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The interface between subnational and national levels of government

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Multilevel regulatory governance‐ that is to say, taking into account the rule‐making and rule‐enforcement activities of all the different levels of government, not just the national levelis another core element of effective regulatory management. The OECD's 2005 Guiding Principles for Regulatory Quality and Performance "encourage Better Regulation at all levels of government, improved co‐ordination, and the avoidance of overlapping responsibilities among regulatory authorities and levels of government". It is relevant to all countries that are seeking to improve their regulatory management, whether they are federations, unitary states or somewhere in between. In many countries local governments are entrusted with a large number of complex tasks, covering important parts of the welfare system and public services such as social services, health care and education, as well as housing, planning and building issues, and environmental protection. Licensing can be a key activity at this level. These issues have a direct impact on the welfare of businesses and citizens. Local governments within the boundaries of a state need increasing flexibility to meet economic, social and environmental goals in their particular geographical and cultural setting. At the same time, they may be taking on a growing responsibility for the implementation of EC regulations. All of this requires a pro active consideration of: • The allocation/sharing of regulatory responsibilities at the different levels of government (which can be primary rule‐making responsibilities; secondary rule‐making responsibilities based on primary legislation, or the transposition of EC regulations; responsibilities for supervision/enforcement of national or subnational regulations; or responsibilities for service delivery). • The capacities of these different levels to produce quality regulation. • The co‐ordination mechanisms between the different levels, and across the same levels.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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