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Better Regulation

Better Regulation is government’s collective approach which makes sure when we regulate, we do so because it is the best way of achieving the outcome we want while avoiding unintended consequences and keeping costs on the economy as low as possible.

Good regulation is proportionate to the scale of the issue it addresses; those enforcing it are accountable to those it affects; it is consistent with other regulation and wider government policy; it is targeted so that its impact is felt only where government intended; and the way it works is transparent.

Better regulation is an integral part of high quality policy-making.

The Coalition Government’s Better Regulation Programme

The new government has committed to some radical new approaches and institutional reforms to put extra steel into regulatory reform and cut back more effectively on red tape and bureaucracy.

The Coalition: Our Programme for Government set out and made five specific commitments under the Better Regulation Programme:

  • To cut red tape by introducing a ‘one-in, one-out rule’ whereby no new regulation is brought in without other regulation being cut by a greater amount;
  • To end the culture of ‘tick-box’ regulation and instead target inspections on high-risk organisations through co-regulation and improving professional standards;
  • To impose sunset clauses on regulations and regulators to ensure that the need for each regulation is regularly reviewed;
  • To give the public the opportunity to challenge the worst regulations; and
  • To end the so-called ‘gold-plating’ of EU rules, so that British businesses are not disadvantaged relative to their European competitors.

The government has announced that it will reduce regulatory costs by introducing a one-in-one-out system for new regulations.

The government’s plans for reducing burdens include:

  • Fundamentally review all regulation scheduled for introduction over the coming year. These regulations will not be implemented until they have been reviewed and re-agreed by the Reducing Regulation Committee;
  • Imposing sunset clauses on regulations. Regulations will cease to be law after seven years unless Parliament has confirmed they are still necessary and proportionate, or they were explicitly set to have a longer timeframe;
  • Requiring each relevant Department to undertake a review of the employment laws for which they are responsible to ensure maximum flexibility, protect fairness and promote competitiveness. Changes to employment law will be made as part the Government’s one- in, one-out approach to regulatory reform; and
  • Working with European partners to ensure that new proposals for EU regulation are rigorously costed at an early stage, and that existing legislation is reviewed with the aim of reducing the burden on European businesses.

The case for government action

  • It can help you be more effective in Government by:
    • pointing you towards possible alternative, more effective, and less bureaucratic ways of delivering your policy goals, and by
    • shaping regulatory interventions so that they do what you want them to do, in the most effective, least burdensome way.
  • Because, although it might seem so compared to tax and spending, regulation, is never cost-free. Burdens are borne by businesses, consumers, employees, charities, and the taxpayer through costs of compliance and enforcement.

Latest news

Creation of the Reducing Regulation Committee (RRC)

  • The formation of the RCC was launched in July 2010 and is chaired by Business Secretary Vince Cable (Committee members).
  • In addition to being a challenge panel for new regulatory proposals, the RRC will drive forward the Government’s approach and manage, at a political level, the processes for managing regulation tightly, and will play an active role in holding Departments and Ministers to account.
  • The Committee has agreed a set of principles against which it will decide whether regulation is in line with the Government’s better regulation agenda.

One-In, One-Out

  • BRE is consulting on the methodology for implementing this new process which is likely to apply by April 2011 if not sooner.

Fundamental Review of Legacy Regulations in the Pipeline

  • An accurate inventory of all regulation measures in the pipeline up to the April 2011 Common Commencement Date is being compiled.
  • By 16 July 2010 Secretaries of State are to submit their first list to the Reducing Regulatory Committee identifying those measures due to be implemented on or before 1 October 2010 [add link to Defra’s return when available].
  • By 17 September 2010, Secretaries of State are to submit a list to the Reducing Regulatory Committee of all other measures which are to be implemented in the period 2 October 2010 to 1 April 2011.

Your Freedom

  • The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched the Your Freedom website on 1 July 2010 giving the public the opportunity to suggest ideas on repealing unnecessary laws and stripping away excessive regulation on business. This is divided up into three sections:
  1. Civil liberties: Which current laws would you like to remove or change because they restrict your civil liberties?
  2. Cutting business and third sector regulations: Which regulations do you think should be removed or changed to make running your business or organisation as simple as possible?
  3. Repealing unnecessary laws: Which offences do you think we should remove or change, and why?
  • The Your Freedom website provides you with the opportunity to inform government policy by telling Government which laws and regulations you think we should get rid of.

Announced Defra Reviews:

  • A new industry-led Task Force chaired by Richard McDonald will consider ways to reduce the regulatory burden on the farming industry.
  • Defra’s Review of Waste policy in England – The Government is to carry out a full review of waste policy in England, looking at the most effective ways of reducing waste, maximising the money to be made from waste and recycling, and how waste policies affect local communities and individual households.

Key facts and figures

  • Tight management of regulatory burdens is vital to economic growth. The overall costs stemming from UK regulation are currently in the order of £100bn-£150bn each year, excluding tax.
  • Reviewing existing regulations and getting rid of or simplifying those that are no longer priorities is also important.
  • Government departments work closely with the Better Regulation Executive primarily through their Better Regulation Units (BRUs). Each department also has a Board Level Champion (BLC) and a Better Regulation Minister to champion better regulation at all levels. Defra’s Board Level Champion is Mike Anderson and our Better Regulation Minister is Jim Paice. Better Regulation covers both the legislation produced by government departments and the EU, and the work of Regulators who enforce the law.

The current situation and background

  • Implementation of the Government’s better regulation agenda is being taken forward principally by the Better Regulation Executive and Cabinet Office.

Further information

Page published: 3 October 2010