The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia published a publication entitled “Guidelines for Social Impact Assessment”.
The goal of these guidelines is to assist public administration, as well as any other social stakeholder, in assessing “social impact” when assessing the impact of public policy. It is based on a list of various forms of effects and issues taken from the European Commission guidelines for assessing impact on society, harmonized with the national specificities of the Republic of Serbia.
We hereby urge the public to use these guidelines in the process of decision making, identifying potential strategic options for public policy, as well as monitoring the effects of public policy on society. These guidelines may be of importance in the assessment of the significance of public policy for society and the allocation of resources for their improvement.
An impact assessment, as defined by the European Commission, involves a set of logical steps to be followed when developing draft policies. It is a process preparing evidence for decision makers regarding the strengths and weaknesses of potential policy options, based on the assessment of their potential impact. A social impact assessment strengthens evidence based public policy creation and enables a better quality public discussion.
Ex ante impact assessment is a procedure to assess potential future effects of policy proposals. A social impact assessment focuses on the effects for the population, i.e. employment and social groups, with a particular attention to gender aspects, while the assessment of other forms of impact uses other methodologies (i.e. budget impact and competitiveness impact).
The social impact assessment consists of several steps:
- Establish the envisaged measures and causal links;
- Analyse the expected forms of impact (e.g. job creation / loss of jobs, change of working conditions, distribution of income, access to goods and services, impact on the labour market);
- Analyse the population groups most affected by these measures (e.g. men/women, regional impact, sectoral impact, vulnerable social groups, persons with low qualifications, children, migrants);
- Assessment of effects, best started with a systematic qualitative testing aimed at identifying the points of significant effect for the draft and potential options.
This methodology was first used in Serbia to define priority structural reforms as part of the Economic Reform Programme for 2016-2018.