Evaluations are fastidious and methodical scientific investigations.
Evaluations for the CC generally follow these steps (black: PCA, white: CC):
|CC mandate||The CCs of both chambers commission the PCA to carry out evaluations and at the same time also notify the Federal Council of the subject. They determine which of the sub-committees is responsible for the evaluation.|
|Project outline||The PCA familiarises itself with the subject and takes up contact with the relevant federal agencies. It produces a project outline generally consisting of a number of proposals for investigations. The relevant sub-committee of the CC then decides which proposals should be pursued. From this point on until the evaluation report has been submitted to the sub-committee, the PCA conducts its work independently.|
|Investigation concept||The PCA prepares an investigation concept in which it sets out the questions to be examined, the assessment criteria and the methodology and draws up a detailed timetable and plan of resources.|
|Execution||In order to gather the necessary data the PCA contacts the relevant federal agencies directly (information, documentation etc.). The PCA has wide-ranging rights to information, which can also be conferred on any experts it commissions to act on its behalf.|
|Drafting of report||The PCA compiles the results of the evaluation in a confidential draft report which it presents to the relevant federal agencies for comment. Once it has been revised the PCA submits the completed report to the relevant CC sub-committee.|
|Publication by CC||The relevant CC sub-committee then draws its own conclusions from the PCA evaluation which it presents in its own report, and if necessary formulates recommendations for the Federal Council. The CC publishes the PCA report along with its conclusions and recommendations unless it contains information deemed to be sensitive.|
Application of PCA evaluations
- PCA evaluations are not only put to use once they have been completed. Simply conducting evaluations (e.g. discussions with administrative units) and the consultation phase on the draft report can trigger
learning processes and instigate change in the units concerned.
- The CCs make use of the PCA evaluation results by drawing politically relevant conclusions which are subsequently incorporated into their own report and by formulating
recommendations for the Federal Council. The Federal Council then responds to the CC recommendations. The CCs study the Federal Council’s response and request further information if necessary. PCA evaluations therefore form an important basis for dialogue between the Federal Council and Parliament.
- Sometimes the CCs submit parliamentary procedural requests (motions, postulates) based on PCA evaluations to bolster amendment requests to the Federal Council.
- The CCs generally conduct a
post-evaluation follow-up after around two years and are informed by the Federal Council as to what extent the recommendations have been implemented. The PCA can assist the CCs in clarifying details.
- PCA evaluations may also reveal the need to amend legislation. Evaluation results can be incorporated into
revisions of laws and ordinances through the Federal Administration, the relevant committees or through CC parliamentary initiatives.