One of the prerequisites for policy impact assessment implementation is a high level of political support for the impact assessment concept and its practical application. In addition, the institutional, social, cultural and legal context of the country should be taken into account. It is necessary to introduce certain procedures such as strategic planning, horizontal and vertical coordination, data collection, consultative mechanisms, monitoring and quality control mechanisms.
1. The impact of assessments implemented and recommendations created on decision-making is directly related to the level of cooperation established with the decision-makers
In accordance with the above-said, the recommendations for the following assessment cycle are as follows:
- The subject and goals of the assessment are to be created in close relation with the decision-makers so as to ensure that certain types of assessments are needed and findings and recommendations of the assessment implemented are in the function of creating new legal resolutions, strategic goals and policies.
- Consultations with decision-makers should be organized on regular basis during assessment creation processes
- When presenting the basic finding and assessments, it is imperative for the decision-makers (Ministries) to take the leading role in organizing wider consultative process with the expert community and other relevant actors
2. The impact of assessments implemented and recommendations created to the decision-making process depends on the political decision and competencies of different actors. For example, the realization of some of the proposed policies concerning education is not dependent only upon the Ministry of Education (e.g. increase of budget expenditures). Some further steps depend on political decisions (Education Development Strategy), while the realization of certain policies depends on the will of huge interest groups (Teachers College Reform) and some of them are a matter of capacities of the Ministry of Education itself (e.g. JISP and education indicators). Similar situation is with the budget and appropriations for the support of agriculture and rural development.
In line with the above-said, the recommendations for the forthcoming assessment cycle are as follows:
- At the initial stage of the process, it is imperative to identify diverse actors and ensure consensus of different interest groups. Furthermore, it is imperative to form the advisory body consisting of representatives form different ministries, donors, civil society and expert community representatives.
- When creating the assessments it is necessary to achieve the closest cooperation with the Ministry of Finance.
3. The impact of assessments implemented and recommendations created on decision making depends on the quality of the very assessments and creating recommendations in line with the specifics of the contexts and capacities in Serbia. The impact is closely related to the credibility and authority of researchers in the society, as well as to their involvement in the political life of the community, more precisely in decision-making processes concerning strategic and legislative policies.
Accordingly, recommendations for the forthcoming assessment cycle are as follows:
- When selecting experts who will be working on assessment creation, it is required firstly to take care of their expert authority and their multi-aspect understanding of life of the community.
- It is necessary to identify the group of researchers possessing diverse expert knowledge in order to perceive analytical and research capacities in the country and to further advance them
Interaction and cooperation between academic and research community, policymakers and practitioners is one of the prerequisites for improvement of the process of responsible policy making and effective facts and data use. On the one hand, it is required that policymakers understand the value of data and be informed on available researches, but on the other hand it is also important that the scientific and research community adequately influence the creation of social changes.
Creation of integrated teams for evidence-based policy making is increasing in EU. These teams consist of: decision-makers, academic community representatives, researchers, practitioners, target groups representatives referred to by the policy. Examples of multidisciplinary and collaborative researches contributing to more complex assessments of problems but also to policy-making, in a manner more tailored to the needs of the citizens and available resources, are increasingly present at the EU level. This approach is of vital importance for the countries on the road to EU membership.
The experiences and lessons learned and resulting from this process made a solid base for the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit to create a framework for a more systematic approach to the process of evidence-based decision-making, as well as to identify the priorities and fields of action for the forthcoming period.
We hope these experiences will also be of help to all other researchers, professional community and decision-makers for a more efficient and effective application of this valuable approach in the forthcoming period.
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