Overview and recent developments

Switzerland did not undertake any major reforms of its regulatory policy framework since 2015. RIA has to be conducted for all regulations in Switzerland. While most RIAs are simple RIAs that focus on qualitative analysis, in-depth RIAs that contain more thorough analysis and quantify impacts are conducted only for a few economically significant regulations. The Swiss Federal Audit Office reviewed the quality of the Swiss RIA framework in 2016. It found that available RIA tools are underused and that close to 30% of RIAs examined were of insufficient quality. The report recommends to further improve RIA quality by enhancing quality control mechanisms.

Stakeholders can comment on all draft primary laws and major subordinate regulations in public online consultations, which last at least 12 weeks. Early-stage stakeholder engagement on the nature of the problem and possible solutions is carried out for most regulations but is not open to the general public. Switzerland could benefit from establishing a more systematic approach to public early-stage consultations.

While a requirement for policy evaluation is enshrined in the Swiss Constitution, ex post evaluation of regulations is mandatory only for some regulations, and there are no standardised evaluation techniques to be used when conducting evaluations.

Institutional setup for regulatory oversight

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) issues guidelines for conducting RIA and reviews selected RIAs to provide non-public opinions on their quality. SECO also publishes reports on the level of regulatory costs and results from business perception surveys of administrative burden. The Federal Office of Justice and the Federal Chancellery’s Legal and Central Language Services are responsible for scrutinising the legal quality of draft regulation and provide advice on stakeholder engagement. The Federal Office of Justice provides guidelines for legislative drafting and stakeholder engagement processes as well as for ex post evaluation. It also manages the Federal Administration Evaluation Network, which provides a forum for exchange on evaluation inside the federal government. The extra-parliamentary commission of experts “SME Forum”, consisting mostly of entrepreneurs, operates at arm’s length from government. It scrutinises the measurement of regulatory costs and impacts on SMEs in selected RIAs and makes recommendations for improving the regulatory framework for SMEs.

Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance (iREG): Switzerland, 2018

Notes: The more regulatory practices as advocated in the OECD Recommendation on Regulatory Policy and Governance a country has implemented, the higher its iREG score. The indicators on stakeholder engagement for primary laws only cover those initiated by the executive (82% of all primary laws in Switzerland).

Source: Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance Surveys 2014 and 2017, http://oe.cd/ireg.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933815471

Location of regulatory oversight functions: Switzerland

Regulatory oversight functions

Centre of government

Ministry of Finance, Economy or Treasury

Ministry of Justice

Other ministries

Non-departmental body


Office of the Attorney General

Supreme audit institution

Part of the judiciary

Quality control of…


Stakeholder engagement

Ex post evaluation

Identifying policy areas where regulation can be made more effective

Systematic improvement of regulatory policy

Co-ordination of regulatory policy

Guidance, advice and support

Scrutiny of legal quality

Notes: ⚫ indicates that a given regulatory oversight function is covered by at least one body in a particular location. Data present the situation as of 31 December 2017 and do not reflect changes that may have taken place in 2018.

Source: Survey questions on regulatory oversight bodies, Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance Survey 2017, http://oe.cd/ireg.

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