Regulatory Review Group minutes: May 2016

Minutes from the meeting of the Regulatory Review Group (RRG) on 11 May 2016.

Attendees and apologies

In attendance:

  • Professor Russel Griggs (Chairman), CBI
  • Scott Walker, NFUS
  • Steven Bunch, CMA
  • Stephen Boyd, STUC
  • Susan Love, FSB
  • Niall Boyle, Regulatory Delivery, BIS
  • Mari Tunby, CBI
  • Marion McCormack, Scottish Government
  • Sandra Reid, Scottish Government
  • Wendy McCutcheon, Scottish Government
  • Caitlin Heaney, Scottish Government


  • Alice Telfer, ICAS
  • Sheila Scobie, CMA
  • Garry Clark, Scottish Chambers of Commerce
  • Glenn Preston, Scotland Office
  • Ian Cass, Forum of Private Business
  • Sarah Smith, Regulatory Delivery, BIS
  • George Eckton, COSLA

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Agenda item 1 – Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes were approved and an update on action points provided.

Agenda item 2 – Chairman’s report

The Chair provided an oral update on recent meetings listed in the tabled paper. SEPA has agreed to Chair the COSLA Regulatory Forum for a year due to changes in COSLA. It will be imperative to ensure that this Forum is maintained and not lose momentum.

The meeting with policy officials on 22 April to discuss the Brian Pack report was beneficial. Officials are at the stage of producing a paper to take forward Recommendation 2 – the establishment of a Regulatory Oversight Body – which they will share with RRG. The meeting to discuss the EC Environmental Assessment Directive 2014/52/EU was also helpful. Policy officials are considering RRG’s offer of facilitating a multi-lateral pre-consultation meeting to ensure that those affected by this Directive understand the implications prior to responding to the consultation.

Scott Walker provided an update on the Lobbying Act. NFUS is working with Parliamentary Clerks to test the guidance that is being prepared. Scott will also advise RRG when it would be beneficial to invite Scottish Government Lobbying Act officials to RRG for a progress update.

Mirren Kelly, George Eckton and David Martin have left RRG due to job changes. The Chair recorded thanks to all three for their invaluable contributions to RRG.

Action points:

  • Lobbying Act officials to be invited to appropriate RRG meeting

Agenda item 3 – SEPA better environmental regulation

The Chair thanked Jo Green of SEPA for coming along to provide an update on Better Environmental Regulation and SEPA’s draft Regulatory Strategy.

SEPA’s Statutory Purpose is to protect and improve the environment in ways that, as far as possible, also help create health and well-being benefits and sustainable economic growth. This is what the draft Strategy is based on as well as providing environmental regulation appropriate for the 21st century.

SEPA will focus on its core services such as flooding and regulations and the focus of the Strategy will include:

  • the establishment of a new sectoral unit where sectoral plans and approaches will be developed
  • a new centrally co-ordinated permitting unit
  • a review of the reform of the charging scheme

Jo advised that SEPA will run a few campaigns this year, for example on waste segregation and waste carriers and reiterated that partnership working is SEPA’s principal way of delivering outcomes.

Jo would be grateful to receive any comments on the draft Regulatory Strategy.

Agenda item 4 – New business models regulatory landscape

Sandra Reid presented this paper stating that the remit had been refreshed to take account the views from RRG and meetings held. To take this review forward RRG members were asked to agree the proposed aims and sectors of the review.

The aims were agreed. However it was stated that the scope was tight and along with the three proposed sectors should also include looking at e-commerce. Reference was also made to FINTECH although it was not clear what the Scottish Government’s remit / role was in respect of this.

It was also suggested that it would be worthwhile researching how other countries are responding to the regulatory impact of digital disruption, including contacting UK government counterparts – and in particular any learning from their work to date. The review should show lessons learnt from reviewing the three proposed sectors along with the wider e-commerce implications, where opportunities are in the digital disruption area along with ensuring consistency and future proofing.

The Chair brought the discussion to a close by stating that secretariat would initially gather all the evidence. A working group would not be established at the moment. An update should be provided to the relevant new Minister with RRG’s proposed remit.

Action points:

  • Minister to be informed of remit for review

Agenda item 5 – Voluntary regulation review

RRG discussed the updated proposed remit for taking forward the voluntary regulation review of Supporting Healthy Choices and Nitrate Vulnerable Zones and specifically what RRG wished to gain from this review.

The review should look at issues such as:

  • the difference, if any, the voluntary regulation made compared to a mandatory regulation
  • do voluntary regulations lead to mandatory regulations in the long term?
  • the cost vs. benefits of voluntary regulation
  • ascertaining if a voluntary approach has achieved the intended policy objectives
  • is a voluntary regulation really voluntary if there is pressure from government to adhere to it?

The SRC framework would be applied to this review by looking at the healthy choices framework and ascertaining if there would be anything done differently had the SRC framework been in place at the time.

FSS is aware that RRG is looking at the healthy choices framework and already offered to assist.

Action points:

  • Secretariat to update remit based on discussion and circulate to RRG

Agenda item 6 – RRG workplan

The RRG workplan was discussed and noted with no additional issues raised for inclusion.

Agenda item 7 – Forthcoming agendas

The agendas for June and August were discussed and noted.

Agenda item 8 – AOB

Two items of AOB were raised.

Regulation of electricians – various SG meetings have been held with SELECT who are wanting electricians in Scotland to be statutory regulated to ensure that all electricians must be qualified. SELECT have been asked to provide information to support their views that non-qualified electricians are posing a health and safety risk. RRG agreed that a clear evidence base was required before this could be considered further.

BRIAs – An update on an action point from February’s meeting was provided. Secretariat had asked SG Directors’ Group to provide information on the quality assurance of BRIAs. The responses had been limited and didn’t provide enough information to gauge a complete picture of how the BRIA process was being handled since the central quality assurance service provided by the BRIA team had ceased. RRG expressed concerns about this and asked secretariat / better regulation team to consider this further.

Action points:

  • Secretariat / better regulation team to consider how to ensure that BRIAs are completed and the standards are consistent across SG
RRG Meeting - 11 May 2016 - Papers - Minutes of meeting.doc
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