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FOCUS - Parlamento e governo parlamentare in Italia. Verso un affresco contemporaneo. N. 3 - 15/04/2019

 What does RRI have to say to policy makers? Towards a definition of Responsible Policy Making as a tool to enhance parliamentary scrutiny.

The aim of this contribution is to analyse the mutating nature of the function of parliamentary scrutiny in relationship with the historical evolution of notion of ‘responsibility’. In particular, by building on the notion of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI; developed within the science policy framework at EU level), this text will propose a definition of Responsible Policy Making as a byproduct of the integration of the RRI approach within legislative assemblies. Parliaments are indeed facing important transformations. The challenge is to understand the competing forces animating these transformations and the potential outcomes. In this perspective, an important role is played by the evolution of the parliamentary function of scrutiny – particularly, in the form of public policy evaluation – as interpreted through the lenses of RRI: a concept that echoes various interpretations of responsibility which are relevant for the legislative process. By framing the evolution of parliamentary scrutiny as the path through which legislative assemblies could leverage a novel attitude towards the meaning of ‘responsibility’ and a better capacity to deal with socio-political complexity, we aim to show how such a process could eventually improve both parliaments’ accountability and public policies' quality. Section 2 presents an overview of the evolution, over the last two centuries, of the parliamentary function of oversight; section 3 presents the main concepts and implications of RRI, highlighting the most relevant aspects from a policy perspective. In section 4 a definition of responsible policy making is proposed, alongside a reflection upon the evolving notion of responsibility. Concluding remarks follow… (segue)

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