Austria

Overview and recent developments

In Austria, RIA has been mandatory for all primary laws and subordinate regulations since 2013. A threshold test introduced in 2015 determines whether a simplified or full RIA has to be conducted for draft regulations. The new threshold limits the requirement for ex post evaluations introduced in 2013 to regulations passing the threshold. Assessments of whether underlying policy goals have been achieved, the comparison of actual and predicted impacts, and the identification of costs, benefits and unintended consequences of regulations are part of the standard methodology for ex post evaluations.

A resolution by the Austrian Parliament has recently triggered an extension of the scope of public consultations on draft primary laws. Since September 2017, all draft primary laws are available on the website of Parliament together with a short description of the legislative project in accessible language, the RIA and other accompanying documents. The public can submit comments on the draft regulation or support comments made by others online. Furthermore, an interactive crowdsourcing platform will be launched in 2018 to provide the public with an opportunity to express their views on planned government reforms prior to important future laws being drafted. This initiative could be a gateway towards establishing a more systematic approach to involving stakeholders earlier in the development of regulations to inform officials about the policy problem and possible solutions. Austria would benefit from extending the scope of public consultations to subordinate regulations, for which no systematic public consultations are conducted.

Institutional setup for regulatory oversight

The Federal Performance Management Office (FPMO) at the Federal Ministry for the Civil Service and Sport reviews the quality of all RIAs and ex post evaluations and provides advice during their development. The FPMO publishes its opinions on RIAs for primary laws and can ask administrators to revise RIAs if their quality is deemed insufficient. The FPMO also issues guidelines and provides training on RIA and ex post evaluation and co-ordinates the use of these tools across government. It also reports annually to Parliament on the implementation of the RIA and ex post evaluation system.

The Ministry of Finance supports the FPMO’s work by reviewing assessments of financial impacts and costs in RIAs and ex post evaluations. It is also involved in issuing the guidelines for these tools. The Federal Ministry of Constitutional Affairs, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice’s Constitutional Service scrutinises the legal quality of regulation under development and issues formal opinions on legal quality that are published on the website of Parliament.

Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance (iREG): Austria, 2018
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Notes: The more regulatory practices as advocated in the OECD Recommendation on Regulatory Policy and Governance a country has implemented, the higher its iREG score. The indicators on stakeholder engagement and RIA for primary laws only cover those initiated by the executive (78% of all primary laws in Austria).

Source: Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance Surveys 2014 and 2017, http://oe.cd/ireg.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933815414

Location of regulatory oversight functions: Austria

Regulatory oversight functions

Centre of government

Ministry of Finance, Economy or Treasury

Ministry of Justice

Other ministries

Non-departmental body

Parliament

Office of the Attorney General

Supreme audit institution

Part of the judiciary

Quality control of…

RIA

Stakeholder engagement

Ex post evaluation

Identifying policy areas where regulation can be made more effective

Systematic improvement of regulatory policy

Co-ordination of regulatory policy

Guidance, advice and support

Scrutiny of legal quality

Notes: ⚫ indicates that a given regulatory oversight function is covered by at least one body in a particular location. Data present the situation as of 31 December 2017 and do not reflect changes that may have taken place in 2018.

Source: Survey questions on regulatory oversight bodies, Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance Survey 2017, http://oe.cd/ireg.

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