Risk and Regulatory Policy

Improving the Governance of Risk

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We expect governments to protect citizens from the adverse consequences of hazardous events. At the same time it is not possible or necessarily in the best interest of citizens for all risks to be removed. A risk-based approach to the design and implementation of regulation can help to ensure that regulatory approaches are efficient, effective and account for risk/risk tradeoffs across policy objectives. Risk-based approaches to the design of regulation and compliance strategies can improve the welfare of citizens by providing better protection, more efficient government services and reduced costs for business. Across the OECD there is great potential to improve the operation of risk policy as few governments have taken steps to develop a coherent risk governance policy for managing regulation.  

This publication presents recent OECD research and analysis on risk and regulatory policy.  The chapters discuss core challenges today. They offer measures for developing, or improving, coherent risk governance policies. Topics include: challenges in designing regulatory policy frameworks to manage risks; different cultural and legal dimensions of risk regulatory concepts across OECD; analytical models and principles for decision making in uncertain situations; key elements of risk regulation and governance institutions; the use of management-based regulation to help firms make risk-related behavioural changes; an analysis of the risk-based frameworks of regulators in five OECD countries (Australia, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom) and across four sectors: environment, food safety, financial markets and health and safety; and the elements for designing formal guidelines for risk prioritisation, assessment, management and communication.




Risk Regulatory Concepts and the Law

Over the last decade risk regulatory concepts have been increasingly utilised in administrative decision making in a wide array of contexts in many different jurisdictions. These concepts have been introduced for different reasons; are regulating administrative power in a range of ways; and are not defined homogeneously. Moreover, these concepts have not gone un-criticised and these criticisms make clear that the use of risk regulatory concepts must be done with care, critical reflection, and an awareness of complexities involved in their use. The complexity of risk regulatory concepts is reflected in the many different legal dimensions of risk regulatory concepts. A study of the interface between risk regulatory concepts and these different legal dimensions highlights the fact that the operation of risk regulatory concepts is not straightforward and is always embedded in a particular cultural and legal context.


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