UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Good Progress By Better Regulators

Press Release   •   Feb 01, 2010 11:28 GMT

The UK’s regulatory framework is making good progress putting better regulation principles into practice, according to a set of new reports published today by the Better Regulation Executive.

The new reports, on the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Forestry Commission (FC) and the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Division and Inspectorate (ASPI) are part of a series of reviews of national regulators, and examined how the regulators matched up to the principles of effective regulation set out by Philip Hampton in 2005.

The EHRC’s report showed positive progress, highlighting a strong and effective network of advisory committees to help develop guidance for businesses and taking a proactive approach to making all of their work risk-based. The report made a number of recommendations to help the EHRC strengthen its work, including better risk-targeting through improved use of intelligence and communication.

The CAA’s report reflected its strong performance noting the excellent regulatory outcomes in the UK from the ‘partnership’ model of regulation between the CAA and aviation industry. It also commented on how its technical staff offer extensive, constructive advice to businesses and strong intelligence analysis of safety data from the UK and abroad had resulted in well-informed regulatory activity. The report also put forward a number of recommendations to improve further their regulatory work, including developing a stronger relationship with the Department for Business regarding consumer-related aviation issues, and increasing the clarity and accessibility of its guidance materials.

DVLA was praised for maintaining a high level of productive stakeholder interaction, reducing burdens on businesses, and clear evidence of risk based, intelligence- led investigations, and pursuing prosecutions only after issuing advice and warnings. The report recommended areas for strengthening its work, including allowing businesses to apply for licences online and further development of its fleet relicensing scheme to save businesses more time and money.

The Forestry Commission report found that it was performing well in many areas, such as a successful risk-based approach to inspections, provision of clear, accessible and well-targeted advice and consideration and adoption of a wide range of non- regulatory approaches and delivery mechanisms to achieve effective woodland management. The report also highlighted areas for improvement for the Commission, including taking a more comprehensive risk-based approach to its operations and exploring how it can broaden its range of sanctions.

The report on the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Division and Inspectorate, showed that they were an effective and well-respected regulator providing advice that is valued and respected by stakeholders, from industry, academic and the voluntary sectors. It also highlighted the progress made in making the revised EU Directive suitable for the UK. In contrast, despite efforts to improve the licensing system, the quality of IT support was affecting the processing of applications and the image of the organisation. The report recommended urgent work to address this issue as well as the improvement of the presentation of advice and guidance through their website.

Notes to editors

1.                  The reports published by the Better Regulation Executive can be found at www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/bre/inspection-enforcement/implementing-principles/reviewing-regulators/HIR%20Reports/page52313.html

2.                  The review teams were drawn from the Better Regulation Executive within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and from government and the regulatory sector, including the Insolvency Service, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Financial Reporting Council, LBRO, Driving Standards Agency, Natural England, Health and Safety Executive, Chartered Institute for Environmental Health, Financial Services Authority, Charity Commission and Gambling Commission.

3.                  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.

4.                  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.

5.                  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.

6.                  Examples of how individuals and businesses are benefiting from changes to regulation can be found on www.betterregulation.gov.uk. 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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