Regulatory Review Group minutes: October 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 26 October 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
  • Wendy McCutcheon, Scottish Government
  • John Paul Liddle, Scottish Government
  • Hazel Burgess, Scottish Government
  • Ross Stephen, Scottish Government
  • Alex Kidd, Scottish Government
  • Rachel Dolan, Scottish Government


  • Brian Lawrie, Society of Chief Officers of Environmental Health in Scotland
  • Douglas White, Consumer Scotland
  • James Fowlie, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Professor Russel Griggs OBE welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending the first Regulatory Review Group (RRG) meeting in person since its hiatus during COVID-19. Apologies were received from Douglas White and Brian Lawrie.

Terms of Reference (ToRs) and core membership 

The ToRs were agreed with the caveat of being updated in the future as required. It was explained that the RRG will be the main forum to examine the substantive implementation of regulations, while the other working groups established under the New Deal for Business Group (NDBG) are to be time limited. The Business Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) group and NDBG subgroup have focused roles in improving the BRIA and monitoring NDBG action progress. The Regulation Reform and Implementation Group (RRIG) will be ongoing and covers the overall delivery of the recommendations set out in the NDBG recommendation report. It was also noted that the members of the RRG will have sight of the BRIA working group outputs. Officials will create a visual and share with the group.

It was noted that the RRIG will support the Scottish Government in developing a process for examining the cumulative burden of regulations and the policy cycle that will be developed. It was agreed that the RRG will play a leading role in developing the regulatory vision statement in partnership with regulators.

There was discussion regarding transparency and the need for members to act independently from any business or commercial interests.  The ToRs will be updated to reaffirm the requirement for members to act independently.

It was noted that where reserved legislation may present challenges for Scotland from an implementation perspective, the RRG may make an intervention. 

The RRG’s membership is set out in the ToRs, it was agreed that it should remain focused. Requests to join will be reviewed and brought back to the group to decide. It was also noted that expertise in certain areas can be brought in at specific times as and when they are needed.

Regulation prioritisation

Scottish Government officials provided an overview of regulations in development, as set out in the Programme for Government in September. The key themes included public health, circular economy, tourism and consumers.

The RRG discussed three strands of work to manage the workload and ensure effective prioritisation and scrutiny: 

  • scrutinising specific regulations. Officials would be invited to provide a high-level overview of the direction of policy travel at a consultation stage. The RRG would be able to provide input into practical implementation challenges that may emerge with certain policy action
  • Providing a higher overview thematically. The RRG would examine regulations from the end user's perspective on a thematic basis and provide a view on cumulative impact 
  • Contributing to discussion on better regulation and improving processes (BRIA and voluntary regulation etc.)

The RRG noted the need to look at the impact of cumulative burden on regulators and resulting issues around effective compliance and enforcement as part of their activity.

It was agreed that engagement by RRG on specific regulation is better early in the process to give strategic advice and to take time to get into the detail. It was also noted that a policy team could come to the RRG at an early stage and the proposed implementation aspects can be discussed. 

Scottish Government officials informed the group of another commitment, a “matrix” of regulations that is being developed to set out what regulations are forecasted to be enacted and when. This could be used to see which areas the RRG could bring their expertise and insight to. 

Meeting frequency and reporting

It was agreed the RRG would meet monthly, with a mix of in person and virtual. Dates for the next 6 months to be added to calendar with a review at the end of that period on the frequency. 

BRIA update 

It was noted that the Scottish Government will be undertaking an internal review of the BRIA process, to be followed thereafter by discussion with external stakeholders on improvement.

It was noted that officials are talking to Consumer Scotland on the introduction of the Consumer Duty, as well as trade officials on the Internal Market Act. It was noted that SG officials will meet with Susan Love for expertise on a small business perspective given her previous role with FSB.

It was noted that Scottish Government officials are engaged with the policy profession and are examining options for supporting effective training and development as set out in the NDBG recommendation report. 

Next meeting and any other business

Officials highlighted the UKG UK wide consultation “Smarter regulation and the regulatory landscape” and the RRG agreed to consider and respond if appropriate

Next meeting date is 30 November 2023 and will be virtual.

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