Glossary of terms

This glossary provides definitions of the key terms used on this website and throughout the Indicators for Democratic Parliaments.

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Term Definition
Impact assessment (IA)

In the parliamentary context, a structured process for considering the implications, for people and their environment, of proposed legislative actions in preparation for a policy debate, or in the event that there is an opportunity to amend (or even, if appropriate, abandon) a proposal. An impact assessment can be applied at all levels of policy development and decision-making, or can be related to a specific project.


In a parliamentary context, inclusion relates to both the institution of parliament, and the responsibilities and actions of members to fulfil their mandate as representatives of that institution. Inclusion in the institution relates to the processes and actions that ensure all operations and activities are structured in a way that gives individuals equal opportunities to participate and contribute to decision-making. Inclusion related to the actions of members to fulfil their mandate describes the methods used to ensure all individuals and groups, particularly those who are vulnerable and underrepresented, have equal opportunities to inform the law-making, oversight and representation processes.

Independent member of parliament

An MP who does not belong to a parliamentary (political) party. In systems that have a small number of central, dominant parties, this term can also refer to a member who represents or belongs to a party that is outside those dominant parties.