Assessment and Government Accountability

Foto Valutazione e controllo parlamentare: differenze e affinità

Evaluating public policies in the contemporary parliamentary system

The analysis and the evaluation of public policies can pursue general goals, such as the correct use of resources and the modernisation of public structures (for example in the United States), administrative streamlining (in Germany, measures constantly aim at cutting red tape-related costs) and cutting public expenditure (in Italy this is still at an embryonic stage, and it supports the most recent spending review plans). In other cases, they might focus on sectorial targets in strategic fields, such as the labour market (in Germany this also encompasses national insurance), poverty and welfare (in France, comprehensive political projects have been drafted but not fully implemented), education (a clear example was to be seen in the U.S., some time ago), health, accounts auditing, inflation.
In any case, for the Parliament, the evaluation of public policies is not limited to quantifying and qualifying one's own activities - proposing as the output of the good lawmaker the statistics concerning the decisions taken, the laws passed, the debates held, the parliament oversight documents submitted, the session hours of the assembly and the committees - it rather means answering a key question: what are the consequences of the decisions taken? What is the nexus between such effects and the tools, the targets, the organisational structures that characterise a policy that the Italian parliament has considered, debated and passed?

* by Federico Silvio Toniato

Deputy Secretary General of the Senate of the Republic


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