Select Committee on Regulatory Reform Fifth Report

6  Conclusions

99.  Is the BRE getting results? The CBI told us that: "The BRE has, in our view, been a positive force in driving regulatory reform across Whitehall, [which] would occur at a slower pace without [its] input and influence. It has encouraged Departments to raise their game in communicating with business, offering advice and holding focus groups on regulation, and has helped develop a better regulation culture throughout Government."[173] In oral evidence the CBI representative referred to the UK being ahead of the game in Europe in areas such as impact assessments, common commencement dates, and simplification plans.[174] The IoD-another body with high standards in the area of regulatory reform-referred to "the important contribution of the BRE and the political will that its creation demonstrates."[175]

100.  Professor Radaelli said "we should not underestimate the achievement of having learned about better regulation - most EU countries are still struggling with this stage…The Better Regulation Executive is right to say that they are leaders in Europe."[176] He went on to say that the challenge was in better measurement of progress and accountability and in showing how activities are contributing to major desirable changes. We agree and we recommend that the BRE focus its attention on delivery of current objectives and on setting clear future objectives and measuring against them.

101.  We believe that, in its short lifetime, the BRE has made a significant contribution to improving the UK's regulatory environment on the basis of a demanding agenda. Its major challenges are to maintain strategic focus-particularly if the new programme of regulatory budgets is adopted-and to ensure that there is proper quality control and measurement of deliverables against clear targets, including in relation to burdens reduction figures. It needs, too, to be rigorous in assessing its own performance, to focus on improving perceptions, and to look at improving some of its internal operating procedures as we have suggested.

102.  Finally, we are left in some doubt about the extent to which the citizen in general is considered in matters relating to the introduction of better regulation. That is an issue to which we may well return.

173   Ev 38 Back

174   Q 34 Back

175   Ev 35 Back

176   Ev 190 Back

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Prepared 17 July 2008