Table 1. Overview of the set of criteria and related questions developed to analyze the use of impact assessment tools to support sustainable policy objectives (after EPA 2000).

Criterion Description Related questions
Relevancy How closely connected or appropriate the European Commission’s impact assessments (IAs) and novel IA policy cases are to the renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS). How pertinent, appropriate, and useful are IA and the use of tools as aids to policy making, with reference to the EU SDS Strategy?
Does the assessment provide relevant information that corresponds to the analytical needs of the European Commission?
Is the IA evaluating the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced way, taking into account international dimensions of sustainable development and the cost of inaction?
Accuracy The quality or state of being exact or precise and correct in all detail; of being capable of or successful in reaching the intended target. What types of data are being provided? Does the degree of detail fit with the scope of the IA? How are the data generated and presented?
What types of models are being applied? How recent are they? Are the models well established within the scientific community and accepted by the policy makers?
Who has contributed to the IA?
Legitimacy The extent to which the IA conforms to a given standard (i.e., the EU SDS and European Commission’s IA guidelines). How is the IA conceptualized? Does the practice comply with the European Commission’s IA guidelines? Is there a balance between qualitative and quantitative approaches? Is there external involvement, from consultants and research institutes, for example?
Who is contributing to the IA? Are stakeholders involved from different target groups with a broad range of backgrounds?
What type of consultations tools are being employed?