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Home > Publications > Better regulation

Better regulation

The Government is cutting red tape across the private, public and voluntary sectors so that businesses can be more productive, public services more efficient and social enterprises freed from bureaucracy.


Simplification plan: cutting red tape, simplifying regulation

The Government response to the Better Regulation Task Force's 2005 report, 'Less is more', committed all departments and major regulators to publish rolling programmes of simplification of regulation as a key part of making and demonstrating progress on the Better Regulation agenda.

11 December 2006

Simplification plan 2006
Our simplification plan describes how we intend to deliver on the better regulation challenge. It sets out how we will deliver better, simplified regulation in the future, while also reviewing our existing stock of regulation to see where it can be modernised, repealed or consolidated.

11 December 2006

Administrative burdens of regulation
This document was produced by the Cabinet Office's Better Regulation Executive. It provides a high level summary of the costs to business when they have to comply with DCA regulations. In this summary, the costs to business have been adjusted to take account of normal business activity. This calculation is known as 'business as usual' or BAU.

11 December 2006

Administrative burdens of regulation: measurement exercise
In order to establish the cost to business of complying with our regulation, we took part in a cross government measurement project during 2005 and 2006. Consultants PwC, carried out the administrative burdens measurement exercise and produced three documents setting out their findings about us. The baseline established during the measurement exercise will be used to measure our progress in reducing administrative burdens.

What do you think of our plan?

You are invited to submit comments on the plan to our better regulation unit. Proposals for measures to be included in future updates of the plan are very welcome, particularly proposals to simplify existing regulation. Comments should be sent to:

Better regulation unit
Department for Constitutional Affairs
Selborne House (5.06)
54 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6QW

and proposals to simplify regulation can be submitted at: www.betterregulation.gov.uk


Risk management framework

In introducing or amending legislation, including new regulations, to support the delivery of modern services to society, Government has to assess whether such legislation poses risks for individuals and organisations, particularly in relation to their health and safety, their finances, and for the environment. Conversely, it also has to consider responding to identified risks by developing new legislation. To assist in the assessment of risk in these areas, the Department has produced this framework, which will be used by officials when advising Ministers on policy development




1. INTRODUCTION

1.1    This framework focuses on the identification and management of risk where government intervention in the form of regulatory (legislative) action is required or intended.

1.2    The framework does not deal with strategic, operational or project risks. They will be the subject of further guidance when the Department introduces a corporate policy on the management of such risks as a component of a new internal control system from April 2001 onwards.

1.3    Risk to the public is defined as a risk which affects individuals and things people value, or which would have an impact on society or on the environment. This includes risks to their personal or corporate finances, as well as risk to their health and safety.

1.4    The work of many other government departments means they will deal with risk to the public on a regular basis. The Department of Trade and Industry, for example, will deal with health, safety and environmental risks emanating from the manufacture of hazardous chemicals, and will regulate as necessary to deal with those risks.

1.5    Department for Constitutional Affairs' involvement with public risk is likely to be more infrequent and limited to fewer categories. Nevertheless, there are clearly areas of the Department's policies which impact upon individuals - producing rules of court in relation to family work, for example. Similarly, areas of our work impact upon corporate bodies - making rules which deal with the management of commercial disputes, for example. Other examples of stakeholders upon whom our work may impact include organisations operating in the not-for-profit sector, local government and health authorities.

1.6    The following model has been developed to assist colleagues in two ways:

2 THE MODEL - IDENTIFYING THE RISKS

2.1    In the development of new policy leading to new legislation, the following questions provide a starting point:

2.4     Where evidence is emerging that a prevailing situation is giving rise to risks related to health, safety the environment or personal or corporate finances, the relevant impact and probability of the risks need to be assessed as for the development of new policy.

2.5    Good risk assessment is dependent on good communication and requires consultation. It is not enough to ask these questions only of ourselves. If there is any possibility that a new policy being developed could give rise to public risk, or where an existing risk has been identified, these questions should be posed to relevant stakeholders so that a fully balanced view can be obtained. Those stakeholders should include not only those affected by the risk, but, wherever possible, those who create it and those who will have to manage it. It is also sensible to consider the opinions, advice and behaviour of those who will influence people's responses.

3 THE MODEL - MANAGING THE RISKS

3.1    There are three options open to Department for Constitutional Affairs when considering how to provide for the management of any risks identified in Step One:

3.4    Reaching and implementing a decision on this must again be driven by the information provided by stakeholders. It should be dependent on the degree of risk exposure, the probability of risk impact and the seriousness of any outcome. In the main, government looks to avoid legislating where possible, preferring to give citizens freedom of choice. With a number of public health issues, for example, there are instances of government intervention in the face of health risk (banning beef on the bone is one) but also of allowing individuals to choose, having been provided with relevant information on health risk (smoking).

3.5    While these are stark examples, there are potential DCA equivalents. The development of Asylum Appeal rules, defining those third countries to which failed asylum applicants can be deported without risk to their safety may prove an ineffective way of managing that risk if the political situation in the third country has changed since the rules were made, and there is no flexibility within the rules for that change to be recognised when adjudicators make decisions.

3.6    Settling on an option for managing an identified risk needs to take into account any constraints which would impact on the viability of an option - international obligations, for example. As part of the option choice, the costs and benefits to society (both financial and other) need to be weighed and balanced appropriately. That is to say, there may be circumstances where financial costs and benefits do not balance, but the addition of non-financial costs or benefits to the equation makes the decision clearer.

4 COMMUNICATION

4.1    Communication with stakeholders in the identification and the management process is paramount.

4.2    Communication should educate the public on the risks they may be exposed to; on the different ways in which the risks can be managed; on the Department's objectives in the management of risk; and in individuals' own role in managing that risk, where the decision is taken to avoid government legislative intervention. It is also, though, about the gathering of information to assist in decision making in the centre. This must include using communications to develop an understanding of how messages about risk will be received in the light of the knowledge and values which members of the public bring to bear in framing their interpretation of and response to the messages.

5 EVALUATING EFFECTIVENESS

5.1    Mechanisms to measure the effectiveness of the risk management option chosen should be set up as the option is selected. This will provide management information which should be assessed as part of a post implementation review. Questions needing to be answered, for example, may include: where people were allowed to manage their own risks, how well did information reach them and how useful was it to them? How effective was government intervention in managing the identified risks?


6. FURTHER GUIDANCE

6.1    For those who are applying this model and have identified public risk, further guidance on productive communication in the area of risk is available in Risk Communication - A Guide to Regulatory Practice by the Inter-Departmental Liaison Group on risk Assessment (ILGRA).

 


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