The practice of assessing the consequences and impact of laws is called post-legislative scrutiny (PLS). This practice helps us understand any intended or unintended consequences that laws have, as well as whose lives they affect and how. PLS is critical for helping to make sure laws are effective and will make people’s lives better.
This is essential for making progress towards equality.
PLS is mostly something which is done by parliaments as they oversee and check on the work of governments. But the tools of PLS can also be used by citizen groups and civil society organisations (CSOs). Civil society organisations are often directly connected to community members. They are aware of changes in the law and the real impact laws have on the people they are meant to serve.
Civil society groups can use PLS to monitor actions and processes initiated by government. Using the knowledge they gain, they can inform the process and help to promote inclusive change and improve people’s lives.
WFD and Kaleidoscope Trust have produced a guide for civil society explaining what PLS is, why it is important, and how to go about it. The report focuses on LGBTIQ+ organisations and their priorities and the tools it contains are adaptable for civil society organisations working in different contexts, on different issues, and with different capacities.
The research undertaken to produce the guide showed that the environment for civil society needs to be more enabling: they need sustainable funding, technical support, human resources, and research and analytical tools to assist their work. This guide goes some way to helping to fill that gap.
The guide was funded through the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and Kaleidoscope Trust (KT)’s Commonwealth Equality Project (CEP) which ran from October 2020 to March 2021. CEP focused on fighting discrimination against women and girls, LGBTIQ+ people and other intersectionally disadvantaged groups in 16 Commonwealth countries in Africa, the Eastern Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. The programme was funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) through the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF) as part of its Commonwealth Equality Project.