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Welcome to The Institute of Regulation blogspace. These quick reads are set to inspire, challenge and introduce you to the world of regulation. Please find our selection of blogs below:

  • 25 Oct 2022 14:54 | The Institute of Regulation (Administrator)

    On 22 September, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee published a report on Regulation After Brexit. The report is clear that EU Exit has had a significant impact on UK regulators who have taken on new and expanded roles. But the development of long-term regulatory strategies post-EU Exit has been slow, and the future direction of regulation remains unclear.

    Regulators are facing challenges in accessing the skills they need to regulate effectively, including vets to monitor food safety and animal welfare in abattoirs, toxicologists to assess food risks and chemical safety, and lawyers and economists to enforce competition law and protect consumers. And many regulators have also been asked to cut budgets and staff, and lost access to data sharing arrangements with the EU, all making current regulatory models unsustainable. There are risks that regulatory divergence between the EU and UK may make regulation less efficient and more costly for regulators, consumers and businesses, though there are opportunities too.

  • 24 Oct 2022 14:37 | The Institute of Regulation (Administrator)

    The Institute of Regulation has good links with professional bodies for regulators in other countries, particularly in Australia and New Zealand. In the US, we are in contact with CLEAR, the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation. Their role, like ours, is to be a forum for improving the quality and understanding of regulation.

    You can check out their podcasts and other material on their website.

  • 18 Oct 2022 09:50 | The Institute of Regulation (Administrator)

    The hottest day in British history was not one to celebrate: school closures, fires, transport disruption, yet more pressure on the NHS. July 19 2022 was a clear reminder, if we needed one, that climate change is not conceptual nor theoretical but real and tangible. Its effect on our lives is felt now.

    So, what does that mean for us as regulators – particularly those with stretched resources, competing priorities and limited in-house expertise and knowledge in relation to sustainability? That was the topic of the day at the Institute of Regulation’s first ever roundtable event, hosted by PA Consulting in London on 29 June.

    It’s always powerful when regulators, from all our different domains, get together. In fact, that is the fundamental premise of the new Institute itself: that together we are better, more insightful and more able to grapple effectively with the challenges on each of our desks.

    I’m grateful to colleagues from the Equalities and Human Rights Commissionthe Care Quality CommissionOfcomCivil Aviation AuthorityProfessional Standards AuthorityMedicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory AgencyNorth Sea Transition Authority, and the Food Standards Agency – along with our hosts PA Consulting – each of whom shared experiences, what they’re doing so far to tackle the sustainability challenge and lessons for us all to learn. Here are four takeaway reflections from the discussion:

    1. Sustainability is on the agenda for us all

    Very few regulators have statutory footings that explicitly address issues of sustainability, yet it’s clear it’s on the agenda for us all.  Stakeholders rightly expect that the care industry is not frivolous in its use of resources; that our food is produced not only safely, but sustainably; that the future of aviation is getting serious about emissions.

    In fact, we heard that many regulators are choosing to be proactive, driving the sustainability agenda in their industry irrespective of whether it is mentioned explicitly in statutory mandates. The MHRA, for example, is looking at how to play its part in reducing the NHS’s carbon emissions from medicines and medical devices. In response to these new areas of work, some regulators are choosing to recruit in new skills or work with external partners to secure the necessary expertise and experience.

    2. Taking the broader view

    Reducing carbon is important. But it’s not the whole picture. Regulators are optimally placed to make serious, long-term contributions across the full range of all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Some regulators are already taking steps in this direction. The EHRC is beginning to consider the equalities impacts of a shift to a sustainable economy.

    3. Shining a light

    Within our distinct domains, the voice of the regulator holds weight. When regulators comment on the extent of sustainable practice in the industries we regulate, stakeholders can and do trust what we say. We can shine a light on good practice, to expose poor practice, and so to provoke change and have real impact.  Just using our voice, just shining a light is a significant regulatory tool for change.  We at Ofqual are considering how we can deploy our position in the industry to highlight good sustainability practice and raise the bar across the qualifications industry.

    4. Measurement is key

    Though carbon may not be the whole picture, it is a part of it. Yet at present there is no one single, consistent standard for the measurement of carbon emissions in the UK. This will become increasingly important for regulators if those we regulate, and their customers, are to have confidence in the information they collect and receive about environmental impact. Ofcom is grappling with this question of how its regulated sectors can measure and maximise the enabling role of digital communications to decarbonise (commonly referred to as scope 4) for which there is no agreed methodology. There is significant opportunity for government and regulators to work together to establish consistent measurement standards to unlock reliable information for consumers and industry alike.

    Future opportunities for regulators to work together

    The Institute of Regulation wants to establish a special interest group specifically on sustainability and regulation. It will be a forum to take forward these discussions and open them to all members of the Institute. Please contact us if you would be willing to participate in such a group.

    Michael Hanton, Director, Institute of Regulation & Executive Director Strategy, Ofqual

  • 29 Sep 2022 14:34 | The Institute of Regulation (Administrator)

    On 29 September, our trustee Marcial Boo spoke at RegTech; a conference at Australia House in London about the use of technology in regulation. He argued that regulators are responsible for overseeing complex systems that are getting ever more complex as sectors develop and society globalises.

    In addition, many regulators are relatively young, often having been set up in the last 20 years, so they have so far understandably focused on their core business and on embedding their regulatory framework in the sectors they oversee.

    This means that technology presents an under-exploited opportunity to deliver the tools to help regulators manage the growing complexity of their regulatory burdens. A more detailed blog about his speech is here.

  • 1 Sep 2022 14:29 | The Institute of Regulation (Administrator)

    A letter to Conservative leadership candidates from legal, environmental, medical and equality organisations, coordinated by Unchecked, urged the new Prime Minister to support regulation. They said: “The UK has always been at the forefront of having strong protections and common-sense regulations.

    These protections are the invisible safety net that holds together our society and provides stability for the UK … and they create a level playing field that allows businesses to grow and thrive”.

  • 25 Aug 2022 14:49 | The Institute of Regulation (Administrator)

    For an unusual regulatory issue, have a look at this article from The Economist. It was once forbidden to sell home-made food for profit in America. But regulations changed during Covid. Looser rules encouraged more people to start cottage-food operations – New York state saw 1,538 new home-producers registered in 2020, up from 986 in 2019.

    But things went wrong, with cases of exploding bottles of unregulated ‘pink sauce’ in Florida reported to the US Food and Drug Administration. Sometimes regulation is worth it...

  • 8 Aug 2022 14:04 | The Institute of Regulation (Administrator)

    On the 8th August, the think tank Policy Exchange published its report ‘Re-engineering Regulation. It argues that regulation is vital to the UK, and that, post-Brexit, we have “a unique opportunity to streamline and modernise regulation to deliver the high environmental and social standards citizens desire, while also giving the British economy the competitive edge it needs”. Its recommendations will give regulators much to discuss. 

  • 19 Jul 2022 14:22 | The Institute of Regulation (Administrator)

    On the 19th July, the Institute, supported by PA Consulting, hosted a roundtable for regulators on issues of sustainability. We discussed how regulators can consider the challenges of environmental change even if we regulate other sectors or areas. An account of our discussions is here:  Michael Hanton IoR Sustainability Blog v1.1sept 22.docx 

    Following the discussion, we plan to create a Special Interest Group to continue the discussion. Other roundtables will be held in future. 

  • 8 Jul 2022 14:31 | The Institute of Regulation (Administrator)

    In November 2021, MP Tracey Crouch published a report from her fan-led review of football which included a recommendation to create a football regulator. The UK government responded to the review findings in April 2022 and endorsed the principle of establishing an independent regulator for English football. A blog about these issues from PA Consulting is available here: Football Regulation.

  • 5 Jul 2022 09:39 | Anonymous

    It’s hugely exciting to welcome you to The Institute of Regulation. Without you, the Institute is not a community, cannot pursue its goal of strengthening the profession of regulation, nor will we have the power of our voice to shape the future of regulation. Yet with you, we can do all that and more, and all for the benefit of society and democracy.

    We know that we’re a young organisation and that you have taken the plunge to support a fledgling organisation to take its first steps. I and all the directors that have been working to establish the Institute are so grateful. It’s exciting times ahead and I’m delighted to introduce our new blogspace to keep you all up to date on what’s going on. My most important message, however, is that there is still so much to do. If you would like to get involved in establishing the Institute, please drop us a line. We would love to hear from you! Together, we can make this something so valuable for us as regulators, for the future of our sector and for all of society.

    So, for those of you who are new, The Institute of Regulation is the UK’s first professional membership body for those working in and interested in regulation. Our aims are to strengthen UK regulatory skills and knowledge and to share good practice, including by building a connected community of regulators, developing training and development in regulatory issues and, in time, leveraging the power of our voice to influence the future of regulation.

    The Institute will succeed if we build a strong network of members and add value to their work. As mentioned before, if you can help build the UK’s regulatory profession or are interested in engaging with the Institute in other ways, please get in touch. Please also encourage others to join the Institute of Regulation as it develops, and you begin to see the benefits of our Institute.


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