Regulatory Review Group minutes: November 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 30 November 2023.

Attendees and apologies

  • Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chairman
  • Susan Love, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  • Fiona Richardson, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Ewan MacDonald-Russell, Scottish Retail Consortium
  • David MacKenzie, Trading Standards
  • John Paul Liddle, Deputy Director for Business Support, Scottish Government
  • Wendy McCutcheon, Scottish Government
  • Brian Lawrie, Society of Chief Officers of Environmental Health in Scotland
  • Douglas White, Consumer Scotland
  • James Fowlie, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Hazel Burgess, Scottish Government
  • Ross Stephen, Scottish Government
  • Alex Kidd, Scottish Government
  • Rachel Dolan, Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions and approval of minutes

Professor Russel Griggs OBE welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending the Regulatory Review Group (RRG) meeting virtually. The minute from the previous meeting was approved by the Group. Officials will update the Terms of Reference to ensure the consumer interest and specifically small businesses are referenced.

Recent correspondence to the Regulatory Review Group

The Competition and Markets Authority’s interest to become an observer was noted. Officials will investigate this further with the Chair. The RRG has received further correspondence on the Short Term Lets regulations and will look to play its part in the implementation review due to take place next year. Officials will continue to liaise with policy colleagues to ensure the Group can contribute at the appropriate time.

Update on project work in progress and discussion on process

There was a discussion of when it is appropriate to meet virtually and more beneficial to meet in person. It was agreed when policy officials are joining the Group to present information regarding regulations, it would be more beneficial for the Group to meet in person where possible. It was noted that it would be convenient to have multiple policy presentations at one meeting to reduce members travelling. 

The issue of Framework Legislation was then discussed, focussing on the role that Framework Legislation can play within the policy development process. It was agreed that the Group will review and advise on key principles and the role of Framework Legislation from a better regulation perspective, which can be shared with the Scottish Government for their consideration.  The Group discussed how reviewing Frameworks strategically will possibly reduce regulatory implementation issues going forward. Officials will add this to the Group’s agenda for an upcoming meeting.

Updates from SG Officials on better regulation activities

Scottish Government Officials updated the Group on the ongoing work within the New Deal for Business Group (NDBG):

  • the next NDBG meeting will be held on 13 December 2023 with the Subgroup on Regulation due to meet early in 2024 to monitor and consider progress on key actions identified within the Implementation Plan.
  • work is ongoing internally to update the BRIA with an external group meeting early in 2024 consider  feedback on improvements and discuss how it can be improved. It was noted that officials will continue to update the Group as this work progresses.
  • the Regulation Implementation Advisory Group (RIAG) met to discuss the policy cycle and maintaining consistency across the Scottish Government on policy development and implementation. The Group are also working to create a process for reviewing, assessing and where appropriate removing regulations and will meet again early in 2024.
  • the Heat in Buildings consultation was published on 28 November and officials are looking to include this within the work programme.

Updates to programme of work

Members discussed the timing of sessions within the Programme of Work and ensuring the Group can add value when they are presented with regulations. The following points of upcoming regulations were made:

  • there will be a 1-year grace period for the consumer duty guidance and would be useful for the Group to review during this to ensure it is fit for purpose. It was noted that Consumer Scotland currently have a working group in place to create the guidance and there will be a formal consultation in April and later again in the year to review progress.
  • guidance is currently being drafted on the Transient Visitor Levy and it was agreed it would be beneficial for the Group to review post-implementation. Officials will liaise with Transient Visitor Levy policy colleagues for an update on progress.

It was noted that the RRG will not have capacity to review every regulation that will impact on business and Members agreed that the Group should work to add value in certain areas and at certain stages within the process to be set out within a process map.

Policy focus

  • the Group considered and had a high-level discussion on  Alcohol Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) and the Tobacco and Vaping Framework. The Group highlighted the importance of: Ensuring that policy officials are sighted on the impacts upon business as part of the policy development process;
  • identifying implementation challenges early in the policy development process to mitigate and reduce these challenges for business and regulators when new or updated regulations are introduced;
  • ensuring that there is a reasonable implementation period and
  • information available for both business and regulators to ensure they are compliant ahead of enforcement.

Next meeting, invitations and any other business

It was agreed the Group would invite public health policy officials to a  future meeting to be set for  early January 2024. The session will include presentations on the policy topic, its development and discussion around practical implementation challenges and how these can be overcome. Officials will issue invitations on behalf of the RRG. Officials will create a process map for the Group to discuss  at their next meeting on engagement with Scottish Government on their policy development priorities.

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