Regulatory policy

Better Regulation in Europe: United Kingdom


         United Kingdom                                                                                        

Contents | Executive summary | How to obtain this publication | More information 

Better Regulation in Europe: United Kingdom

The EU 15 Better Regulation project is a partnership between the OECD and the European Commission. It draws on the initiatives for Better Regulation promoted by both organisations over the last few years.


The OECD report, including recommendations on Better Regulation in Portugal are available by clicking on each chapter heading below.


The Executive Summary (pdf format) contains the OECD assessment and recommendations.


Chapter 1: Strategy and policies for Better Regulation

  • The vigour, breadth and ambition of the United Kingdom’s Better Regulation policies are impressive.
  • A complex institutional environment, combined with the rapid succession of initiatives, generates communication challenges.
  • Good initiatives have been taken to evaluate specific policies, but there is also a need for strategic evaluation of the big picture.

Chapter 2: Institutional capacities for Better Regulation

  • The United Kingdom presents a complex but well articulated institutional environment which requires active management.
  • Reinforcement of the network of Better Regulation relationships across all branches of government is needed.
  • There remains a culture /capacity gap, and the carrots and sticks for better performance may not be strong enough.

Chapter 3: Transparency through consultation and communication

  • The United Kingdom has a well established culture of open consultations aimed at maximising transparency in the process.
  • There is, however, evidence of an important gap between the code of practice principles and stakeholder views on the process in practice.
  • Communication on aspects of the regulatory stock and flow is good, and would be even better with a consolidated database of regulations.

Chapter 4: The development of new regulations

  • Forward planning for important policies and legislation has recently been strengthened.
  • The Better Regulation Executive pilots for dealing with interlocking policies look promising, and are an obvious extension of the impact assessment concept for complex policy areas.
  • The work of the Risk and Regulation Advisory Council (RRAC) for the development of new risk-based approaches is potentially groundbreaking.

Chapter 5: The management and rationalisation of existing regulations

  • The simplification programme for the reduction of burdens on business is well-structured, has already delivered some savings and promises more.
  • Business is fundamentally supportive of the initiative, but perceptions of achievements appear relatively poor compared with the objective progress being made.
  • Further development of initiatives aimed at citizens as well as frontline public sector workers, as some other OECD countries have done, would help to redress the balance of a business oriented agenda.

Chapter 6: Compliance, enforcement, appeals

  • The practical roll-out of the Hampton recommendations is a fundamental and comprehensive effort to embed risk-based regulatory management at ground level.
  • Rebalancing enforcement resources away from inspections in order to put more effort into preventative advice on compliance is a major step forward.
  • Recent developments appear to be reinforcing the judiciary’s engagement in regulatory issues.

Chapter 7: The interface between the national level and the European Commission

  • EU-origin regulations make up an important and growing share of the regulatory stock, and the EU dimension of Better Regulation is rightly emphasised.
  • The institutional structures for handling EU regulations are well established and appear to work smoothly.
  • The United Kingdom is one of the few EU member states to require ex ante impact assessment of EU regulations, but the approach could be strengthened.

Chapter 8: The interface between sub national and national levels of government

  • A large number of diverse players are engaged at the local level, generating a complexity that needs to be managed.
  • The United Kingdom has engaged in a vigorous effort to strengthen both the national-local and local-local interfaces in Better Regulation.
  • Use of e-Government to support simplification may need further development.

How to obtain this publication

Download the complete PDF e-book: Better Regulation in Europe: United Kingdom

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For further information, please contact Caroline Varley or Shayne MacLachlan