As a crucial part of its quality policy, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency organises an external audit every five to seven years. This audit focuses on the scientific quality, social and policy relevance and future viability of PBL. In addition, it considers the specific character of PBL as an assessment agency and its role in the current knowledge–policy arena in relation to the physical environment.
PBL is a medium-sized independent environmental assessment agency and part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW)..
Since 2017, PBL has produced some 1400 knowledge products for politics, policy and society. Of course, the quantity in itself does not say much — what matters ultimately is the quality, relevance and future-resilient nature of the work. Over the currently audited period (2017–2020), scientific output, productivity and impact have increased, compared to the previous audit (2011–2016), according to an externally prepared bibliometric report and contextual response analysis.
A future strategy for a growing PBL in a changing world
According to the self-evaluation PBL’s social and policy-related impact has also grown, as is shown in external research. And the organisation's future-resilience seems guaranteed for the coming period, given PBL's statutory tasks, its slow but steady growth in terms of budget and FTEs and its efforts to learn from the changing playing field and thus adapt its work and roles to the new environment — without neglecting the more traditional work.
Based on the SWOT analysis that was created in consultation with PBL's management team (MT), this self-evaluation also outlines a future strategy that focuses on: (1) keeping a sharp eye on the nature of the development of the four distinct physical environment issues, both in terms of content, policy and governance; (2) further strengthening the long-term, thematic structure and implementation of the work programme; (3) moving closely with the content and policy agenda for the physical environment, and the related needs for new knowledge products, opportunities and roles; (4) more knowledge to link national, regional and local levels of government, and both governmental and non-governmental organisations; and (5) further strengthening the imitability of PBL's work in all of its aspects, as well as the communication about it.