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10 March 2014

British regulatory watchdog shows teeth

The UK independent regulatory oversight body, the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) has just released its 2013 annual activity report, which makes good reading for experts seeking to ascertain the possible authority of such an institution.
The RPC gives figures on how many new departmental proposals for regulatory change it has examined and how it has dealt with departmental estimates as to the anticipated regulatory costs for business and others, showing a strong determination to improve the evidence base for decisions concerning new regulation.
Excerpts from the Executive Summary:
- (the Committee) "rated 75% of first-time impact assessment submissions as fit for purpose, a reduction from 81% in 2012. The reasons for this are not completely clear. In some cases, the work may have been hurried due to parliamentary timetables. In other cases, the pressure to meet the One-in, Two-out policy may have reduced the accuracy of departmental estimates. The introduction of the fast track system in August 2012 makes comparisons between years harder, because some simpler cases no longer need to go through the full scrutiny route. This means that those subject to full scrutiny are now, on average, more complex.
- (the Committee) published four red-rated opinions as a result of departments consulting on proposed new regulations despite the RPC rating the impact assessment as not fit for purpose. "

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