United Kingdom

Overview and recent development

The United Kingdom continues to invest in its regulatory policy system, with a particular focus on business. UK government departments regularly conduct post implementation reviews, in particular for all measures with an impact on business following the introduction of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act in 2015. The government also established over the last years the Business Impact Target programme and the Cutting Red Tape reviews programme to reduce regulatory costs for business.

Consultations are conducted for all regulations in the United Kingdom. To provide for a more proportionate and targeted approach, the Cabinet Office published a revised set of consultation principles. With the “dialogue app” an innovative form of stakeholder engagement on modern employment practices has been introduced. To enhance the accessibility of these consultations, minimum consultation period with the general public could be considered. In an effort to identify innovation-friendly regulatory approaches, the government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency’s Innovation Office provides a single point of access to free regulatory advice for organizations wishing to introduce new products and the Financial Conduct Authority’s Regulatory Sandbox allows firms to undertake live testing of innovative products or services.

The United Kingdom continues to place emphasis on evidence-based policy making. A preliminary and final stage RIA that takes into account stakeholder comments are carried out for all regulations except for deregulatory and low-cost measures, which are eligible for a fast track procedure. Recently, initial review notices have been introduced to alert regulators at an early stage if there are concerns with the quality of the RIA to allow for enough time for improvement. The United Kingdom may benefit from extending the focus of its current regulatory policy agenda on business on other elements important for inclusive growth.

Institutional setup for regulatory oversight

The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) is a non-departmental advisory body responsible for providing the government with external, independent scrutiny of evidence and analysis supporting new regulatory proposals in RIAs. It also has a role to scrutinise the quality of ex post evaluations of legislation. The Better Regulation Executive located within the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is responsible for better regulation policy and is the lead unit in the UK government for promoting and delivering changes to the regulatory policy framework. The National Audit Office reports on the effectiveness of the regulatory policy framework as a whole by conducting value-for-money studies. Parliamentary bodies scrutinise draft laws for legal quality and identify areas of policy where regulation can be made more effective.

Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance (iREG): United Kingdom, 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 and RIA for primary laws only cover those initiated by the executive (71% of all primary laws in the UK).

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

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933815699

Location of regulatory oversight functions: United Kingdom

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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