Independent oversight institutions and regulatory agencies play an important role in the governance system of many countries, and specifically in parliamentary democracies. Independent oversight institutions exercise oversight over the democratic functioning and integrity of the executive and state administration, while regulatory agencies conduct a regulatory role over a specific economic sector - though “at arm’s length”, at a certain distance from the government. To ensure a sufficient level of accountability, parliament’s interaction with these independent oversight institutions and regulatory agencies is very relevant. The research project by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) will examine three questions:
- What characteristics determine the scope of the independence and accountability of Independent Oversight Institutions and Regulatory Agencies in a democratic system of governance?
- To what extent is their consistency in the application of the mechanisms of independence and accountability by similar-type institutions across countries?
- How can national parliaments safeguard or strengthen the independence while ensuring the accountability of these independent oversight institutions and regulatory agencies?
This paper proposes one assessment framework to analyse the institutional characteristics and functioning of independent oversight institutions and regulatory agencies and their relationship to parliament