LEARNING LESSONS AND IMPROVING PERFORMANCE
55. The Commission regularly reviews its own
performance and uses the lessons identified to make changes to
its internal policies and processes in order to become a more
effective regulator. As highlighted in Part 1, the Commission
seeks feedback on its activities through its website and makes
changes to its advice and guidance in response to feedback from
those who use it. Areas for improvement are also identified through
the Commission's on-going compliance work and campaign monitoring.
The Commission comments on campaigning and regulatory issues in
its statutory reports on the conduct of elections and referendums.
Where appropriate it also publishes fuller reports about campaign
regulation, including recommendations for changes to the law.
56. The Commission is currently completing an
extensive regulatory review, drawing on previous election reports
and the views of political parties. The review is looking in detail
at the Commission's experience of regulation over the last 10
years to identify areas where PPERA, the legislative framework
governing the Commission's operations, can be amended to make
the rules more effective or to reduce the regulatory burden on
parties and individuals. The review will also identify any required
changes to the Commission's own internal practices and policies.
Any changes to legislation or statutory instruments will take
some time to come into effect. The Commission intends to carry
out similar review exercises periodically in future.
57. Our last report on party and election finance
in 2009 found that the Commission did not have a performance measurement
framework linked to outcomes as recommended by regulatory good
practice. The Commission has now implemented a series of performance
indicators to measure its effectiveness as a regulator, and these
are used for both internal and external reporting of performance.
The majority of the indicators are output based, such as time
taken to respond to queries, but there are some outcome indicators
such as the number of parties submitting their returns on time.
The Commission continues to look for ways to improve its performance
measurement framework, for example it hopes to strengthen the
linkages between performance measures across the Commission. The
Commission regularly reviews its approach to regulation to ensure
it is in line with good practice and to see how it compares with
other regulators in the UK and overseas. The Commission might
find it helpful to develop a "spheres of influence"
model to assess where it is exerting most influence and whether
there are areas which need further attention, which would also
help it develop more outcome focused performance measures.
This model featured in the NAO's work on Ofcom.
WIDER POLICY AND REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS
58. The Commission uses its knowledge and experience
of regulation to inform wider policy and developments in party
and election finance. It provides government and others with evidence
based advice on proposed changes to the regulatory framework,
rules and regulations for new elections and referendums, and on
the workability of government policy proposals. For example, the
Commission provided evidence to the Commission for Standards in
Public Life review of political funding in 2010, and published
reports on the May 2011 UK Voting Referendum which made recommendations
for changes to the rules at future elections and referendums held
under PPERA. Most recently, the Commission has used its experience
to respond to consultations on the proposed Scottish referendum
and on the Home Office draft statutory instrument for governing
the rules and regulations for the Police and Crime Commissioner
elections, which took place in November 2012.
8 Report by the Comptroller & Auditor General,
Ofcom: The effectiveness of converged regulation, HC 490 2010-11,
November 2010 Back