BETTER REGULATION PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE CABINET OFFICE (BRE) AND DEFRA
Both Defra and BRE recognise the importance
of co-operating in order to meet their respective policy and business
objectives. Each has a responsibility and a contribution to make
to ensure that there is effective administration, co-operation
and exchange of information.
To underpin their constructive working relationship,
the BRE and Defra have agreed the following vision, principles
and ways of working.
The shared vision sets out a clear purpose and
direction, and allows Defra and BRE to focus resources on strategic
priorities, which will enable the Defra family to regulate better
in line with the Performance Assessment Framework. Our goal is
to deliver real reductions in burdens on business, improve the
function of the Defra family of regulators, and help achieve better
policy outcomes. In essence this means that stakeholders and front-line
staff across the Defra family feel the difference.
The general principles include:
our goal of partnership working is
to deliver better outcomes against the above vision than either
organisation could achieve working singly;
we recognise the respective expertise
in each other's organisations and will use this to inform the
strategic direction of Better Regulation initiatives and to optimise
opportunities for simplification;
we will share information as early
as possible about our respective agendas, and seek the other's
point of view. This will include our work programmes, current
and forward policy agendas, cross-cutting work and independent
we will ensure effective coordination
and exchange of information, guided by the principle of "no
we will apply the principles of proportionality,
burden reduction and risk-based approaches to the way we work
we will work together to implement
a consistent and proportionate system of assessing regulatory
performance of the department and its family of agencies;
we will seek to optimise contacts
in both organisations by making sure that we are both informed
and have the opportunity to take part in meetings and events;
we will be open and transparent in
our decisions about when and where it is necessary to actively
engage in areas of policy. BRE will operate in line with the modes
of operation set out in Annex 1. When intervention is required
we will work in partnership to ensure that the regulatory proposals
are in the best possible shape to meet PRA scrutiny;
we will focus our joint working where
it can make the biggest difference.
The Performance Framework provides a method
to structure our plans and work streams under the following four
Perception and Policy Burden: Department
only regulates where necessary ...
We will work together on indicators
of stakeholder buy-in to regulation.
Flow of policy is based on clear
Defra will review its stock of regulation
systematically in order to drive down policy costs and improve
BRE will continue to take a close
interest in priority policy topics such as climate change.
We will work together on influencing
European Better Regulation.
Administrative Burden Target: Department
on track to deliver its admin burden target ...
Defra has committed to a 25% target
and is on track to meet it. For as long as this remains the case,
BRE will not "call in" policy proposals simply on the
grounds of their administrative burden.
Defra establish an effective tracking
system to monitor the flow of new policy.
Delivery and Risk Based Enforcement:
Implementation and risk-based enforcement ...
Defra will deliver simplification
plan measures and update the plan annually.
We will work together to deliver
the recommendations of cross cutting reviews and BRC reports.
We will work together when developing
a framework for performance assessment of Defra regulatory bodies.
Defra will lead on ensuring all Defra
regulatory bodies are Hampton-compliant.
Once the proposed Hampton mergers
have been cleared by CO and HMT, Defra will be in charge of implementation.
Culture and Capacity: All levels
have a good understanding of better regulation agenda ...
BRE will design training modules
for use across departments and provide guidance, amongst other
things, on lAs, form design and consultationensuring Defra
input and expertise is included where necessary. These will be
incorporated in Defra courses where appropriate.
Defra will work to ensure that better
regulation principles are embedded into the policy-making process
through the delivery of their existing and recently developed
Defra will embed better regulation
into the business plans of the department through the implementation
of a Delivery Plan.
BRE will share best practice amongst
government departments and from visits to other Member States.
The bullets outlined above are not exhaustive.
In developing this agreement it is important
to consider the context of Defra's current regulatory performance
as judged using the performance assessment framework. Defra has
put together a good quality delivery plan and is ahead of its
trajectory on its 25% target. Its overall performance has been
rated at amber/green.
This provides an opportunity to provide Defra
with some freedoms and flexibilities in areas where it has been
judged a success. Annex 2 lists a number of functions where the
BRE are able to stand back from day to day involvement.
We will work together to review progress through
the Performance Assessment Framework on a quarterly basis using
a proportionate set of management information in a light touch
way. This will feed into the six monthly report that will be prepared
by the BRE for submission to the PM.
We will regularly review progress on how the
partnership agreement is working and agree to a formal review
in 12 months time.
We will meet at Director and Head of Division
level. We will also informally report back on relevant initiatives
eg with Other Government Departments, or trips to other EU Member
States. We will join up for meetings with Defra stakeholders and
delivery bodies routinely, and where this is not possible, each
will inform the other of any relevant visits to common stakeholders
and delivery bodies.