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Evaluation in Italy and around the world

France, Morocco and Nepal have included it in their constitutions, while Anglo-Saxon tradition countries have made it their custom to use it: the evaluation of public policies is currently the most efficient tool available to institutions and citizens for understanding whether laws and regulations have achieved their goals, and if public funds have been spent well.

This is an overview - constantly being updated - of the most significant experiences, on an international level.

35. A new form of participation: public debate over major works

Assessing, together with the citizens, the opportunity of creating new infrastructure. Improving the planning of measures, so as to better meet the requirements of the people. Reducing the unrest that accompanies the opening of construction yards. The laws that regulate the debate on major works in Italy (based on the French model of the débat public) came into force on 24 August 2018.

34. United States. Using evidence in the Congress policymaking process. The BPC report

The decision-making processes and mechanisms of the Congress. The problems in regularly using evidence as the foundations of policy-related decisions. The 19 proposals submitted by the Bipartisan Policy Center (independent think-tank founded in 2007 by members of the Democrats and Republicans) to boost the systematic use of evidence in parliamentary procedures.

33. Italy. AIR in 2017. The Government’s report submitted to Parliament

AIR reports (regulation impact analysis) are on the rise (113, with three exemptions and 22 exclusions). The number of VIR reports (regulation impact verification) is still low (29). ATN reports (regulatory technical analysis) are slightly up (145). The trend confirms that Public Administration offices seldom resort to VIR reports, while a drop in the quantitative data of AIR reports was recorded. The quality of the reports drafted by independent authorities is rising.

32. Italy. The new AIR and VIR regulation

With the approval of the Guide to the analysis and verification of regulation impact, the long updating process of AIR and VIR regulation has come to an end. This paper includes the phases of the reform, the details of the President of the Council of Ministers' directive and the criticalities it aims to solve (and how).

31. Nudging. Thaler’s contribution to economic science

From the criticism of the homo oeconomicus to the theorisation of kind choices: the role of behavioural economy in the analysis and evaluation of public policies. An overview of behavioural sciences' contribution to the enrichment of the economists' tool box.

30. From an open government to an open State. The OECD recommendation for 2017

According to the OECD, this is the new frontier of an open administration: in order to promote transparency, integrity, responsibility and participation, the different branches of power - executive, legislative and judicial - must collaborate with independent administrative authorities on all governing levels, putting synergies to good use and sharing best practices.

29. Italy. Public consultation in 2016 and the novelties for 2017

In 2016, 22 initiatives - seven of which proposed by the ministries (five from the Finance Ministry alone, the most active so far) and 15 by other administrations - were taken. Several problems are yet to be overcome: limited participation, lack of uniformity in the use of tools and channels, insufficient attention given to the disclosing of results. The minister's directive and the opinion of the State Council.

28. Italy. AIR in 2016. The government’s report submitted to Parliament

101 AIR (regulation impact analysis) reports submitted, with 16 cases of exclusion and three of exemption: according to the government, Italy is now aligned to other countries. There has been an increase in the examination of alternative options and of the effects generated, aside from the estimated administrative costs introduced or eliminated. According to the State Council, "AIR reports should not be underestimated, nor be merely considered a formal procedure".

27. Public consultations: the cornerstone of Open Government

What is a government's democratic performance? It is the extent to which decision-making processes match democratic principles. According to the OECD, communication, consultation and public participation are the instruments that ensure the involvement of citizens in inclusive policy making.

26. UNEG. An international network for the consistency of U.N. evaluation

The United Nations' ten golden rules of evaluation: 1) Internationally-shared principles, objectives and goals; 2) Usefulness; 3) Credibility; 4) Independence; 5) Impartiality; 6) Ethics; 7) Transparency; 8) Human Rights and gender equality; 9) Evaluation expertise on a national level; 10) Professionalism.

25. World Bank. Experimentation applied to development evaluation

Seventy years of activity. Over 12,000 development projects. Five different institutions sharing the goal of supporting growth in poor countries. All this was possible even thanks to DIME (Development Impact Evaluation - an evaluation unit established in 2005), which started using experimental methods.

24. The OECD and the 2015 Regulatory Policy Outlook

How can we guarantee an efficient regulation that meets the needs of citizens and enterprises? According to the OECD the governance of the legislative process should be extended to parliaments, regulation bodies and to other bodies operation on sub-national and international levels. Stakeholders should be included from the start and goals should be assessed ex post and more systematically.

23. Mexico. Comprehensive evaluation, measuring and monitoring

A widespread use of impact analyses. A central unit monitoring quality and adequacy of analyses. Strict rules and sanctions. That's how one of the most advanced comparative regulation control systems consolidated over the past 40 years.

22. Republic of South Africa. Ex ante and ongoing work for enforcement

South Africa is one of the emerging economies where the OECD best promoted regulation. Its Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) is currently comparable with those enforced in the most developed countries. Plus, it features original elements, such as a zeroing-in on the enforcement of rules.

21. New Zealand. Evaluation and monitoring of good quality laws

Legislation planning, transparency and information accessibility, widespread consultations, ex ante, ongoing and ex post evaluations. Plus, centralised drafting and pervasive monitoring of the performance. These are the pillars of a good quality regulation in New Zealand.

20. Australia. Regulation is preceded by cost-benefit analyses

The cost-benefit analysis, through the Regulatory Burden Measure (RBM), calculates, for each new law, the burden of administrative costs for enterprises, communities and individuals: notifications, training, permits, procedures and even delays. The difference between costs and benefits allows to roughly estimate, ex ante, the net benefit for the citizens - which is the only result that justifies public intervention.

19. Canada. Analysis and evaluation to support accountability

As in other countries that adopt the common law system (U.S.A, U.K., Australia and New Zealand), Canada has made regulation impact analysis mandatory by law. Its institutional architecture is deemed by the OECD as a best practice. Ex post evaluation ensures the government's accountability for its actions, for the sake of the best net benefit for the citizens.

18. United States. Innovative impact analysis tools fielded

Many institutions involved in policy analysis, a large participation of stakeholders, the relevant role of programming. But the trademark of the U.S. is its search for innovative techniques, from impact analysis experimentation to the use of behavioural sciences, aimed at boosting the efficacy of public policies.

17. United Kingdom. An impressive Better Regulation

"Impressive" is the OECD's judgement - in its latest review - of the Better Regulation policies enforced in the UK. About 150 years of experience in pre-emptive impact analysis and post-legislative evaluation, as well as an accurate assessment of public policies, have made the United Kingdom a benchmark country.

16. Czech Republic. Ex ante and ongoing analyses

The Czech Republic was one of the last OECD countries to introduce impact assessment. Today, the involvement of anyone interested in public polices, the attention given to the impact on specific social groups, the rigorously mandatory consultations when drafting a law, can be considered the assets of the Czech case.

15. Sweden. Ex ante and ex post evaluation in a polycentric model

Legislative and organisational pluralism entails a number of evaluation centres, on different levels. Guidelines are constantly updated. Regulation verification and monitoring are envisaged by the constitution. The Swedish experience is characterised by its systematic attention to impact analysis profiles.

14. Denmark. Simplification and evaluation since the 1980s

Quality reform. Cutting red tape. Improvement of Public Administration performance. Ex ante and ex post analyses. Online public consultations. For 30 years Denmark - a founding member of the SCM Network 1 - has represented an institutional model for process simplification and public policy evaluation.

13. Netherlands. Policies ensuring legislation quality

For 30 years the Netherlands have aimed at cutting regulation costs: it is mandatory to evaluate, ex ante, the costs of the government's entire legislation activities. Evaluation has permeated the entire administrative structure. The SCM (Standard Cost Model) has become an international benchmark.

12. Germany. Monitoring legislation costs: the Nationaler Normenkontrollrat

Renowned lawyers, former managers of large companies, former mayors of large cities or local administrators, former members of parliament, public administration experts form the 10-member NKR. Since 2006 their independence is guaranteed by the mandate irrevocability and by very strict rules concerning incompatibility.

11. Germany. Ex ante and ex post. Evaluation of medium and long-term benefits

In the 1990s the foremost goal was to streamline bureaucracy; in the 2000s it was to measure performance and assess sustainability. Today, modern regulation calls for ex ante and ex post evaluation: the focus is not exclusively on immediate costs and benefits, but also on the medium and long term.

10. Spain. The national reform programme and regulation quality

The role of OPERA (office for the implementation of the administrative reform) deserves a special mention: it can be included among the OECD best practices with reference to the follow-up and monitoring of horizontal policy evaluation.

9. France. Ex ante and ex post. The evaluation set forth by the Constitution

"The parliament passes laws. It controls the government's actions. It evaluates public policies" (article 24 of the constitutional law no. 274 of 2008). Sessions, for a full week every four, are dedicated to "the monitoring of government actions and to the evaluation of public policies".

8. The Better Law-making agreement: evaluating the cost of non-Europe

Improving the quality of law-making through 1) an ex ante evaluation of the impact; 2) public consultation and relevant feedback; 3) an ex post evaluation. Plus, information should be provided, when possible, about the "cost of non-Europe": namely, the cost to be borne if no action is taken on a EU level. These are the goals of the new European inter-institutional agreement of 2016.

7. Impact analysis in the European decision-making process

A specialised inter-services group. An integrated evaluation model (ex ante and ex post) that envisages a list of questions to be answered. Public consultations following the results. The European Commission is the EU institution that, since 2003, has resorted most frequently to regulation impact analyses.

6. Impact evaluation at the service of the European Parliament

Ex ante and ex post evaluation of results: since November 2013, a staff of 200 people processes independent analyses to help European MPs throughout their entire legislative term. The Impact Assessment and European Added Value Directorate is one of the most innovative services offered by the European Parliament.

5. European Union. Better regulations for better results

On 19 May 2015, 52 years after the first Formulary of Community Acts, the European Commission approved the Better Regulations for Better Results agenda, based on three pillars: simplification of rules, reduction of administrative costs, impact analyses.

4. Italy. Open Government, public consultations and III National Action Plan

Public Administration transparency, fighting corruption, participatory democracy: these are the three pillars of Open Government. The Public Function Department (DFP) coordinates Italy's participation in the multilateral partnership initiative and promotes the use of public consultation, whose guidelines it recently adopted.

3. Italy. AIR in 2015. The government’s report submitted to parliament

In 2015 the central administrative offices of the State drafted 140 AIR reports (72 in 2008, 207 in 2010). The report submitted to parliament illustrates a general improvement, the growing effort for promoting the culture of evaluation and the shortfalls of the Italian system.

2. Italy. AIR reports from independent authorities

Some authorities have adopted the regulations but lack a specific structure. Others can boast widespread public consultation practices. Some projects for measuring administrative costs (MOA) have achieved results similar to, or even better than those of State administration offices. For example, Consob and Agcom.

1. Italy. Regulation impact analysis: the set of rules

Introduced in 1999, experimented and modified in 2005 (concurrently with the introduction of VIR), regulated in 2008 and 2013. In Italy, AIR is mandatory for all types of documents, except constitutional bills, laws concerning the internal and external security of the State and the ratification of international treaties.


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