Creating a Culture of Independence

Practical Guidance against Undue Influence

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Regulators are the “referees” of markets that provide essential services to citizens; they guarantee that all actors respect the rules and work to achieve the best outcomes. This means that their behaviour must be objective, impartial, consistent and free from conflict of interest – in other words, independent. Yet, regulators need to engage with a number of stakeholders, who may also seek to apply pressure and exert undue influence on regulatory outcomes. The independence of regulators is thus constantly under stress. This report provides practical advice on how to address stress points and protect economic regulators from undue influence, drawing on the experience of over 80 regulators that participate in the OECD Network of Economic Regulators (NER). It presents a practical checklist to support behavioural and organisational change, and helps other stakeholders better understand and appreciate the role of regulators and how to interact with them.

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This guidance is based on a body of work developed by the OECD’s Network of Economic Regulators (NER) and the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC). Discussions first began in the initial meetings of the NER given the increased pressures on regulators in an ever dynamic, complex and challenging climate. “Preventing from undue influence and maintaining trust” is one of the seven principles in the 2014 OECD Best Practice Principles on the “Governance of Regulators” which provided the rationale and considerations for regulators to be and act independently (OECD, 2014).

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