3. Practice indicators on how parliament effectively performs in PLS

3. Practice indicators on how parliament effectively performs in PLS
Parliamentary and legislative indicators for post-legislative scrutiny
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24 February 2022
Summary

The following indicators analyse how parliament applies the procedures, structures, and resources to effectively conduct PLS, the political interest in doing so, and how parliament assess the quality of PLS reporting and follow-up.

1. Political interest and frequency of PLS inquiries

This indicator aims to capture the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of PLS practice. It aims to record the level of political interest in PLS (for example, interest from Committees, public announcements, or commitments in relation to PLS) but also its frequency (number of PLS inquiries conducted on an annual basis). Reporting under this indicator could include the interest at parliamentary level on PLS, the number of PLS inquiries conducted but also data related to the number of PLS inquiries in relation to new laws etc. This indicator aims to capture the ‘political appetite’ for PLS relative to other priorities that parliamentarians may have (for instance proposals for new legislation, considering budgets, holding government to account for current challenges, etc).

2. Approach and criteria for selecting legislation for PLS

This indicator aims to capture the approach, methods or criteria that are used to determine which pieces of legislation undergo PLS. Reporting under this indicator should refer to whether specific criteria for selecting legislation are in place, the extent to which the selected laws depend on the interests of the members in the related committee. Additional issues to report would be whether the reasons or criteria according to which legislation was selected are reported and the processes followed (for example, voting and decision of the Committee). As changes in society are rarely the result of one single law, the cumulative effect of legislation can be mentioned under the reported approach for selecting legislation for PLS.

3. Practices on defining the scope of PLS

This indicator aims to capture the practice of parliaments in determining and declaring the scope of the PLS inquiry. Reporting under this indicator should include any practice related to how bodies conducting PLS determine the scope, the focus, the questions, the methods of the PLS and the extent to which these are available to the public, whether the scope includes the implementation or the impact of the law (or both), secondary legislation etc. This could include for example Terms of Reference, mandate letters or decisions of parliament’s Bureau that outline the laws to be reviewed and the main questions to be considered during the PLS inquiry.

4. Practices for collecting data and information  

This indicator aims to capture the practice of parliaments for collecting information for PLS purposes. This indicator aims to capture the main mechanisms that are used in practice and work well in a specific context. For example, one parliament might make very common use of public hearings during PLS inquiries but might rarely use calls for written evidence. Reporting under this indicator should not include the available rules or mechanisms but the ways and the extent to which these are used in practice for PLS.

5. Practices of assessing the role of the law’s implementing agency

Each law has an implementing agency, this is an institution or authority responsible for its implementation. It can be an existing institution who is given the additional mandate to ensure implementation of a new piece of legislation, or it can be a newly established institution, created under the new law for the purpose of ensuring its implementation. Reporting under this indicator should assess the mandate and resources of the implementing agency, its role in the actual implementation of the legislation, how it reports on regular basis on the implementation of the legislation, and the way how it is consulted and involved in the PLS process for the legislation under review.

6. Practices to make PLS inquiries participatory and inclusive

This indicator aims to capture the extent to which parliament has established practices to make PLS inquiries inclusive and ensure input/participation/representation by relevant external stakeholders, including marginalized and underserved communities, professional organizations, CSOs, academics, experts, international organizations, judiciary and citizens. Reporting under this indicator should include practices that are used for broader purposes and not only PLS.

7. Practices to make PLS work and outputs widely accessible

This indicator aims to capture established practices through which Committees ensure that information on planned or ongoing PLS inquiries is accessible to a wide range of audiences. Reporting under this indicator should include practices on accessible information-sharing platforms, the use of reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, the use of informative videos, the availability of information in more than one official national languages or in other widely recognized or used languages such as Braille, etc.

8. Practice of processing PLS results

This indicator aims to capture established practices in the ways in which information and findings are processed by the competent bodies conducting PLS. Reporting on this indicator should set out how and by whom the input to the PLS process is processed. For example, whether committee staff or parliamentary researchers and MPs are involved in processing the evidence received, whether external consultants or advisors are mobilised, which research methods are used and whether/how the parliamentary administration provides input on data quality, comparative data, and verification of data.

9. Practices related to the adoption of and the debate on PLS report

This indicator aims to capture practices related to the adoption and the debate on PLS reports. This indicator is not about the existence of rules but on what happens in practice, whether each PLS report is adopted by the relevant committee or review unit and, whether it is approved by a parliament plenary decision or the extent to which is forms the subject of a debate.

10. Transparency of reporting on PLS

This indicator aims to capture practices in relation to the final output/s of PLS. How do committees report on the findings of the PLS? Is this report published? How is it made accessible to the public and interested audiences? For example, under this indicator a parliament could report its practice to compile their findings and recommendations of PLS in a report, to publish it (hard copy, on the parliament’s website or elsewhere) or other ways to make it accessible to the public.

11. Practice of response on PLS findings from the government

This indicator aims to capture practices in relation to the response to PLS by the government. Reporting should include reference to written responses, to commitments, timeliness of the response, etc.

12. Practice of follow up on PLS recommendations

This indicator aims to capture practices to follow up on PLS recommendations and the status of their implementation. Reporting under this indicator should include parliamentary practices on how the competent administrative body or committee responsible for PLS introduces follow up activities on its regular agenda and practices of actual follow up, for example updates published and updated on parliament’s website, practices where the parliament secretariat or the Committee conducting the PLS interact with representatives of the government and other stakeholders, the sending of letters, the invitation to hearings, additional evidence sessions etc. Reporting can also include practices or procedures to ascertain/evaluate the impact of PLS.