Series on Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA): 4-Example of the Practice of IIA in the United Kingdom

This briefing note is the fourth in a series of six focused on the state of the practice of integrated impact assessment (IIA). These documents focus, respectively, on:

  1. Overall situation and clarification of concepts
  2. Example of the practice of IIA at the European Commission
  3. Example of the practice of IIA in France
  4. Example of the practice of IIA in the United Kingdom
  5. Example of the practice of IIA in Northern Ireland
  6. Main challenges and issues tied to IIA

Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) is a decision-support mechanism increasingly being considered by public administrations in industrialized countries. The movement toward the adoption of evidence-based policy has given rise to many forms of impact assessment, reflective of governmental priorities. The need to combine the various impact assessment tools which have multiplied over the years within governments arises from the desire to reduce the administrative burden associated with assessments and to ensure governmental coherence (Achtnicht, Rennings, & Hertin, 2009; Radaelli & Meuwese, 2009).

The integration of impact assessment tools is also relevant to the public health sector. Indeed, at a time when the institutionalization of health impact assessment (HIA) within government apparatus is being promoted as a way to improve the health of Canadians (Keon & Pépin, 2008; Health Council of Canada, 2010; Canadian Nurses Association, 2012), it is essential that this new form of impact assessment be positioned within the context of government decision-making processes.

IIA is a prospective assessment aimed at integrating within a single conceptual framework all the intended and unintended effects (usually on the economy, society and the environment) of a new government intervention. Its goal is to combine the various existing impact assessments within a single procedure.

The series on IIA follows from a study conducted during the summer of 2012 at the request of the Government of Québec, which is exploring this issue. The objective of the study, carried out by the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy (NCCHPP) on behalf of Québec’s Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS – the Ministry of Health and Social Services), was twofold: to examine the current state of the practice of IIA in Western countries, along with key issues, and to gather practical examples.

The research methodology was based on two strategies: reviewing the literature and examining case studies. The review focused on scientific articles and the grey literature. This allowed us to identify government initiatives that could shed light on modes of governance and tools used to conduct IIAs, which could be relevant to the Canadian context. Four government initiatives in particular were examined: those of the European Commission, France, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. For each of these, a literature review and semi-structured interviews (13 in total) were conducted.

This paper describes the case of the United Kingdom, along with its history, objectives, procedures and the tools used. In addition, the evaluation of the practice is discussed. Particular attention is also focused on the manner in which impact assessments with a single focus were included in the integrated analysis.

Series on Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA): 4-Example of the Practice of IIA in the United Kingdom



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