from the government indicate that it will retain the small and medium-sized enterprise test (“PME test” in Portuguese), as well as the “one-in, one-out” or “Comporta Regulatória” rule designed to compensate citizens or companies for new costs resulting from new legislation, both of which were approved in 2014. While the Costa government is taking steps to implement these measures, notably through its Agency for Administrative Modernization, neither has yet been fully implemented. In March 2017, the government approved a methodology for evaluating the economic impact of government proposals (“custa quanto” measure). This measure was implemented on a trial basis in 2017, with a team of six staff members working on it. The actual effect of this methodology on policy decisions remains unclear.
Citations:
https://www.ama.gov.pt/documents/24077/31275/20160630_AAC_03_SAMA2020Anexo_Global.pdf/55ad0d27-c3fa-441e-ac2b-c824983aead4

https://www.ama.gov.pt/documents/24077/177526/Apresenta%C3%A7%C3%A3o+Ana+Sofia+Figueiredo.pdf/efc0af11-998e-4f69-968e-adfe6bf8199f

João Palma-Ferreira (2017), “Quanto custam as leis às empresas?,” Expresso online – 4/3/2017, available online at: http://expresso.sapo.pt/economia/2017-03-04-Quanto-custam-as-leis-as-empresas-

“SIMPLEX+2016 – Medida «Custa Quanto»” – available online at: http://www.dgae.gov.pt/paginaRegisto.aspx?back=1&id=15058
Turkey
In 2007, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a circular that provided guidance on how to prepare regulatory impact assessments (RIA). Since that time, the completion of a RIA has been required for all new legislation (laws, decrees and other regulatory procedures), excluding issues relating to national security, the draft budget or final accounts (under Article 24 of Regulation 4821 on the Procedure and Principles of Preparing Legislation, 12 December 2005). However, despite regulations adopted to encourage administrative simplification in April 2012, the introduction of RIAs has not improved the quality of government legislation, and RIA processes are only rarely followed.

During the review period, several chambers of industry conducted EU-funded RIA projects. The EU Regulation on the Export and Import of Harmful Chemicals Technical Support Project for Implementation was conducted by several Turkish chambers of industry, including Balıkesir, Kayseri and Kocaeli. The European Union also funded the Technical Assistance for Capacity-Building and Support to the Preparation of a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) for Decoupled Agricultural Support project.
Citations:
Dr. Sibel Güven, Türkiye’de Düzenleyici Etki Analizi (DEA) Uygulamaları Nedenİstenen Düzeyde Değil? TEPAV,
Ankara, Ocak 2011.
Technical Assistance Service for IPPC – Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control in Turkey, Draft Regulatory Impact Assessment, June 2013, http://www.csb.gov.tr/db/ippceng/webmenu/webmenu9986.pdf (accessed 5 November 2014).
Zararlı Kimyasalların İhracatı ve İthalatına İlişkin AB Tüzüğü’nün Uygulanması için Teknik Destek Projesi, http://kosano.org.tr/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/ankt.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
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Greece
In 2006, under a different government, the PMO had issued a prime minister’s circular, requesting that all ministries start RIA in their policy field, but RIA in a systematic way has never actually been implemented. Today, all legislative drafts submitted to the parliament are accompanied by a document that outlines the rationale of the bill. Moreover, the General Accounting Office estimates the cost of the bill for the state budget. Indeed, some regulatory impact assessment for developing regulation is done at ministerial meetings but ex post evaluation of regulations is not done – with specific reports or documents submitted to the parliament and/or available to the public. However, the policy suggestions of Memorandum, OECD and World Bank reports increasingly influence government decisions, regulations and new legislation.
Poland
From 2001 to 2015, Poland established a relatively comprehensive system of regulatory impact assessment (RIA). The PiS government has left this system largely unchanged in formal terms but has not taken RIA seriously. It has bypassed RIA by strongly relying on “fast-track” legislation or on legislative initiatives by members of parliament, and the quality of RIA has been low.
Citations:
OECD (2013): Public Governance Report Poland: Implementing Strategic-State Capacity. Paris, Chap. 3.
 
RIA are not applied or do not exist.
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Belgium
Before making a decision, the government will typically seek the opinions of stakeholders in an attempt to prevent misguided policy action and to ensure some level of societal support. However, there are few formal RIA procedures, and when these do exist, they are generally treated only as a formality. Certainly, they do little to shape decisions, being invoked only at the end of the decision-making process, once decisions have already been reached. Authorities thus typically “fly blind,” with unexpected policy outcomes far from unusual.

For example, with regard to carbon emissions, energy experts recommended making improvements to house insulation in order to reduce energy demand. Instead, the various governments heavily subsidized solar panels, which were politically more appealing. In the absence of a proper RIA, the ex post measure of success was the rate of adoption (subsidy pick up) and volume of green-energy production. It took years for the various operators to admit that the cost overruns were unmanageable, and they ultimately had to freeze subsidies suddenly and partially renege on previous commitments.
Citations:
https://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/Impact-assessment-in-Belgium-June-2015%20fr.pdf (see end)
https://soc.kuleuven.be/web/files/11/72/ICW_wp_2009.pdf
From https://www.law.kuleuven.be/home/algemeen/agenda20152016/doctoraatsverdediging-sven-sobrie :
“In our neighboring countries, it is not unusual for important legal reforms to be preceded by ex ante impact assessments. The OECD, too, has for years been stressing the importance of quantitative ‘Regulatory Impact Assessment’ (RIA). In comparison, the Belgian legislator flies blind, by creating and passing laws based on not much more than gut feeling, modifying them afterwards at best. This should change.”
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