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Is Better Regulation about asking the right questions?
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Is Better Regulation about asking the right questions?


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Looks at the recent trends for Better Regulation in EU policy-making, the use of impact assessment and asks whether this really delivers policies of benefit for society.

Looks at the recent trends for Better Regulation in EU policy-making, the use of impact assessment and asks whether this really delivers policies of benefit for society.

Published in: Business, Health & Medicine

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  • Transcript

    • 1. Is Better Regulation simply about asking the right questions? Tamsin Rose
    • 2. From Impact Assessment to Better Regulation
      • IA was a key theme in 90s. Highly technical, drawing on economic and environmental modelling, led by academics. Strong focus on environmental impacts of large scale infrastructure projects.
      • BR for 00s. Precaution to be balanced with proportion and risk based approach. Less is more .
      • IA = lifecycle approach, empirical, triple bottom line
      • BR = Less, cheaper, more efficient, burden on business. One in, one out principle for laws
    • 3. What is the problem?
      • Not all EU laws are implemented equally across the EU.
      • Not all EU laws are monitored or enforced adequately.
      • Not all EU laws are clear, workable or meet their objectives.
      • Therefore a new approach is needed:
      • Solutions proposed must be realistic, achievable and technically sound.
      • Policy must be based on evidence, science and risk.
      • Deliver appropriate conditions under which citizens and businesses can maximise their potential.
      • Tackle failures in implementation and compliance.
      • Designed for the complex and interpendent policy environment.
    • 4. Basic elements of BR
      • Identification of goals and needs
      • Stakeholder identification and involvement at all stages
      • Consultation and transparency
      • Evaluation culture and strategies to enhance it
      • Use of scientific evidence
      • Clear incentives
      • Capacity building (training, systems & resources)
      • Solution must be proportionate to the problem and to the administrative cost to implement and administer
      • BR can contribute to democracy but not sufficient in itself
      • Success requires leadership, continuous effort, supportive infrastructure and good organisation
      • Active and engaged civil society is essential to effective regulation.
    • 5. Is participation of experts and public interest advocates sufficient to ensure that public policy impacts are understood?
      • Openness, accessibility, anonymity, and robustness were all technical features of the network that became public values as well. Decisions about technical design standards usually made in private bodies such as the IETF and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These operate largely outside of the public eye and with little involvement of public interest groups or policymakers. Once the sole province of engineers, academics, and industry, the explosion of commercial use in the internet brought large numbers of private interests into the standards process. The result is less convergence on views of the internet architecture, growing risk that public interests fade.
      • Internet and other ICT technical decisions can increasingly have far-reaching implications on property rights, personal privacy concerns, and the public ’s access to information.
    • 6. Participation of all stakeholders or listening to selected voices?
      • Transparency - what is the process, what is the timeframe, what is the expected outcome, what opportunities exist to participate?
      • Ownership - who sets the agenda, selects the stakeholders?
      • Equity and redressing the balance of power
      • Six Presidency initiative gives business a clearer, strategic voice in the EU legislative process.
      • Technology Platforms, Cars 21, G10 all designed to be multi-stakeholder but participation by non commercial groups, e.g civil society is very limited.
    • 7. What does this mean for public health?
      • Balance of individual freedoms, rights and responsibilities and those of society.
      • Social Contract - shared risks, equal stake in society and governance.
      • Political and economic inequalities have grown in most European countries. Globalisation acts as an amplifier?
      • Changing perceptions of government (too big, interfering, self-interested politicians). Disengagement from political processes.
      • Growth of civil society and blurring of lines between not-for-profit concept and commercial interests.
    • 8. Results of a study on BR and the environment (IEEP, Nov 2005)
      • Commission Guidelines on IA are not fully respected by various DGs;
      • The assessment and quantification of economic impacts has been emphasized at the expense of environmental, social and international impacts, limiting the contribution of IA to more coherent EU policies;
      • costs of legislation are assessed far more than the benefits;
      • short-term considerations overshadow the long-term .
      • Most significantly, there have been attempts to re-tool the IA system as an instrument exclusively to promote competitiveness .
      • It needs to embrace, for example, more coherent regulation which integrates the environment into sectoral policies; better implementation of existing legislation; and, stronger, more balanced stakeholder and citizen participation .
    • 9. Results of a study on alternatives to Regulation (BRC, Dec 2005)
      • EU c lassic prescriptive rules and regulations stipulate both the objectives and how they should be achieved. This approach can stifle innovation and impose unnecessary burdens and costs .
      • Alternatives to classic regulation are advantages for policy makers trying to address fast moving and complex issues. For example, alternatives are generally quicker to implement , especially where the organisations and businesses likely to be affected are involved.
      • EU regulation can be a long and difficult without an effective f ast-track mechanism. As alternatives tend to have less prescriptive detail written into statute, they are inherently more flexible and can be amended or simplified more easily in light of changing needs or circumstances.
      • Classic regulation has no guarantee of compliance outcomes.
    • 10. Asking the right questions about Better Regulation
      • What is the real issue that needs to be addressed?
      • What are the public policy objectives for this issue? Whose evidence is used?
      • Who leads and therefore manages and defines the process?
      • Which stakeholders are involved and in whose name do they speak?
      • Is the process open for input by anyone and is it transparent?
      • Where will the benefits accrue and will they be shared equally in an unequal society?
      • Who pays the greatest price?
    • 11. References used
      • A guide to Health Impact Assessment (New Zealand)
      • Policy Impact Assessment on public interest in technical standards for the internet
      • Conference on new directions in impact assessment for development
      • Conference on impact assessment for a new europe
      • 'For better, for worse' study on better regulation and the environment (IEEP)
      • Routes to better regulation, report of the Better Regulation Commission (UK)
      • Six Presidency initiative on Better Regulation