Parliaments make and change laws. They also have a role in checking the implementation of laws and evaluating whether they achieve their intended outcomes. Implementation is complex and does not happen automatically. What is more, parliaments and elected representatives often have little information on what happens after a law is adopted. So, parliaments need mechanisms to effectively monitor the implementation of legislation.
Post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) is the practice of monitoring the implementation and evaluating the impact of laws. The aim is to ensure that laws benefit citizens in the way originally intended by lawmakers. PLS is often carried out by parliamentary committees and is a prominent feature of UK parliamentary democracy. As PLS is recognized as an integral part of the legislative cycle, it is emerging as a new dimension within the legislative and oversight role of parliament.
WFD has helped parliaments around the world pioneer post-legislative scrutiny.
In Nepal, WFD assisted the parliament to examine the implementation of laws used in the country’s response to COVID-19.
In the Western Balkans, WFD has worked with the parliamentary Committees on Human Rights and Gender Equality in initiating PLS in all parliaments of the Western Balkans.
WFD has supported the Committee on Economic Development of the Ukraine Parliament to assess the effectiveness and impact of COVID-19 emergency laws.
PLS features in the vast majority of our programmes, from introducing MPs to the practice to supporting the pilot of PLS inquiries. When it comes to PLS, WFD takes two approaches. The first is an institutional approach to PLS, whereby we focus on strengthening parliament’s capacity for PLS. The second is a thematic approach, focusing on gender-sensitive and climate-proof PLS.
WFD has also developed research and guides to PLS. This includes an annual course on post-legislative scrutiny, organised in cooperation with the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) of the University of London.
What is post-legislative scrutiny (PLS), and how can it serve as an instrument for good governance? Philip Norton and Franklin De Vrieze outline the latest research and evidence on the use and purpose of PLS in the Global Policy Journal.
Franklin De Vrieze - Senior Governance Adviser
Franklin is a democracy and governance expert with extensive experience in post conflict, fragile and transition countries. His areas of expertise are parliamentary strengthening, legislative impact analysis and scrutiny, institution building for anti-corruption and integrity, policy making on combatting illegal finance, and the oversight role of parliaments on public finances and public debt.