A cornerstone of better regulation is the five principles of good regulation. The principles state that any regulation should be:
Additional context on the better regulation principles is set out below:
Consistency - rules and standards must be joined up and implemented fairly.
- Regulators should be consistent with each other, and work together in a joined-up way.
- New regulations should take account of other existing or proposed regulations, whether of domestic, EU or international origin.
- Regulation should be predictable in order to give reasonable stability and certainty to those being regulated.
- Enforcement agencies should (work together to) apply regulations consistently across the country.
Transparency - be open and keep regulations (and how they are implemented) simple and user- friendly.
- Policy objectives, including the need for regulation, should be clearly defined and effectively communicated to all interested parties.
- Effective consultation must take place before proposals are developed, to ensure that stakeholders’ views and expertise are taken into account.
- Stakeholders should be given at least 12 weeks, and sufficient information, to respond to consultations.
- Regulations should be clear and simple.
- Those being regulated should be made aware of their obligations, with law and best practice clearly distinguished.
- Those being regulated should be given the time and support to comply. It may be helpful to supply examples of methods of compliance.
- The consequences of non-compliance should be made clear.
Accountability - be able to justify decisions and be subject to public scrutiny.
- Proposals should be published and all those affected consulted before decisions are taken.
- Explain how and why final decisions have been reached.
- Regulators and enforcers should establish clear standards and criteria against which they can be judged.
- There should be well-publicised, accessible, fair and effective complaints and appeals procedures, underpinned by clear lines of accountability to Ministers, Parliaments and assemblies, and the public.
Proportionality - only intervene when necessary. Remedies should be appropriate to the risk posed and costs identified and minimised.
- Policy solutions must be proportionate to the perceived problem or risk and justify the compliance costs imposed – don’t use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
- All the options for achieving policy objectives must be considered – not just prescriptive regulation. Alternatives may be more effective and cheaper to apply.
- “Think small first”. Regulation can have a disproportionate impact on small businesses, which account for most Scottish businesses.
- EC Directives should be transposed without gold plating.
- Enforcement regimes should be proportionate to the risk posed; and regulators should consider an empowering and educational, rather than a punitive approach where possible.
Targeting - regulation should be focused on the problem and minimise side effects.
- Regulations should focus on the problem and avoid a scattergun approach.
- Where appropriate, regulators should adopt an outcomes approach, with enforcers and those being regulated given flexibility in deciding how to meet clear, unambiguous targets.
- Guidance and support should be adapted to the needs of different groups.
- Regulators should focus primarily on those whose activities give rise to the most serious risks.
- Regulations should be systematically reviewed to test whether they are still necessary and effective. If not, they should be modified or eliminated.
Gold plating is a term used to describe the process where a basic EU directive is given extra strength when being incorporated into UK law.