Impact is difficult to assess due to the logistical and administrative obstacles encountered when attempting to survey or interview Parliamentarians, together with the fact that POST is one of many organisations delivering commentary on scientific issues. Nevertheless, some POST qualitative and quantitative data on POST’s impact is available and indicates that POST is a valued organisation. POST is currently developing more systematic ways of gathering and analyzing such data.
Around 220 MPs, 170 Peers, 10 MEPs, 44 MP researchers and 160 other parliamentary staff have »opted in« to receive copies of all POSTnotes. Those who are not on this mailing list still routinely pick up POSTnotes from the parliamentary libraries. Anecdotal reports indicate that Members are often seen holding and using POSTnotes in the debating chamber.
POSTnotes are particularly valued for their impartiality. In a survey conducted in 2009 one MP commented »There is so much depending on scientific judgements and scientific information and often it appears in the media as a particular slant, the key thing is that POST is independent and I have to say that I read their publications and I think they are excellent, just the right length and they are impartial and they are clear and I think it is excellent to have that«. The same survey indicated that over 80 % of parliamentarians (out of a sample of 50) had used POSTnotes more than once in the past year.
In many cases POSTnotes are used to inform the work of Parliamentary Select Committees – for example POSTnote 368 on Rare Earth Metals was used to inform an inquiry into Critical Mineral Resources by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. POSTnotes are also often incorporated into »debate packs« which are information packs provided to Members prior to a debate.POSTnotes are known to have considerable impact outside Parliament. This is indicated by download statistics, which show that POSTnotes usually account for around a third of all downloads from the Parliamentary website. Each month at least one POSTnote features among the top 5 most downloaded documents. POST also over 1,200 followers on twitter, a number which is rapidly growing, although only a small proportion of these are Members of Parliament. It also has a newsletter which has over 3,500 subscribers.
Chapter Impact - all countries
|© EPTA, version 20 Oct 2012; provided by ITA|