January 3, 2012 Government must try harder on Red Tape
The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has graded the Government’s attempt to reduce red tape in their end of year report which could be compared to that given to a naughty school kid; ‘Must try harder’.
The current British Government has talked some tough talk about the removal of red tape and deregulation and the BCC is, rightly, a fan of the rhetoric. However, having reviewed the Impact Assessments (IA) produced by the Government and the resulting actions from these IAs, the BCC feels there is a lot more than could be done.
The BCC’s main criticisms are:
– The regulatory process is not transparent or open to effective scrutiny; for example not all government departments are openly publishing all of theirs IAs, nor are they available on line
– 42% of new regulatory proposals were deemed ‘out of scope’ of the One-in, One-out policy; the One-in, One out policy is the Government’s aim that a new piece of regulation would only be introduced if an old piece was removed, but 42% is such a high number that it cuts across the entire principle
– There is too much inconsistency between government departments’ regulatory processes; clearly some government departments were a lot less keen to share their IAs with the BCC
– Regulatory Policy Committee recommendations are not always taken seriously or implemented by government departments;
– The volume of regulation remains too high.
Now though Elemental CoSec applauds the goals of the BCC, it must be noted that the BCC may have a slight agenda behind this report but the third and fourth findings are, to us, the most damning. If, as it appears, some government departments are trying to hide the Impact Assessments they have performed and are then not taking the recommendations of the Regulatory Policy Committee, it begs the question of what the point is of the entire process.
Changing the nature of the civil service away from ever increasing regulation was always going to be a hard task and we can but hope that as matters progress and as the BCC and other organisations keep up their pressure, this drive to reduce unnecessary regulation will bear fruit.
The full report of the BCC can be found here.