Select Committee on Regulatory Reform Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform


Budget 2008-09
Total AdminProgramme Responsible for delivering:
Regulatory Reform Directorate£2,400,416 —  Administration burdens reduction programme, including coordination of Simplification Plans.
—  Public sector strategy, including data stream reduction and the public sector compliance code.
—  Dedicated account teams working with departments on the design of new regulation, including embedding and scrutinising impact assessments.
—  Improving small business regulation.
—  Review of consultation policy.
—  EU Regulatory Reform, including the EU 25% admin burdens target, work to improve the EU Impact Assessment and working with Departments and EU institutions to improve regulation and its implementation.
—  Panel for regulatory accountability
Regulatory Innovation Directorate (includes the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill Team and responsibility for the Local Better Regulation Office) £2,984,535£4,400,000 —  Projects to improve existing regulation, including:
      —  Consumer Law Review
      —  Health and Safety review
      —  Secretariat to the Killian/Pretty independent review of planning (with CLG).
—  Projects to improve the design and implementation of regulations, including:
      —  Regulatory Budgets
      —  Work with the OCC on Climate Change
      —  Secretariat to Sarah Anderson's independent review of guidance
      —  Improved communications around Common Commencement Dates
      —  Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill and its implementation.
      —  Reviews of how regulators are implementing the Hampton vision.
      —  Regulator's compliance code.
      —  Economic regulators policy.
      —  The Local Better Regulation Office
Strategic Communications £668,176 —  New communications strategy—designed to improve two-way communication with the outside world on Better Regulation
Strategic Support Team£694,873 —  Chair and Chief Executive and their private office.
—  HR, recruitment, financial and performance management. (Includes the BRE's Central training programme)
—  Coordination of the Senior Management Team.
—  Overview of business planning and overall strategy.
£6,748,0001 £4,400,000

1  The admin budget is subject to some upward revision in order to implement Regulatory Budgets


  There is no existing UK equivalent to the Dutch Stevens or Wientjes Committees.

  The Stevens committee was set up for 2twoyears to look at better regulation in Holland—delivered recommendations in 2007.

  The Wientjes Committee succeeded the Stevens Committee.

  The BRE do not believe that a UK version of the Stevens committee or Wientjes Committees are required.

  The BRE currently engages directly with stakeholders representing the business community. BCC, CBI, FSB, IOD—with whom frequent meetings and discussions are held at all levels.

  UK regulatory reform agenda addressing all the issues raised by the Stevens Committee eg

    —  Hampton recommendation for more risk-based enforcement;

    —  Hampton recommendation of the 5 principles of good regulation now implemented through the compliance code:

    —  Transparent;

    —  Accountable;

    —  Proportionate;

    —  Consistent;

    —  Targeted—at cases where action is needed.

    —  Reduce bureaucracy—admin burden reductions programme to reduce bureaucracy for business by 25%.

    —  Improve the uniformity of application of rules—the BRE has introduced common commencement dates—new regulations only come out on the same two set dates per year—BRE's compliance code also aims to standardise enforcement approach.


  Departments are signed up to common commencement dates, produce a statement of the regulations they plan to bring in on each of the common commencement date and publish them on their departmental websites.

  Please find below the long document shown to the Committee by William Sargent on 24 June 2008 which is the combination of each department's statements for 2007. Some of those documents are attached below.(Not published, Available from the BRE).

  The second document shown to the Committee is the Common Commencement Date summary which we now produce. This is a plain English summary of the main regulatory changes taking effect on a common commencement date. It was designed with input from businesses to provide a quick summary which businesses can use to determine whether changes are likely to affect them and is backed up by additional detail for business which require it..(Not published, Available from the BRE).

  An online version of the April summary and the online version can be found at

  The April version of this document is actually longer than the October 2007 version as our follow up research showed businesses requesting some additional headings to speed navigation through the document and save scanning all of it.

  The table below indicates the total number of regulations brought in and those which have used Common Commencement Dates:
2008 (predicted)147

  The number of regulations introduced on the last two Common Commencement dates are:

    —  October 2007—45

    —  April 2008—61


  The Davidson Review, November 2006, p 4 Executive Summary states: "Given the very large amount of EU-sourced legislation in the UK it is not possible ... to draw definitive conclusions on the extent to which the UK may inappropriately over-implement European legislation ... Inappropriate over-implementation may not be as big a problem in the UK—in absolute terms and relative to other EU countries—as is alleged by some commentators".


  During the evidence session on 24 June 2008—one of the Committee questioned whether the BRE was on course to deliver the planned 18.7% Administrative Burden reduction for 2008.

  To clarify : the publication "Delivery Simplification Plans—A summary" December 2007, page 9—the Administrative Burden Reduction delivery trajectory indicates that the programme should achieve 11% administrative burden reduction by the end of the calendar year 2008 and 18.7% admin burden reduction by the end of the calendar year 2009.

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Prepared 21 July 2008