Techniques for Improving the Quality of Procedural Rules
J.B. Auby (ed), Procédure administrative et production de la décision publique/Administrative Procedure and public decision-making, Bruylant Paris/Brussels, Forthcoming
16 Pages Posted: 31 May 2014
Date Written: May 30, 2014
The quality of procedural rules might significantly affect the quality of public decisions, an aim that is strongly promoted at European and international level. Indeed, a well-designed decision-making process might help in attaining general public decisions which are lawful, necessary, proportionate, consistent, well-written and accessible to stakeholders.
The quality of procedural rules is the result of a balance between guarantees that must be provided for stakeholders, on the one hand, and efficiency and effectiveness of decision-making processes, on the other. Undoubtedly, there might be some tension between these aims, the first asking for more procedural constraints, the second raising the issue of how deep the decision-making procedure might be in order to assure both cost-effectiveness and well-reasoned decisions. This issue is tackled by procedure-simplifying measures, introduced by the policies of administrative simplification (which are analysed in chapter 1 of this section). However, such a balance is hardly to be found in general terms or imposed through a top-down approach alone. On the contrary, it often emerges from well-designed decision making processes, with predetermined, identified steps, whose depth of analysis (and their reasons) must be transparent and justified in the final decision.
The quality of procedural rules might also be enhanced by the use of specific techniques aiming at increasing empirical data that enables better informed public decisions (e.g. environmental impact assessment, competition assessment, and risk assessment). These tools might be considered as techniques for improving procedural rules because they are intended to increase the awareness of the problem at stake and prevent public decisions from unintended consequences. However, while such techniques should enable evidence-based general decisions, it is not always the case, due to reasons which are both intrinsic and extrinsic to these tools.
Keywords: administrative decision, decision-making process, rule-making, impact assessment, risk assessment, strategic environmental assessment, cognitive-based regulation
JEL Classification: K10, K23, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation