UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Better Regulation at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Press Release   •   Feb 01, 2010 11:32 GMT

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has made progress putting better regulation principles into practice according to a new report from the Better Regulation Executive published today.

The report, part of a series of reviews of national regulators, examined how the MCA matched up to the principles of effective regulation set out by Philip Hampton in 2005.  The MCA works to prevent loss of life, improve maritime safety, and protect the marine environment.

The report set out a number of important areas where the MCA could look to strengthen its performance, but recognised the progress it has made, including:

  • operating in an international regulatory environment where  it maintains its world class reputation for quality;
  • its risk-based outlook, using its standing positively to influence the progress of the international regulatory framework; and
  • the excellent level of communication with external stakeholders and evidence that this leads to positive changes across the sector.

The report found that not all Hampton principles were fully embedded within the MCA, and recommended:

  • a more systematic implementation of regulation;
  • greater focus on, and advice tailored to, smaller and more specific sectors, rather than solely concentrating on larger businesses; and
  • strengthening the MCA’s commitment to customer focus with consistency.

Notes to editors

  • The Better Regulation Executive’s full report on The Maritime and Coastguard Agency can be found at
  • The Maritime and Coastguard Agency was established in April 1998, following the merger of the Marine Safety Agency and the Coastguard Agency. It is an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport (DfT).
  • The review team was drawn from the Better Regulation Executive within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and from government and the regulatory sector, including The Pensions Regulator, Institute of Internal Auditors UK and Ireland and the National Audit Office.
  • The Hampton Implementation Review process, that will examine a total of 31 national regulators, follow two independent reports by Sir Philip Hampton and Professor Richard Macrory on making inspection and enforcement of regulation more effective.
  • The Hampton Review in 2005 - led by Sir Philip Hampton - recommended an end to the one size fits all approach to regulation and that regulators should take a risk-based approach to enforcement and information gathering. Among its findings were that regulators should carry out inspections only when needed and avoid unnecessary form-filling and duplication of effort or information.
  • In 2006 Professor Richard Macrory's review of penalties for failure to comply with regulatory obligations recommended that regulators should focus on outcomes, rather than action.  He recommended that sanctions should be aimed at changing the behaviour of non-compliant businesses and eliminating any financial gain from non-compliance.
  • Examples of how individuals and businesses are benefiting from changes to regulation can be found on The site also invites suggestions for what else can be done to reduce red tape.
  • Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

    The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


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