Monitoring helps public institutions measure the effectiveness of existing legislation, policy instruments, projects and administrative practices. When monitoring entails looking at specific fundamental rights indicators, it can help assess the fundamental rights impact of policies and measures.
The City of Vienna has developed the Vienna City Diversity and Integration Monitors. The two monitors combined “Measure integration. Shape diversity.”
The “integration monitor” consists of a set of 75 indicators developed to monitor the level of health, mobility, education, employment, housing and participation for each group and generation. The quantitative analysis examines the degree of equality between migrant groups and the host society. The “diversity monitor” collects information about the activities developed by the City of Vienna on social integration. The objective is to identify the challenges or developments the City of Vienna has already reacted to or should react to in the future.
This dual mechanism gives a detailed insight into the state of implementation of the city’s integration-oriented diversity policies. These policies primarily focus on the further development of diversity management strategies in all departments and organisations of the Vienna City Administration to enhance the quality of the services provided.
The example illustrates a number of key considerations for monitoring progress:
Focus on fundamental rights
Developing indicators that relate specifically to targeted fundamental rights areas helps focus monitoring. These indicators can be used alongside more traditional key performance indicators to reveal the fundamental rights impact.
Ensuring policy relevance
When developing indicators, there should be a clear understanding of how they relate to specific policy interventions and measures. The definition of tangible policy goals and clear targets is essential to assess whether activities have successfully enhanced the respect, protection and fulfilment of fundamental rights. Monitoring progress towards targets requires measurements before the intervention (a baseline) and after. Ideally, there should also be mid-term measurements to assess the direction and effectiveness of the intervention.
It is important to measure trends and progress over time to understand the impact of policies. This requires sustainable data sources.
Use quantifiable indicators
Wherever possible, indicators should be quantifiable. Qualitative statements and information must be linked to quantifiable indicators in order to describe a situation, a pattern, its effects and impact.
With the support of the EU’s Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme, the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (ETC) developed a manual on monitoring racism and discrimination at the local level under the project “ECAR – European Cities Against Racism – responsibilities of cities in counteracting racism sustainability”.
Municipalities play a significant role in shaping a tolerant, united society, and in dealing with differences constructively. An evaluation of the situation is a prerequisite for evidence-based policy making also at the local level. Yet, local monitoring initiatives remain limited in practice.
The manual addresses this gap. It presents concrete steps that municipalities and researchers may take when developing and applying tailor-made and indicator-based monitoring schemes on racist discrimination locally. It is intended for the use of academics and practitioners who are interested in the evaluation of (policy measures against) racism and discrimination.
The overall aim of the publication is to explain, in plain language, what steps have to be taken to objectify a phenomenon that is often still considered as something related to perception, instead of real facts.
Fundamental Rights Indicators
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has developed a manual called Human Rights Indicators: A Guide to Measurement and Implementation.
It is based on a conceptual and methodological framework to identify indicators for monitoring civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
The framework recommends developing structural, process and outcome indicators. It illustrates the steps taken by national public authorities to fulfil their obligations: from commitments and acceptance of international human rights standards (structural indicators) to meeting the obligations that flow from these standards (process indicators) and on to the results of those efforts (outcome indicators).
The framework provides guidance for identifying contextually-relevant and feasible indicators that match international human rights norms and principles. Lists of illustrative indicators on a number of human rights and thematic issues have been identified and are being validated.
The adopted methodology focuses primarily on indicators that are or can be compiled by official statistical systems using administrative records and statistical surveys.
The framework uses quantitative as well as qualitative indicators. Efforts have been made to keep the indicators simple, based on an objective and transparent methodology. Where possible, they have also been disaggregated by type of prohibited discrimination, and by vulnerable and marginalised population group.
FRA work on fundamental rights indicators
Among EU Member States there are differences in data collection ranging from the definitions of what should be measured and why, to the actual methods used to collect data. Recognising that fundamental rights indicators can be invaluable for shedding light on the state of fundamental rights on the ground, FRA seeks to develop indicators related to key fundamental rights areas addressed through its research.
One example is the area of disability rights. FRA works on developing rights-based indicators for people with disabilities according to the framework developed by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on selected rights covered by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Another example is the set of indicators for the respect, protection and fulfilment of the rights of the child in the European Union.