Cutting Red Tape

English
ISSN: 
1997-6674 (online)
ISSN: 
1997-6666 (print)
DOI: 
10.1787/19976674
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This series examines how governments can reduce red tape in their administrations.  Some of the reports are country-specific, and some look at various issues across a number of countries.
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Why Is Administrative Simplification So Complicated?

Why Is Administrative Simplification So Complicated?

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English
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    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/4210241e.pdf
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Author(s):
OECD
27 Sep 2010
Pages
138
ISBN
9789264089754 (PDF) ;9789264089730(print)
DOI: 
10.1787/9789264089754-en

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"Too much ‘red tape’!" is one of the most common complaints from businesses and citizens in OECD countries. Administrative simplification is a regulatory quality tool to review and reduce administrative and regulatory procedures. It has remained high on the agenda in most OECD countries over the last decade and continues to be so. Countries’ efforts to strengthen their competitiveness, productivity and entrepreneurship during the current recession have made simplification efforts even more urgent.  

Until now, efforts to reduce administrative burdens have primarily been driven by ambitions to improve the cost efficiency of administrative regulations, as these impose direct and indirect costs on regulated subjects. Many countries will finish their current projects over the next few years and must decide how to continue their efforts and how to make them more efficient.  

This report looks beyond 2010 and presents policy options for administrative simplification that are in line with current trends and developments. It provides policy makers with guidance on the available tools and explains common mistakes to be avoided when designing, undertaking and evaluating administrative simplification programmes.

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  • Foreword
    Administrative simplification is a tool used to review and simplify the stock of administrative regulations. It has stayed on the top of priority list in most OECD countries in the last ten years. The main goal of activities focusing on administrative simplification has been to remove unnecessary costs imposed on regulated subjects by government regulations that can hamper the economic competition and innovation.
  • Acronyms
  • Executive Summary
    Administrative simplification is a regulatory quality tool to review and simplify administrative regulation. It has remained high on the agenda in most OECD countries over the last decade. Efforts to reduce administrative burdens have primarily been driven by ambitions to improve the costefficiency of administrative regulations, as these impose direct and indirect costs on regulated subjects.
  • New Developments in Administrative Simplification
    This chapter summarises the latest developments in the area of administrative simplification, including the numerous programmes to reduce administrative costs, trends in dealing with regulatory stock, use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for administrative simplification, developments in the area of inspections and enforcement, regulatory reviews, etc. It also deals with the issue of perception of SCM-based programmes by businesses and/or citizens and discusses possible reasons why stakeholders are often unimpressed by governments’ simplification efforts.
  • Future Policy Directions for Administrative Burden Reduction
    Chapter 2 presents policy options in line with trends and developments and provides policy makers with guidance on possibilities and common mistakes to be avoided when designing, undertaking and evaluating administrative simplification programmes. The report finds that the focus of administrative simplification projects should be broadened. Governments should quantify administrative burdens and set quantitative targets for their reduction, however quantification should be used cautiously and complemented by qualitative methods. Administrative simplification should be integrated and co-ordinated with other activities in the area of regulatory reform. Efficient institutional structures for co-ordination and monitoring of administrative simplification projects should be created, and communication with stakeholders must be strengthened. Last but not least, administrative simplification efforts should be evaluated for their "value for money". An evaluation strategy should be developed before launching the project.
  • Bibliography
  • Annex A. Policy Options
    The focus of administrative simplification projects should be broadened. Countries should consider concentrating not solely on businesses but include also the costs of regulation on citizens and the public sector, and other costs than the administrative ones, e.g. other substantive costs, irritants, etc.
  • Annex B. Evaluating Administrative Burden Reduction Programmes and their Impacts
    Since a couple of decades, OECD countries have embarked on a series of structural reforms targeting the way public administrations organise themselves and deliver. In this context, administrative simplification strategies seek to rationalise and streamline the bureaucratic machinery, and enhance the efficiency of its procedures. It is therefore one of the most diffused approaches to cope with the costs of regulatory inflation. "Cutting red tape" forms integral part of such strategies. The term red tape is generally used to refer to administrative burdens (ABs), i.e. "regulatory costs in the form of asking for permits, filling out forms, and reporting and notification requirements for the government" (OECD, 2006, p. 17). These can be harmful if they unnecessarily limit innovation, trade, investment and economic efficiency in general.
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