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Institutional capacities for Better Regulation

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Regulatory management needs to find its place in a country's institutional architecture, and have support from all the relevant institutions. The institutional framework within which Better Regulation must exert influence extends well beyond the executive centre of government, although this is the main starting point. The legislature and the judiciary, regulatory agencies and the subnational levels of government, as well as international structures (notably, for this project, the EU), also play critical roles in the development, implementation and enforcement of policies and regulations. The parliament may initiate new primary legislation, and proposals from executive rarely if ever become law without integrating the changes generated by parliamentary scrutiny. The judiciary may have the role of constitutional guardian, and is generally responsible for ensuring that the executive acts within its proper authority, as well as playing an important role in the interpretation and enforcement of regulations. Regulatory agencies and subnational levels of government may exercise a range of regulatory responsibilities. They may be responsible (variously) for the development of secondary regulations, issue guidance on regulations, have discretionary powers to interpret regulations, enforce regulations, as well as influencing the development of the overall policy and regulatory framework. What role should each actor have, taking into account accountability, feasibility, and balance across government? What is the best way to secure effective institutional oversight of Better Regulation policies? The OECD's previous country reviews highlight the fact that the institutional context for implanting effective regulatory management is complex and often highly fragmented. Approaches need to be customised, as countries' institutional settings and legal systems can be very specific, ranging from systems adapted to small societies with closely knit governments that rely on trust and informality, to large federal systems that must find ways of dealing with high levels of autonomy and diversity. Continuous training and capacity building within government, supported by adequate financial resources, contributes to the effective application of Better Regulation. Beyond the technical need for training in certain processes such as impact assessment or plain drafting, training communicates the message to administrators that this is an important issue, recognised as such by the administrative and political hierarchy. It can be seen as a measure of the political commitment to Better Regulation. It also fosters a sense of ownership for reform initiatives, and enhances co‐ordination and regulatory coherence.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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