Reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system: Partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)
A partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for
proposed secondary legislation which forms part of the introduction of
extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging.
9.0 Digital Impact Test
84. Changes to policy, regulation or legislation can often have unintended consequences, should government fail to consider advances in technology and the impact this may have on future delivery. This digital impact test is a consideration of whether the changes being made can still be applied effectively should business/government processes change – such as services moving online. Table 44 below details the evaluation of the proposed market restrictions on current and future digital developments. Overall, it is considered that the proposed legislation will have a positive impact on capacity for digital technology developments, as a new digital reporting system will be developed, and this will be required to meet UK government standards of digital service delivery.
85. In addition to the questions below, it should also be noted that the reform of the packaging EPR scheme will require new IT systems to facilitate the running of this scheme. As outlined in the UK IA, this will include carrying out functions such as tracking the packaging placed on the market, charging producers, making the necessary payments from scheme administrators to stakeholders that are eligible for payments for managing packaging waste and aiding producers in understanding their regulatory obligations depending on their business size.
Table 4. Digital Impact Test Questionnaire.
Question 1. Does the measure take account of changing digital technologies and markets?
Compliance with the regulations will be supported via a digital service. The existing producer responsibility regime uses a legacy digital service that is being replaced and will be decommissioned. The new service is being delivered to current standards and technology.
Question 2. Will the measure be applicable in a digital/online context?
The reporting requirements apply equally to all obligated producers of affected packaging sold on the Scottish market, regardless of whether this packaging is sold digitally or through traditional offline channels.
As set out in the answer to question 1, the reporting will be via a new digital service allowing businesses to upload their data.
Question 3. Is there a possibility the measures could be circumvented by digital/online transactions?
Packaging is placed on the market through online sales as well as through traditional retail sales, so the regulations have been developed so as to ensure that both types of sale are captured.
In particular, the regulations will place data collection and reporting obligations on operators of online marketplaces, who do not have obligations under the existing packaging producer responsibility scheme—this will bring them into line with other businesses ensuring a level playing field.
Question 4. Alternatively, will the measure only be applicable in a digital context and therefore may have an adverse impact on traditional or offline businesses?
Research conducted with obligated organisations (by Defra who are developing the digital service on behalf of the four administrations) indicates an above average level of digital confidence for users of the new service.
To support those who may not have the requisite level of digital skill, the service will provide an assisted digital option. Tasks have been identified where support may be required, for example in completing an online form. The delivered service will provide capabilities for SEPA to support obligated organisations through these tasks in the service as required, for example by providing offline documentation or through direct conversations to assist users in submitting packaging data.
Question 5. If the measure can be applied in an offline and online environment will this in itself have any adverse impact on incumbent operators?
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