Comparative Table of Parliamentary TA Institutions
POLAND - BUREAU OF RESEARCH
BAS (in Polish: Biuro Analiz Sejmowych) supports parliamentary
committees and individual deputies with information, analytical work
and expert opinions on all subject matters that are debated by the Sejm
(i.e. the first chamber of the Polish Parliament) in the course of
The Bureau was established in 1991 as a unit of
the Chancellery of the Sejm – an institution responsible for all administrative
and organisational aspects of the Sejm’s activities.
The scope of research areas covered by BAS is
wide and ranges from constitutional and legal matters, budgetary issues, EU
policies and regulations, to variety of social and economic issues. BAS is not
a typical TA institute (entirely devoted to TA problems): so far, information
on new technologies in general and on technology assessment in particular,
represent a small fraction in the scope of BAS’ portfolio. However, as the
significance of new technologies is more apparent and awareness of their
societal and environmental consequences is growing, one can expect that also
the Sejm’s interest in TA will gradually increase bringing about a greater BAS
involvement in TA research.
ORGANISATION AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The main BAS responsibilities include:
supporting the legislative process with an expert advice, providing deputies
with information and expert opinions and conducting research (in the area of
law, economy and society) related to the legislative process. The most
expanding area of responsibilities during the last years is the European law
and policies (e.g. BAS provides analyses of EU institutions and legislation,
for example the Bureau verifies whether draft legislation proposed by deputies
is in compliance with EU law). In cooperation with the Sejm committees BAS also
organises conferences and seminars.
Currently BAS employs a total of 70 full-time
analysts. As the structure of employment reflects the duties performed by the
Bureau, the main group of employees are lawyers (45 experts in various law
specialities). The rest includes some 15 economists and specialists in
such fields as social science, agriculture or environment. BAS also cooperates
with numerous representatives of science and with external experts. If, for
various reasons, a commissioned work cannot be done within the Bureau, it is
then contracted to the external experts.
The Bureau is composed of 6 departments:
Currently it is only the Social and Economic Analyses Department that deals with questions on new technologies and TA.
- Parliamentary and Constitutional Law Dept.
- Legislative Analyses Dept.
- European and International Law Dept.
- Dept. for Matters before the Constitutional Tribunal
- International Comparative Analyses Dept.
- Social and Economic Analyses Dept.
As a rule the
research topics are chosen and commissioned either by parliamentary committees
or by individual deputies. The majority of BAS’ work is done on request
submitted by the two groups of clients. Apart from responding to the
parliamentary requests BAS also – on its own initiative – carries out research
and policy analysis on topics relevant to the current or forthcoming work of
the Sejm. Then the research findings are presented in BAS publications (»INFOS«
and »STUDIA BAS«). TA often appears as a component of those analyses.
WORK PROCEDURES AND METHODS
Methods applied by BAS analysts include mostly
desk study, interviews and consulting relevant sources of information. Methods
involving citizens or any other forms of public consultation are not used. The
most frequent outcome is a short information note (several pages) prepared
individually by an analyst (BAS prepares 50–100 such notes per month). More
profound analyses and reports are less frequent and they may be written
individually or by a group of analysts. Standard period for completing a typical
assignment is two weeks (much shorter in case of urgency), and one month for
more laborious reports.
Most TA work undertaken by BAS in recent years
have been done in the following areas:
- Energy and environment – renewable
sources; nuclear safety; Carbon Capture and Storage; perspectives of shale gas
extraction in Poland; potential for greenhouse gas emission reduction in Poland
and its implications for the energy sector.
- GMO and biotechnology – societal,
economic and political consequences of biotechnologies and of the widespread
use of GM crops.
- Information society – development of
ICT in Poland; e-government and the state of online public services; overview
of Polish strategies and regulations concerning information society; digital
exclusion in Poland (sources of exclusion, social groups mostly endangered by
exclusion and its consequences); e-voting.
- Innovativeness of Polish economy –
final report will discuss the current state of innovation in Poland, innovation
rankings and national and regional innovation policies.
- Climate policy – perspectives for
the post-Kyoto agreement, evolution of the EU legislation and domestic action.
BAS works primarily for the parliamentary committees and MPs. Public
participation projects or projects aimed at communication towards
broader public have not been undertaken yet.
In previous years several parliamentary committees in the Sejm
debated over subjects with an important TA component (e.g. GMO and
biotechnology - Agriculture Committee; deployment of nuclear energy -
Economy Committee; mitigation of CO2 emission - Environment Committee)
but so far the TA as such has not been in a centre of parliamentary
debate. Until recently there was no science and technology committee in
the Sejm (such committees are usually the most effective bodies
promoting development of parliamentary TA). This situation has changed
with the establishment of new standing Committee for Innovation and New
Technologies (October 2010). The Committee´s main field of interest is
promotion of smart economic growth through widespread application of
innovation and new technologies. The Committee´s agenda includes also
some TA issues. One on the first joint projects undertaken by BAS in
cooperation with the Committee for Innovation was a debate devoted to
digital exclusion and financial services for generation 50+. Recently
(January 2012), BAS on the request of the Committee organised a
conference on innovativeness of Polish economy.
COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICATIONSBAS does not publish its TA
work in a separate series, TA analyses are usually included within
general BAS publication lines, the main are: INFOS (short policy
briefs) and STUDIA BAS (compilations of research papers analyzing
various aspects of a given topic).
INFOS is a final outcome of a short term project lasting on
average 1 to 3 months. They are concise in form and present a single
topic related to issues of high relevance to parliamentary debate
and/or legislative process. All INFOS papers have standard layout and
stick to four-page format. They are published every two weeks, in
accordance with the schedule of sittings of the Sejm (20-25
titles/issues a year).
The projects undertaken within STUDIA BAS series are more
complex. They involve compiling a book consisting typically of 8-10
research papers devoted to various aspects of a given subject. They are
often devoted to sectoral policies (e.g. energy policy, housing policy)
or thematic clusters (eg. development of information society). Quite
often they adopt comparative approach: comparing relevant data from
different European and other countries. There are four issues yearly.
INFOS and STUDIA BAS series are devoted primarily to
socio-economic issues, hence TA questions - if they are touched upon -
are mostly analyzed in the context of societal and economic impacts.
The authors are both BAS employees and selected external experts from
leading Polish research institutions.
BAS publications come only in Polish (abstracts are available
also in English). INFOS and STUDIA BAS are distributed free of charge
to all MPs; additional copies can be picked-up at the BAS inquiry
office at the Parliament premises. They are also available online at www.bas.sejm.gov.pl
All the commissioned work as well as BAS publications aim at supporting
the legislative process with information and expert analysis. There is
evidence they often serve the purpose. Some of the publications with
strong TA component (e.g. on energy policy, innovation strategies) have
influenced parliamentary debate and attracted media attention.
Parliamentary TA and EPTA activities have recently been put on the
agenda of the Committee for Innovations and New Technologies.
THE WAY AHEADIn 2007 BAS became an associate member of EPTA
network. This has created an opportunity to learn from and cooperate
with more experienced TA institutions, and consequently to strengthen
parliamentary TA capacity in Poland. BAS makes a constant effort to
explain and promote the concept of TA among deputies. That´s why one of
the INFOS was entirely devoted to TA theory and practice and its role
in decision making. TA studies will continue to play important role in
BAS publication lines.
It is hoped the new standing Committee for Innovations and New
Technologies, as the main addressee of TA analyses, will help to
stimulate further research and TA promotion in the Parliament. BAS is
also keen to establish closer relations with academic institutions
involved in TA studies in Poland.
Research of the Chancellery of the Sejm
ul. Zagórna 3
Director: Dr Grzegorz Gołębiowski
Fon +48 22
694 17 27
Fax +48 22 694 18 65
of Social and Economic Research
Natural Resources Group
22 694 10 65
© EPTA, provided by ITA; version 19 Oct 2012