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The Better Regulation Commission

The Better Regulation Commission (BRC), which operated until January 2008, worked with policy-makers to reduce unnecessary regulatory and administrative burdens.

The BRC aimed to make sure regulation and its enforcement was proportionate, accountable, consistent, transparent and targeted.

Read more about the Better Regulation Commission

It recently carried out reviews focusing on the threat from climate change, and also looking at how regulation should be used to combat risk more broadly.

Tackling climate change

In its review of the regulatory aspects of the 2006 Stern report, the BRC expressed concern that the UK might take hasty and inappropriate action to try to meet its target for reducing emissions.

It set seven basic, but essential, standards for policy-makers as they meet the complex challenges of climate change.

  • Ensure climate policy is consistent with a healthy UK economy.
  • Act consistently with a climate change strategy – avoiding piecemeal announcements.
  • Test policy against a carbon price benchmark.
  • Make efficient carbon policy choices and avoid doing things twice.
  • Keep administrative costs to a minimum.
  • Don’t use climate change as a justification for other policy goals.
  • If it isn't working, change it.

In its response to the report, the Government accepted the principles behind the BRC’s recommendations and will apply the seven principles in the future development of climate change regulation. It has committed to developing a policy framework which reduces carbon emissions, but doesn’t add unnecessary regulatory burdens.

A rational approach to risk

Assessing and managing risk is central to the Government’s better regulation agenda.

In its 2006 report, Better Regulation Commission: Risk, Responsibility and Regulation – Whose risk is it anyway?, the BRC concluded that it was unrealistic, and often undesirable, to try to completely eliminate risk.

It recommended that regulation be used to manage risk in a sensible and proportionate way, rather than remove it altogether. The report proposed:

  • relying more on people’s resilience, self-reliance, freedom and innovation
  • leaving those best placed to manage risk to do so, and introducing regulation only where it’s the best solution
  • re-examining areas where the state has taken on more responsibility for people’s lives than is necessary or welcome
  • balancing necessary levels of protection with reasonable levels of risk.

The Government accepted most of the BRC’s recommendations.

In June 2007 the Prime Minister asked the BRC to build on this work and look at how policy-making can benefit from a fuller and more rounded consideration of public risk. The BRC published “Public Risk – the Next Frontier for Better Regulation” in response. The report’s proposals have been broadly accepted by the Government, which has led to the creation of the Risk and Regulation Advisory Council.