Impact Assessments: Room for Improvement? - UK GOV

On 3rd August 2020, The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) published its first short paper “Impact Assessments: Room for Improvement?”, in order to inspire a discussion and comments about its contents with internal and external actors to Government.

As an independent organization embodied in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), it is called to scrutinize the quality of Regulatory Impact Assessments (IAs) produced within the British Government to support legislative proposals.

After a brief presentation about current functioning of regulatory appraisal system, three areas of potential concern around IAs activities are emphasized, including lack of wider analysis (due to insufficiency of evidence and estimation methods), lack of evaluation, and short timescales.

Therefore, the RPC first suggests a better use of tools such as big data to take advantage of a vastity of reliable evidences as a possible solution for more complete, relevant and credible analysis. However, it is highlighted how the misuse of such methods may lead to potential risks concerning privacy. At the same time a more precise guidance on different quantitative and numerical techniques is desirable.

Secondly, the independent body argues that a major examination of all relevant regulation already in force since the earliest stages of the decision-making process (comparable to the EU Commission ‘Evaluate First’ principle) could empower cultural ideas of evaluating, assessing, monitoring and reviewing.

Thirdly, as it is known, IAs are often produced in short timescales and this is definitely not an optimal factor to collect strong evidences to support proposals. Thus, it is suggested to use exiting evidence bases from government bodies, among which the Office for National Statistics (ONS) or the National Audit Office (NAO).

One of the main goals of such document is to promote better regulation culture with a collaborative approach.

(Francesco Calisi, Former EU Approach on Better Regulation Course Student)