Editor’s Note: The material below, from the UK’s Regulatory Policy Committee, explains the duty of regulatory agencies to perform cost-benefit and risk analyses of regulatory proprosals. The material also provides the RPC’s most recent metrics-based report on agency performance.
Data on the quality of departmental impact assessments submitted to the Regulatory Policy Comittee
Regulatory proposals are accompanied by an impact assessment (IA), which assesses and estimates the likely costs and benefits, as well as presenting the associated risks, of a regulatory proposal that has an impact on business, civil society organisations, the public sector or individuals.
The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) assesses the quality of evidence and analysis supporting regulatory changes affecting businesses, charities and voluntary organisations, including:
- checking whether central government departments’ estimated costs or savings to business, as a result of regulatory reforms, are accurate. The accuracy of these estimates is important as they help inform decisions on whether or not proposals are taken forward;
- checking that government departments explain why new regulation is more appropriate than the alternative, such as voluntary codes. A clear principle of the Government’s better regulation framework is to not presume regulation is the answer and to consider a range of meaningful alternatives, we help ensure that proposal consider these points; and
- where new regulations are required, checking that the government minimises the effects on small businesses in particular.
Following scrutiny we issue an opinion including a rating of red, amber or green:
- Red: The impact assessment is ‘Not Fit for Purpose’. There are major concerns over the quality of the evidence and analysis and overall quality of the impact assessment that need to be addressed.
- Amber: While this impact assessment is ‘Fit for Purpose’ we detail concerns which should be resolved so as to improve its contribution to the final decision made. More detail on what an amber rating means can be found HERE.
- Green: The impact assessment is ‘Fit for Purpose’. No significant concerns or some minor issues where the impact assessment could be improved to deliver greater clarity or to aid understanding.
The RPC publishes departmental performance on the basis of first time submissions, as these represent what departments believe would be of sufficient quality to publish if there was no requirement to go through independent scrutiny.