Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
What is your strategic vision for the delivery
of regulatory reform?
1. Effective and well-focused regulation
plays a vital role in correcting market failures, promoting fairness
and increasing competition. Society expects government to ensure
protection for the general public, consumers and employees consistent
with the best international standards, and these expectations
grow over time.
2. But inefficient regulation imposes costs
on the private, public and third sectors that are unnecessary
for achieving the desired policy outcomes. These unnecessary costs
are a waste of the nation's resources and affect our national
competitiveness and the quality of public services.
3. The UK's regulatory reform agenda is
therefore focussing on making sure the Government regulates in
a way that reduces unnecessary burdens, and works for everyone
by being justified and proportionate so that the UK's regulatory
frameworks remain fresh, fit for purpose, and support a fair and
4. The Better Regulation Executive (BRE)
leads this regulatory reform agenda across government. Working
with and through others, our aims are to:
eliminate obsolete and inefficient
regulation (the "stock");
achieve user-friendly and effective
new regulation (the "flow55);,and
improve the way regulations are delivered:
in particular by tackling inconsistencies and overlapping inspections
and information requests by different regulatory bodies, and by
ensuring enforcement is proportionate and risk-based ("culture").
5. We are working to deliver these aims
reforming the processes by which
the UK government and the European Union makes and reviews regulations,
and changing the culture within government and the regulatory
community to increase the understanding that regulation comes
at a cost which needs to be identified and managed; and
intervening in specific policy areas:
in particular working to support and challenge departments and
regulators as they develop and review policy to make sure that
it is effective and keeps regulatory costs to a minimum.
6. In addition, we put a high emphasis on
engaging with businesses, third sector bodies and the public sector
front line to understand their issues in dealing with regulation
and to communicate the government's agenda to them.
7. The Government's better regulation programme
is not delivered by the BRE alone. Regulatory Reform is a cross-government
goal. The role of the BRE is to lead the overall direction of
regulatory reform and support and challenge departments and regulators
as they deliver reform and advise Ministers on the overall cumulative
burden of regulation on business. Individual departments and regulatory
bodies are responsible for delivering individual parts of the
programme: for example developing and delivering simplification
programmes; for ensuring that their new regulations are effective
and as light-touch as possible and based on effective impact assessment;
for leading internal programmes of culture change; and for managing
the rationalisation of inspectorates.
The Committee asked for an explanation of why
the regulatory initiatives that were selected for implementation
were chosen in preference to others, and for evidence of their
potential cost effectiveness and expected outcomes. What was the
reasoning behind your selection of various initiatives and what
evidence supported the choices that were made?
8. The individual elements of the better
regulation programme are chosen to deliver the vision set out
9. The programme involves a combination
of workstreams focused on:
process reform and culture change;
detailed work in specific policy
at both the UK and European level, directed at:
10. The table at Appendix A sets out how
key elements of the better regulation programme fit into this
11. The elements of the programme originate
the Better Regulation Task Force
"Less is More" Report and the Hampton Reports which
the Government accepted before the Better Regulation Executive
was established, and which contained their own evidence base;
BRE engagement with businesses, third
sector organisations, the public-sector front line, local authorities,
regulators and government departments, and through making use
of data such as the administrative burdens database (this highlighted
the top four areas of burdenplanning and building, employment,
health and safety and consumer policy) and an analysis of business
12. Elements of the programme have been
selected for their potential to impact on areas of major concern
and burden as well as to deal with irritants. A number of workstreams
are been collaborative and have worked to bring a better regulation
perspective to other Department's work, such as our recent work
with the Flanagan Review of Policing and the our work with the
Healthcare Commission on the development of a risk based inspection
In the evidence sessions you said that the impact
assessment for the extension of the school leaving age caused
a dramatic change in policy approach. How has the policy changed,
13. The Department for Education and Skills
(now the Department for Children, Schools and Families), worked
closely with the BRE and other departments including the Department
for Trade and Industry (now the Department for Business, Enterprise
and Regulatory Reform) and HM Treasury from the earliest stages
of their work to develop policy to raise the participation age
in education and training to 18 years. This engagement across
departments enabled a set of policy proposals to be formulated
that took account of the potential impacts on business and other
14. Officials from the BRE provided a substantial
contribution to the development of the initial regulatory impact
assessment, which helped to produce a thorough and robust analysis
of the potential impact of the policy. In the early stages of
policy development the role of employers and potential costs business
were considered and proposals refined in light of thisfor
example, an early idea that employers could be required to dismiss
a 16 or 17 year old employee if they dropped out of training was
rejected as not feasible for business to implement and not included
in the consultation document.
15. In March 2007, these proposals went
out to public consultation, accompanied by the initial regulatory
impact assessment. At this stage and throughout the process DCSF
continued to work with the BRE, other government departments,
and external stakeholders to develop their assessment of the impacts
of the proposals. Following consultation with stakeholders and
further work with other departments, some refinements were made
to the policy, partly as a result of evidence that was gathered
on potential costs to employers.
16. For example, the Green Paper suggested
that employers should be required to check that a young person
applying for a full time long term job with them was in training
or education, for instance by checking with the electronic tracking
system operated by local authorities. Following the consultation
and further evidence on the impacts, a similar requirement was
adopted, but with the onus on the young person to produce proof
to the employer that they were in training or education.
Are you working to encourage greater consistency
between different types of regulatory form (including web-based
forrns)s and to achieve fewer changes year on year?
17. The BRE is encouraging regulators both
to reduce the number of forms, and to design forms that are consistent
within the same sector and as easy to use as possible. However,
we do not intend to be overly prescriptive on the,format of form
design, as there is often a good reason for differences.
18. The Hampton Implementation Reviews demonstrate
that regulators are improving on both design and quantity.
19. The BRE will publish guidance this Spring
to encourage regulators to involve businesses in the design of
their forms, and keep forms under review to ensure that the burdens
placed on businesses do not outweigh the benefits.
20. Many regulators are now introducing
web-based forms. The BRE is watching these developments closely
and will identify good practice as cases arise.
Are you involved in food regulation? Sf so, how?
21. As explained above, the BRE works to
support and challenge departments and regulators through understanding
their priorities, influencing the design of future regulations
in the UK and Europe and helping simplify existing regulations.
This includes working with the Food Standards Agency, DEFRA and
other Departments with an interest in food-related regulation.
22. The BRE also works to promote culture
change in how regulations are delivered, including making sure
that enforcement is proportionate and risk-based. We work both
with the Food Standards Agency and with local authority regulatory
services departments on this.
BERR's PSA targets refer to improving the economic
performance of English regions and reducing the gap in growth
rates between them. What steps are being taken to measure and
compare equivalent data for Scotland and Wales, and what, if any,
is the involvement of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly
in such activity?
23. Devolved Administrations are responsible
for the day-to-day management of their own economies, particularly
in relation to areas such as economic growth, business and regional
support. The Government works in partnership with the devolved
administrations to promote economic growth within an over arching
framework of UK fiscal and monetary policies which aims to promote
the economic interests of all.
24. BERR's regional economic performance
PSA target is solely focused on the English regions, but both
the national productivity PSA and the PSA to deliver the conditions
for business success are focussed on the UK. Both of these PSA's
play an important role in improving the economic performance of
the devolved administrations and the English regions.
What has been the impact of the BRE move from
the Cabinet Office to DBERR, particularly with regard to efficiency
25. The responsibility for better regulation
moved from the Cabinet Office to the new Department of Business,
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in June 2007.
26. The Better Regulation Executive remains
a cross-Government unit with an unchanged role of leading the
Government's programme of regulatory reform. The BRE continues
to support and challenge those responsible for regulations which
impact on the private, public and third sectors, including other
parts of BERR.
27. The move to BERR has created new opportunities
for the BRE to drive regulatory reform by strengthening our connection
with other elements of the government's business-focussed agenda.
28. Any major organisational change causes
a certain amount of uncertainty for those involved. In the first
few months, a number of BRE staff felt unsettled in our new environment,
so some staff were given the opportunity to return to other posts
within the Cabinet Office.
29. This transitional period is now over
and morale is now once again high.
Were there any transitional difficulties and,
if so, have they now been dealt with?
30. As with any large organisational change,
there were some difficulties but mainly relating to logistical
issues such as finding enough desks to house the Better Regulation
Executive within the new department and transferring information,
files and systems.
31. On whole the move progressed very smoothly.
It took approximately two months to physically move from the Cabinet
Office to BERR, however we were able to make arrangements to access
BERR IT systems from our Cabinet Office location during the transitional
32. A few issues from the machinery of government
change remain outstanding, the main one being creating a common
pay and grading system and promotion arrangements for BRE and
ex-DTI staff. But the transitional issues are largely resolved.
How does your vision of Regulatory Reform influence
the way your organisation is structured?
33. The Better Regulation Executive is led
by William Sargent, its Executive Chair and Jitinder Kohli, its
Chief Executive. William and Jitinder are supported by a Strategic
34. There are four business units within
the Regulatory Reform Directorate
works with Government Departments to influence new policy
developments and to simplify existing regulations that impact
on the private, public and third sectors. It leads the work strand
focused on regulatory reform in the European Union. It leads the
BRE's work on culture change in central government departments.
And it also leads the BRE's relationships with individual businesses
and business organisations and public sector and third sector
the Regulatory Innovation Directorate
undertakes a range of projects to:
identify, build support for and deliver
improvements in the framework within which government makes and
delivers regulation; and
examine in depth specific areas of
regulation to determine whether new approaches can deliver policy
outcomes in a more cost effective way.
The Regulatory Services Team leads
the Executive's work on reform and culture change within the wider
community of national and local government regulators. For example:
working with the NAO, we have developed
and implemented a framework to assess the performance of national
regulators in relation to inspection and enforcement of regulation.
a statutory code of practice for
national and local regulators comes into effect from April;
the Local Better Regulation Office
has been set up with a specific role of working with local government
to improve the consistency of regulation delivered at a local
The Communications Team leads
the Executive's external engagement programme.
35. The Executive Chair, the Chief Executive,
the Heads of each of these four Business Units and the Head of
the Strategic Support Team form the Better Regulation Executive's
Senior Management Team.
How do you determine your priorities and how does
this influence the allocation of resources?
36. The BRE formulates the ideas for its
work programme through constant engagement with businesses, third
sector organisations, the public-sector front line, regulators
and government departments, and through making use of data such
as business surveys. Our aim is to identify and address:
situations where the real world impact
of regulation is not delivering effective outcomes efficiently;
systems and incentives around the
creation and delivery of regulation, where these are shown to
lead to poor overall outcomes.
37. The Better Regulation Executive's priorities
and work programme are agreed
with Ministers. The Senior Management Team determines
the shape of the
organisation and the allocation of resources to deliver
What do you believe might be your organisational
38. The organisational shape of the Better
Regulation Executive has evolved over the past two years as our
understanding of the agenda has developed.
39. For example:
at the start of 2007 we created the
Regulatory Services Team to give more coherence to our work on
culture change with the arms-length regulators;
recently we have strengthened our
organisational focus on external communications by strengthening
our Communications Team and positioning it so that it reports
direct to the Chief Executive; and
we are currently looking at how best
to adjust the organisation to provide a government focus on issues
of economic regulation as highlighted in the House of Lords recent
40. We continue to reshape the organisation
as needs change.
What are your key priorities for improvement?
41. Our current key priorities are to:
make a step change in the effectiveness
of our communications with business and our other external stakeholders.
(We have recently appointed a Senior Civil Service Director of
Strategic Communications to lead our communications programme);
strengthen the level of engagement
with other government departments. The Better Regulation Executive
leads the regulatory reform agenda across government, but successful
delivery requires the involvement of Ministers and Civil Servants
across Whitehall; and
strengthen our relationships with
Parliament and help build parliamentarians' awareness and understanding
of regulatory reform.
How do you plan to assist the new Local Better
42. The Local Better Regulation Office was
set up as a company fully owned by Government last year, based
in Birmingham. The BRE is taking the Regulatory Enforcement and
Sanctions Bill through Parliament, which will dissolve LBRO in
its current, company, form and convert it into a fully independent
statutory corporation with a range of statutory powers.
43. The BRE has seconded two full time members
of staff, with expertise in better regulation, to the LBRO to
help establish their programmes.
44. In addition, we have established a sponsorship
team within BRE consisting of two part-time members of staff.
The team works with LBRO to ensure its effectiveness, liaising
on matters including finance, objectives, and projects.
45. The relationship between LBRO and the
Government will be one of mutual assistance as they strive to
achieve a common goal of better, risk based regulatory enforcement
at the local level.
46. For instance:
the BRE has close contact with LBRO
in taking forward various initiatives, including the National
Indicator set, the Retail Enforcement Pilot, the Regulators Compliance
Code, and the Beacons scheme. This ensures that LBRO have opportunities
to feed into policy making, as well as preparing local authorities
for the effects of implementation;
the Government will provide LBRO
with its programme spend, which LBRO will in turn use to encourage
best practice in local authority enforcement; and
the Government will ask LBRO to provide
it with expert advice regarding local authority regulatory enforcement.
This will be essential as regulatory policies are developed and
revised, and in many cases it will be for the Government to take
forward the recommendations of LBRO.
How do you see your role developing?
47. The Better Regulation Executive has
been charged with delivering an ambitious programme of regulatory
48. For the first two years of our existence,
our agenda has been focused on identifying and gaining agreement
to a set of reforms designed to change the way government and
regulators implement and deliver regulation to give greater emphasis
49. In future we expect our priorities increasingly
ensuring the effective delivery of,
and benefits realisation from, the changes that have been introduced,
and the effective communication of the benefits;
monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness
of the changes that have been introduced in the UK, and promoting
further changes where necessary to make sure we have a strong
system for managing the impact of regulation; and
further work on reforming the management
of regulation within the European Union, where some useful progress
has been made, but the systems lag behind those in the UK.
KEY ELEMENTS OF THE BETTER REGULATION PROGRAMME
|Stock of regulation
||Flow of regulation||Culture Change
|Administrative Burdens reduction programme.|
Programme for reducing data requests on front-line public sector workers.
|Embedding Impact Assessment|
Review of Consultation Policy
Commitment to publish total costs of new regulations from April 2008.
Code of Practice for government guidance.
Improved communications around new regulations introduced on Common Commencement Dates.
|Mergers of national regulators/inspectorates|
Reviews of Independent Regulators
Regulators Compliance Code
Statutory Duty on Regulators to Address Burdens
Clarifying regulatory priorities for local authorities
|25% EU Admin burdens target|
Davidson Review for reducing burdens in stock of EU legislation
Ongoing work to improve impact assessment in the EU
|Building on relationship with other members states to promote overall improvements in European regulatory reform
specific policy areas
|Consumer Law Review|
Review of Impact of Health & Safety regulations on low-risk businesses
Support for Flanagan Review of Policing
Ongoing engagement between BRE staff and departments on the development of new domestic and EU policy
Retail Enforcement Pilot
|EU||Will potentially follow from EU Admin burdens work
||PRA clearance of new regulations||
|Our communications programme is cross-cutting and spans all elements of the programme.