- adopt a two-stage process for developing regulation impact statements (RISs);
- strengthen the role of annual regulatory plans (ARPs); and
- encourage better and more informed stakeholder consultation.
19 December 2012
Additionally, the statement shows that the Government expects to reduce the regulatory burden by around a further £83 million between January 2013 - when 'One-in, One-Out' is replaced by 'One-in, Two-out' - and June 2013. Expected measures include reforms to environmental regulation, employment law and consumer law.
Recent deregulatory measures include:
- Changes to modernise and simplify the registration of company charges, saving £21.9 million.
- A series of changes to building regulations to reduce cost and complexity for industry.
- Less heavy-handed Health and Safety regulations for low-risk businesses including shop and offices.
- Improvements to speed up processes covering adoption and foster-carer eligibility.
The array of tools to be used include a better evaluation of public policies, and a "one-in, one-out" rule already announced by President Hollande.
For the wider context of administrative reform, see the PM's declaration closing the CIMAP meeting (VB.)
- some language shifts: the focus of the strategy is no longer "citizens and businesses" as in SR1, but adds "workers" to the addressees or benefiaries of the initiatives. This could be viewed as confirmation that the rebalancing between economic, and social, objectives, is continuing, though the overall aim of the policy is "responding to the economic imperatives";
- a new emphasis on "regulatory fitness", presented in 2010 as an exploratory dimension, now mainstream in the SR agenda;
- in keeping with the evolution in member states and the OECD, a widening of the impacts of regulation to include, beyond administrative burdens, the full "regulatory costs" or burdens, which classically include compliance costs; SR2 systematically avoids the old terminology "administrative" burdens;
- expressly declining to follow some "leading" member states in seeking quantitative reduction targets, whether sectoral or net targets, in favour of "a more tailored approach with an assessment of actual benefits and costs;"
- some further insistence on the responsibility of member states in the creation of regulatory burdens by inefficient transposition or "gold-plating" though the word is not used;
- the announcement of the REFIT programme to succeed, with a wider mandate, the action programme for administrative burden reduction (now redesignated "ABR", on the basis of the fitness check pilot schemes, with strengthened planning starting with the 2014 work programme; REFIT to include an "ABR Plus" programme focusing, with the help of the Stoiber group, on how member states have applied the recent (2007-2012) reduction measures decided at the EU level.
12 December 2012
From the press release: "Today's Communication presents the state of play of the Commission's smart regulation efforts and proposes measures to further advance the smart regulation agenda. In 2010, the Commission launched its Smart Regulation agenda to further improve the quality of EU legislation to enhance growth, jobs and competitiveness. Smart Regulation targets the whole policy cycle, from when a policy is designed to when it is put in place and finally evaluated. To put evidence even more at the heart of policy-making, a thorough impact assessment system has been complemented with new measures improving the evaluation of existing policies and the strengthening the voice of those directly affected by its initiatives. The reduction of administrative burden by 25% between 2007 and 2012 has been pursued in parallel and is expected, in the medium-term, to lead to an increase of 1.4% in EU GDP, equivalent to EUR 150 bn."
See also the Better Regulation page on the EC's website.
Also recently sent to the European Parliament, the EC's 29th annual report on monitoring the application of EU law , which gives the latest statistics on transposition and infraction procedures.
- Simplification and flexibilisation of procurement procedures : The package provides for a simplification and flexibilisation of the procedural regime set by the current rules, which date back to 2004. To this end, it contains measures to make procurement easier and administratively less burdensome and to create flexibility for public authorities enabling better procurement outcomes. Promotion of electronic procurement as a more user-friendly feature of procurement procedures is throughout the package a cornerstone of the simplification process.
- Review of accounting requirements for companies: "The Council took note of the progress made on the review and simplification of the accounting rules applicable to EU companies. The key objectives of the review include the reduction of administrative burden and the application of simplified accounting rules for SMEs" (...);
- Single Market Act II: "The Council adopted conclusions on the second set of new priority proposals presented by the Commission on 3 October 2012 under the "Single Market Act II." These proposals will supplement the first set of measures of the Single Market Act I package for deepening and reinforcing the single market in order to create economic growth and jobs. Among other elements, the conclusions highlight the necessity for the single market to rest upon a strong economic and social basis and the importance for the SMA II actions to address the concerns of citizens and businesses.
- "A stronger European industry for growth and economic recovery:" The Council invites the Commission to take forward further initiatives together with Member States, businesses and other stakeholders to reduce regulatory burden and boost the high innovation and productivity growth potential of EU industry, including SMEs; emphasises that competitiveness proofing has a prominent role to play to ensure the capacity to innovate, the consistency of rules and to prevent unnecessary red tape and compliance costs; The cost of crossing the borders in the Single Market, by having to comply with different national legislation, should also be taken into account; (...) Industrial Policy has to take care that no unnecessary burdens are created by new EU regulation in various policy areas (which are listed as SMEs, cohesion, trade, research. and innovation, environmental, climate, energy, transport, ICT, consumer, competition and state aid policies).
11 December 2012
- a five-pronged approach to reducing red tape on companies ("tell us just once" scheme to reduce information obligations, single declaration process for social information, streamline commercial property procedures, simplify aid mechanisms, limit gold-plating of EU law);
- a sustained red tape cutting exercise under the authority of the Prime Minister;
- an "SME test" for new draft legislation with the strongest potential impact on SMEs, to include tax issues;
- by the end of 2012, a "rationalisation" drive on the tax burden, on the basis of zero net growth: no new tax to be levied without a corresponding reduction.
- Secretariat General for Modernisation of Public Action;
- Commissioner for Simplification (PM's office);
- DG for Competitiveness (dgcis, Ministry of economy)
- General Control (Economy and Finance)
Czech POINT (a kind of one-stop-shop) stands for "Czech Filling and Verification Information National Terminal. "
“Main objective of the project is the motto All in one place!. In the future, citizens will have access to Public Administration services not only at the Czech POINTs, but also via the Internet. Czech POINT is the most comfortable way of communicating with the authorities and institutions from a single place. The system is well-designed and I hope that it becomes quickly and spontaneously used by citizens and subsequently also requested,” said Minister of the Interior Ivan Langer.
07 December 2012
- A committee composed of newspaper editors and independent members must establish a Standards Code for ethical journalism;
- The proposed regulatory body would have an arbitration system in place allowing victims to seek redress without the expense of costly litigation;
- The proposed regulator would replace the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), a voluntary regulatory body with no legal powers. Newspapers may choose to be regulated by the Office of Communications, which currently regulates British broadcasting, the most trusted form of news in Britain.
- double regulation (enterprises need to comply with both home and host country rules), the uncertainty about the rules applying to cross-border service provision on a temporary basis,
- the heterogeneity of regulation of professions (especially the scope of reserved activities), the diverse quality of the Points of Single Contact, the low use of the Internal Market Information system.
- Specific problems in retail and wholesale, construction, and public procurement
At a later event, the new leader insisted on communicating in a more transparent and efficient way with the citizens, by first avoiding jargon and empty words.
27 November 2012
For positions agreed by all 27 MS, the best source is the regular Council conclusions (see for instance June 2012 Conclusions under Danish presidency) which are of course more consensual.
It is not rare that a group of MS publish a joint position on the development of smart regulation, see for instance the report "Smart Regulation: a cleaner, fairer and more competitive EU" issued by the UK, The Netherlands and Denmark in March 2010, but up to now, this group had not got so close to a majority of MS.
This new joint letter intervenes at a moment when the European Commission is finalising its Communication on "EU Regulatory Fitness", to be published on 12 December, two years after the issuance of its Communication on "Smart Regulation in the EU." In the past months, the Commission has been taking stock of the progress made and drawing lessons from its experience. A stakeholder consultation was open from June to September to collect views and proposals to inform the next communication. The Commission website publishes the consultation document and all 118 contributions received, among which those of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Eurochambres) and Businesss Europe. Both organisations strongly support the smart regulation process encompassing the entire policy cycle and in slightly different ways, their contributions both offer much technical expertise.
Among the first papers in English:
- the (Mexico) System for Rapid Business Start-up (SARE) to promote regulatory simplification at the municipal level;
- the subnational regulatory managemetn systems, an adaptation of the OECD "Indicators of Regulatory Management Systems", to the federal structure of Mexico;
- benefits derived from the regulatory burden reduction program.
A site well worth visiting regularly. Spanish speaking experts will also be interested in the blog "Smart Regulation in Spanish."
23 November 2012
13 November 2012
| The Board of Swedish Industry and Commerce for Better Regulation (NNR) and the Swedish Better Regulation Council (Regelrådet) have published a joint report with recommendations for how to improve implementation of EU legislation 'Clarifying Gold-Plating – Better Implementation of EU Legislation'.|
The term 'to gold-plate' is frequently used in regulatory contexts in the EU when national implementation of EU legislation exceeds what a legal act requires while staying within legality. There seems to be agreement that this practice can lead to increased costs, unnecessary regulatory burdens and competitive disadvantages for business, as well as a fractured single market. This in turn hampers growth and job creation. However, there are different understandings of what the concept gold-plating actually covers. Some people assign more to the concept, and others less. This uncertainty about how to define gold-plating was the starting point for NNR's and the Swedish Better Regulation Council's joint project.
The recommendations in the report are addressed to the Swedish Government but could be applicable in other EU Member States as well. The authors call for clarification on how the concept 'gold-plating' should be interpreted to allow for objective discussions on how to solve problems related to it. A clear definition would enable those responsible for implementation of EU legislation to explain and justify if and why gold-plating is used. Further information from Karin Atthoff, Senior Advisor, The Board of Swedish Industry and Commerce for Better Regulation.
12 November 2012
The Index rankings and scores are built from over 400 variables drawn from two new data sources: (i) a general population poll (GPP), designed by the WJP and conducted by leading local polling companies using a probability sample of 1,000 respondents in the three largest cities of each country; and (ii) a qualified respondents' questionnaire (QRQ) completed by in-country experts in civil and commercial law, criminal law, labor law, and public health. To date, over 100,000 people and 2,500 experts have been interviewed in the following 97 countries and jurisdictions (with The Colombist).
- inject stability into the economy
- create the conditions for growth, and
- maximise the performance of the UK.
The State Council recently issued an official document that approves the trial reforms during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15). Thirty-four administrative approval items will be canceled and the administration of 34 other items will be transferred from the province to lower levels of government. In addition, 32 items will be handed over to industry associations. The decision was made at an executive meeting of the cabinet presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao in August, the newspaper said.
The move is in a bid to reduce approval requirements and let markets allocate resources more efficiently.
On the list of the 34 regulations that have been canceled are the annual examination of tour guides, approval of building companies that conduct small-volume trade with Taiwan and approval of used car appraisal agencies.
Administration of 32 items will be gradually handed over to associations of specific industries, which aims at reducing government intervention and giving full play to markets. This list includes the annual check of asset evaluation agencies, registration of software products and hotel star ratings.
Provincial government departments will administer 19 regulations, while 15 others will be regulated by lower level governments. This covers programs in energy, transportation, raw materials, mechanic manufacturing and establishing local enterprises.
"The reform of administrative approval will help transform the government's functions, clarify its responsibilities and make more room for social development. This is to build a bigger society and smaller government," Zhu Lijia, a public administration professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, told the Global Times.
05 November 2012
- transfer (back) of the prime agency in charge from Economy/finance/civil service to the Prime Minister's office: the DG State Modernisation staff are transferred back to Matignon (the PM's office) to create the Secretariat General for Public Action Modernisation; to our knowledge there is no official assessment of the five years of PAR under Finance, nor of the reasons for the new setup;
- creation of a supervisory body, the Interministerial Committee for Public Action Modernisation;
- in the detail of the functions entrusted to the new SG, and the announced agenday for the first meeting of the Interministerial Committee, several themes already identified as new priorities are confirmed: the fine-tuning of local government (under the heading of "partnering public policy") including simplifying regulation inside government, and the further integration of electronic services to PAR. Several existing policies are endorsed, like quality of service and legal simplification. The new strategy also intends to place civil service HR higher on the PAR agenda.
More specifically, the new constitution introduces the right to good administration and governance, which covers inter alia quality of legislation. The two day conference 'The Challenges for Drafting Quality Legal Texts' brought together 14 experts and some 150 participants stemming from different government services with legislative responsibility and discussed topical elements of better legislation in three different panels. The first panel was dedicated to the meaning and the requirements of the rule of law for good administration and the quality of the law. The second panel looked into Politics, the law and budgetary choices, and the final third panel considered the demands of better lawmaking for legislative drafting. Experts like Prof. Jacques Ziller (University of Pavia Italy), Mme Pascale Léglise (French Court of Administrative Appeal), Prof. Wim Voermans (IAL, University of Leiden, the Netherlands), Ramiro Riera (former Inspector General of public administration France) and Joana Mendes (Amsterdam University Netherlands), presented and discussed in the first panel. Justice Benabedellah of the Moroccan Supreme Court, Charles-Henri Montin (French Ministry of Finance), prof. Miquel Martin-Casals (University of Girona, Spain) and Christos Ntouchanis (Member of the Council of State Greece) lead the way in the second panel. In the third panel (held on the second day) prof. Herwig Hofmann (University of Luxembourg) Abdelilah Fountir (Secretariat General of the Moroccan government), Mohamed Hanine (President of the Moroccan Human Rights Commission), Edward Donelan (of Sigma and formerly the Irish judiciary) en C.H. Montin, W.Voermans and M. Martin-Casals.
The conference was a very lively one with abundant questions and comments from the floor. The issues of rule of law and good quality of drafting and legislation are afoot in Morocco one can feel. The conference concluded with eight recommendations to the Moroccan government, all of them amounting to setting up a drafting manual, exchange of knowledge, training and capacity building in the institutions with legislative responsibility in the Kingdom of Morocco. The Moroccan government and Sigma are pursuing their cooperation in this field in the upcoming years (with Wim Voermans). Blogger's presentions (in French) are available from the Publications page.
24 October 2012
The 2011-12 report shows an increase in compliance with the Australian Government best practice regulation requirements. The number of non-compliant proposals fell from 16 to 9, and compliance at the decision-making stage increased in percentage terms from 75 per cent to 88 per cent. No agency had more than one example of non-compliance with the best practice regulation requirements.
The Australian Government prepared RISs on a broad range of issues including Australia’s negotiating framework regarding bluefin stock, regulatory changes to facilitate the rollout of the NBN and Australia’s plan for a clean energy future. Australian Government non-compliant proposals included measures to address problem gambling, tobacco plain packaging and revised export control orders for the live cattle trade.
The number of Prime Minister’s ‘exceptional circumstances’ exemptions granted decreased from 14 in 2010-11 to 5 in 2011-12. Proposals granted exemptions included reforms to the superannuation system and extending Telstra retail price controls to June 2014 (from our Federal correspondent).
23 October 2012
- Poland was the global top improver in the past year. It enhanced the ease of doing business through four institutional or regulatory reforms, making it easier to register property, pay taxes, enforce contracts, and resolve insolvency.
- Worldwide, 108 economies implemented 201 regulatory reforms in 2011/12 making it easier to do business as measured by Doing Business. Reform efforts globally have focused on making it easier to start a new business, increasing the efficiency of tax administration and facilitating trade across international borders. Of the 201 regulatory reforms recorded in the past year, 44% focused on these 3 policy areas alone. Read about reforms.
The independent report was critical that some Ministers and agencies are not sufficiently committed to the RIA requirements, and recommends that the Government re-endorse and re-commit to the RIA process. The Government proposes to accept this recommendation.
The Government is holding a four week consultation period on the proposed changes with a view to announcing its final response by the end of 2012 (from our AUS federal correspondent.)
According to a CEOE 2011 Report on administrative burdens, in collaboration with the Spanish Ministry of Finance and Public Administrations, this measure, once implemented, will save Spanish companies an initial installment of €383m in administrative costs, followed by annual savings of €14,1m (from Ignacio Gafo, CEOE.)
22 October 2012
11 October 2012
See Chair's Summary of the Meeting on Japan MOFA site, and a summary on Sudan news agency SUNA.
04 October 2012
Q. What regulatory action do you advise for India?First of all, every country can do better in terms of regulation. We've been working with a host of European nations, with the United States, with Mexico, Turkey, Japan, and even with Australia, which has led the world for decades in terms of better regulation and simplification.
In India, there are three key areas where better regulation could help boost productivity and growth. First, by easing business regulation to boost entrepreneurship and dynamism, and to support job creation in the formal sector. Second, by further reducing the barriers to international trade and investment, including FDI, to boost competition and productivity. Third, by undertaking wide-ranging financial sector reforms to strengthen investment.
(...) As in every country in the world, there is also scope for simplification. A specific regulatory issue in India concerns the relationship between the federal government, the states and then local governments. State and local governments are bound by national laws. This relationship between the three levels of government sometimes produces three times the regulation and worse still, different types of regulation, which is time-consuming and expensive. For example, it has been well documented that the Indian central government and some state governments have achieved greater economic performance through enhancing the regulatory frameworks for a better environment for businesses. These efforts encourage investment, make it easier to start up a business, and to conduct business more generally. However, this has not happened in a concerted manner across different states or in a co-ordinated way. Tackling this issue head-on through a 'whole of government' approach will vastly improve the consistency and quality of the regulatory environment in India.
We can share with the Indians the successful experiences as well as some of the not so successful experiences from elsewhere so that they can save some time, effort and money. For example, in Mexico, the office of the controller working together with the OECD has done away with 12,000 norms, rules, codes, regulations, laws. Little steps, big steps, hard steps, but they have dramatically streamlined things.
Read more: http://forbesindia.com/article/special/india-has-its-own-homework-to-do-oecds-angel-gurria/33841/1#ixzz28Jv1L0DK
Says Regblog "one of the most telling moments of the debate came when the moderator asked the candidates for their views on the level of federal regulation in today’s economy. Obama declared that “it appears that [they have] got some agreement that a marketplace to work has to have some regulation.” Romney responded that while he agrees that “good regulation” is needed to support a functional free-market economy, government rules can become excessive and have “unintended consequences.” The full transcript of this part and the rest of the debate are equally interesting and worth checking out.
03 October 2012
- Reducing burden on business:
According to the press release late last week, "OECD’s first Review of Regulatory Reform for Indonesia looks at the changes to the regulatory framework which will be necessary to implement the development and growth agenda of the Indonesian Government, including the recommendations of the Economic Review. The report recommends that the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs implements a government-wide policy to strengthen institutions, optimise co-ordination among ministries and improve regulations, based on international best practice. In particular, measures to further develop the Indonesian market and increase private investment in infrastructure need to be fostered by coherent policies. All new regulations, the Review stresses, should serve the public interest and not restrict trade, particularly in the priority areas of major infrastructure investment in the ports, rail and shipping sectors."
The OECD work on Measuring Regulatory Performance offers a framework to help countries evaluate the design and implementation of their regulatory and target their reform efforts. After two papers on regulatory performance, a third (authors David Parker and Colin Kirkpatrick) surveys the literature on existing attempts at measuring the contribution of regulatory policy to improved performance and gives some substance to a number of well-known truths (blogger’s summary):
- the effects of regulation are context specific: regulatory governance and the institutional framework in a country may mitigate the damaging effects of poor regulation. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and the regulatory management processes need to be adapted to meet each country‘s institutional and regulatory endowment.
- it is difficult to provide robust quantitative evidence of a causal relationship between a regulatory policy change and the impact on economic outcomes such as economic growth. This highlights the importance of evaluating the effects of regulatory policy and management in terms of better regulation outcomes, rather than relying only on evidence of economic impact;
- research has focused more on the costs of regulation than on the benefits and therefore does not necessarily capture the true welfare effects of regulation and therefore of reducing regulation;
- impacts of some of the components of the better regulation agenda (like consultation, RIA or ex-post evaluation) are still insufficiently studied in terms of the net economic benefits (tip from Helge Schroeder.)
01 October 2012
- greater flexibility for small businesses to decide whether or not their company accounts should be audited.
- more freedom for firms to determine the most appropriate set of accounting rules for them
- Removing legislation that dictates the precise location and design of no smoking signs in workplaces
- Carrying out impact assessments for every new regulatory proposal
- Improving the informative value of roadmaps
- Making the Commission´s Impact Assessment Board more independent
- Systematic ex post-evaluations from the end users perspective
- Strengthening the role of the High Level Group
- Consulting the public. (end of quote)."
According to information in a European Cement Association note, the new directorate will have a staff of 19 headed by a director (see vacancy notice) who has been recruited. It will also look at the potential impact of proposed legislation on individual MS policies. This in-house review of EU legislative proposals was long overdue since the advent of the Lisbon treaty, which gave the EP greater co-decision powers. MEPs would no longer have to rely on the European Commission's impact assessments, but would have their own researched justifications for their initiatives, thereby supporting the parliamentary positions in negotiations with the member states. The new directorate will be responsible for scrutiny of amendments by MEPs, and support the Parliament's role in economic surveillance of national budgetary policies. It will also conduct budgetary impact reviews.
The Parliament has also created an impact supervisory board, composed of 13 MEPs. The board's task is to set out the priorities for impact assessments, and decide how the Parliament will evaluate the impact that proposed EU legislation would have on individual policies in the 27 member states.
For background see file on EP Resolution dated 8 June 2011 on guaranteeing independent impact assessments and 3May 2012 meeting of the Stoiber Group, which noted that the new unit also examines "the cost of non-Europe" in all RIAs, under the term "European added value."
The new unit has already published an example of critical assessment of a Commission RIA, on the issue of the audit market (18 September 2012).
These are crucial times in France: last week saw the first budget of the Ayrault government, which includes 10bn of savings but also 20bn of new taxes. A national discussion is ongoing on if and how much this budget can contribute to reducing the public debt which now stands at 91% of GDP, as predicted by the Audit Court July report.
20 September 2012
Presentation of article: "Actualmente la regulación inteligente es el conjunto más avanzado de principios y herramientas disponibles para ayudar a los responsables de la política pública en garantizar un uso más efectivo y transparente en el uso de la regulación como medio para garantizar sus objetivos de política. Este breve artículo ofrece una visión general de su desarrollo en los últimos 10 años, finalizando con un panorama de las mejores prácticas en el mundo."Another reference post, the most visited of Smart Regulation.net is HQ Definitions (712 hits to date since its posting in January 2010).
A second set of amendments provides for a more efficient repeal or 'sunsetting' of regulations after 10 years, and facilitates reviews of those regulations, for example, by looking at regulations across a particular industry sector as a whole. The Act provides that the sunsetting dates for regulations are staggered, so that not all reviews of sunsetting regulations are due at the same time. This will enable the review of sunsetting regulations to be conducted in a more efficient and effective manner (from our Australian federal correspondent).
For the moment, the report is in Swedish only, but it may soon be published in English. On the Board's website, there is already some good material on the issue, see for instance "Smart approach to the single market " (Feb 2012). The annual reports of the Swedish BR Council are also very interesting.
18 September 2012
In a previous post (November 2011) this blog reported action by APEC to strengthen good regulatory practices, following the the Honolulu declaration, to assist member economies establish closer economic and trade relations.
In 2012, under the general objective of reinforcing "regulatory coherence" as listed as a priority in the Honolulu declaration, APEC implemented a capacity building project to conduct regulatory impact analysis (RIA) training for APEC developing economies. The project, developed by Australia, and co-sponsored by Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and the Russian Federation, involved a series of training courses and workshops in interested developing economies, aimed at senior economic ministry and regulatory officials. For background, see 2011 NZ proposal to APEC. The first training course was provided by the Australian Office of Best Practice Regulation, with assistance from Mexico and New Zealand, to approximately 60 Russian officials on 9 and 10 February in Moscow. Subsequently, New Zealand provided training to Thailand and Malaysia, Mexico provided training to Chile and Peru, and Australia provided training to the Philippines. In the last two weeks of August, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico jointly provided training to Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei (see attached photo), and conducted an information exchange with China. Australia and New Zealand then conducted a workshop on regulatory impact analysis in Vietnam. For a more recent expression of this APEC policy, see Kazan (Russia) meeting of APEC ministers in charge of Trade (June 2012).
14 September 2012
The most important initiative is the decreto-ley anti-tramites,a red tape cutting and legal simplification exercise based on a delegation from Parliament to the president (Mr Santos) to take all steps required to repeal "burdensome or unnecessary" procedures during a six-month period ending in January 2012. A more complete description of its content is available on the Legislative Observer site, with most significant measures described on Urna de Cristal. This "'omnibus" streamlined many procedures, gave legal status to certain electronic records (like company accounts) and modernised many procedures, like replacing fingerprint ID by official documentation.
A public consultation on further steps is also under way where citizens are invited to "denounce" a time consuming or uselfess administrative procedure, under the banner of "Anti-Red-Tape Crusade". The site reports that 70,000 citizens have already contributed. Most popular demands: the deletion of certification of documents, especially the three-monhly declaration of existence (to prove you are not dead) or the authentication by notary of each sheet of company accounts.
Another channel, more specifically designed for business, is the Competitive Regulation program, which comprises an online questionnaire but also a schedule of regional roundtables by sector, set up by the ministry of industry, trade and tourism in partnership with private actors.
For the same stakeholders, the Confederation of Chambers of Commerce has set up a network of well endowed one-stop-shops for registering a new business or formalising an existing one, with offices throughout the country where new entrepreneurs can receive legal help and carry out all the related procedures.
Finally, under development, a single online database of all administrative procedures (SUIT) already helps citizens, business and public officials (each has a separate access module) find relevant legislation. The site contains the official forms as well as information on completing the requirements to secure an ID document, a passport, a driving licence, etc.
Pennsylvania's new Small Business Regulatory Reform Act, amends the State Regulatory Review Act to require state agencies to consider the impact of any proposed regulations on small businesses. Similar protection exists in the European Union under the Small Business Act policy of 2008, to adjust regulation according to the size of companies and avoid the "one-size-fits-all" solution.
The PA Small Business Regulatory Reform Act requires state agencies to identify the types of small businesses that would be impacted as well as the potential administrative costs of proposed regulations. If a proposed regulation is determined to have an adverse impact on small businesses, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission must provide a less intrusive or costly alternative that still achieves the intended statutory purpose. The objective is to require agencies to seek input from small business to better balance public welfare with economic growth. Additional competitiveness is to be obtained by reducing unnecessary regulatory hurdles and costly mandates. For good background note, see Small Business Council.
Meanwhile in the UK, the importance of cutting red tape specifically for SMEs is confirmed by new research published today by smallbusiness.co.uk an online advice site.
Seeking to define the scope of the use of agencies, the report finds that they are best identified by a degree of autonomy (not independence) and "structuring responsibility" for public policies. They must be distinguished from other resembling types of authorities such as "independent (economic) regulators" (called in French independent administrative authorities) and "operators" which is a budgetary concept where the entity lacks the structuring responsibility. There are in France some 103 agencies, employing 8% of public officials.
The report concludes with 25 recommendations for making the best use of this form of public service, most of which contain lessons certainly useful in many other countries.
11 September 2012
"Parliament, together with the other European institutions and the Member States, must now do its part to ensure that the momentum gained is upheld and that activities are stepped up in all relevant areas. There is in particular a dire need for the Interinstitutional Agreement on better law-making from 2003 to be updated to the current legislative environment created by the Lisbon Treaty, (our emphasis) for instance concerning correlation tables, the practical modalities for legislative procedures and the demarcation between delegated and implementing acts. Action is also needed in the areas of subsidiarity checks by national parliaments and when it comes to impact assessments conducted by the Parliament and the Council. Lastly, adequate follow-up of the functioning of adopted legislation needs to be made, not least in order to gain feed-back to be used for the amendment of legislation identified as possible to ameliorate, but also in order to combat the practice of ‘gold-plating’, i.e. the introduction of additional national requirements not included in a directive, thus creating additional unnecessary burdens for citizens and business. The Commission is foreseen to publish a report on the progress of the smart regulation agenda in the latter part of 2012. Parliament should make sure to remain vigilant in identifying shortcomings and suggesting improvements in this area." All these points are fully developped in the motion (tip from M. Hainque).