Regulatory Policy Committee (UK) Chairman on Independent Scrutiny and the Better Regulation Framework

The UK Regulatory Policy Committee Chairman, Stephen Gibson, commented on the relevance of the independent scrutiny and on the current Better Regulation Framework (BRF).

This, following his reflections on the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory reform independent report and on the exemptions to the Better Regulation Framework and how they might change.

The note displays as the BRF has been developed to ensure an evidence-based decision approach and the consideration of costs and benefits while introducing new regulations.

It is highlighted the value of independent scrutiny. The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) job is also to provide independent scrutiny during the introduction of new regulations and is of first-rate importance to improve the Government’s decisions and overall transparency.

Indeed, it is specified that such support brings an independent analytical perspective to the process and to maintain the focus on the impact and potential consequences of regulations on those truly affected by them.

Moreover, the independent scrutiny allows actual accountability and transparency and facilitates the communication and sharing of best practices across the government. All this, giving reassurance to Parliament and external stakeholders on how the process is being handled.

Following such introduction, the note focuses on the currently open consultation on “Reforming the framework for better regulation”, closing on 1 October 2021.

The RPC welcomes the consultation and explains why independent scrutiny should remain central in the system due to its effective contribution to the process.

Actually, the RPC represents as it should have even more space and opportunities to contribute. 

As previously stated, the Committee expresses as the independent scrutiny of impact assessment should happen earlier in the decision-making process:

  • Prior to consultation;
  • Before Parliamentary approval;
  • Post-implementation.

Concerning the first one, the outcome would consist of a timelier consideration of options and an external input to ensure that the consultation stage solicits the best evidence on impacts.

Thus, to assess policy options and understand if regulation is actually needed before commencing the process.

Regarding the scrutiny before parliamentary approval, it is displayed as the analysis of the estimated costs of the impact assessment should be continued and with a greater transparency on the costs, by also using data collected and published post-implementation. Thus, with the aim of confirming and monitor the estimated costs.
Moreover, the RPC should also have the chance to “red rate” on what data and evidence will be collected to monitor and to evaluate the impact of a regulation. The latter to ensure that policies can be effectively reviewed following their implementation.

On the third point, the scrutiny post-implementation would be crucial to understand if the regulation introduced is working and if and how it should be amended.

Lastly, the RPC represents as the above-presented proposals do not require a radical reform and they would be crucial for a more effective support to the Government’s objectives. Thus, not the opposite to the goal of a regulatory process more streamlined.








Luca Megale
is a PhD Student at LUMSA University of Rome 

and tutor of the European Master in Law and Economics - EMLE (Rome term).