3. Preliminary options for establishing a RIA framework in Mauritius

This section focuses on presenting the different options for embedding RIA within the rule-making process in Mauritius, based upon the strengths and challenges identified in the previous section. To do so, it also draws on lessons learned from RIA implementation in a range of countries and an initial benchmarking of RIA-related best practices and guidance material from various relevant jurisdictions.

As in the previous section, the reference framework for this section consists of the OECD’s RIA Best Practice Principles (see Annex B), as well as Principle No. 4 of the 2012 OECD Recommendation on Regulatory Policy and Governance (see Annex A). This section follows the same basic structure of the RIA Best Practice Principles.

In Section 2, it was noted that there is great interest and political momentum for developing a RIA framework in Mauritius. There is a case for the Government to build upon this momentum and consider how it can ensure widespread political commitment for implementing a new RIA framework within the administration and from key external stakeholders.

Ongoing engagement with external stakeholders is a crucial factor, including publicity of the RIA process and adequate consultation of RIA drafts, which has been shown to increase the quality of the debate and the final RIA document. In addition buy-in from external stakeholders creates demand for good RIA and provides mechanisms making policy makers and civil servants more accountable for their decisions to these stakeholders.

Political commitment has always been an important factor for RIA to be successfully integrated into regulatory policy. International examples of countries implementing RIA have highlighted that a number of factors can militate against its use, including bureaucratic inertia, political need for speed, an appetite to adopt certain politically sensitive proposals without much scrutiny, etc. OECD best practice points to a number of key methods that governments can use to show their commitment towards RIA in the long run, although these are dependent on the nature of a country’s system of governance.

The vast majority of OECD countries have adopted an explicit regulatory policy promoting government-wide regulatory reform or regulatory quality and established dedicated bodies to support the implementation of regulatory policy. Almost all OECD countries have formal requirements for the production of RIA for the development of both primary laws and subordinate regulations. They also generally have a specific minister or high-level official who is accountable for promoting government-wide progress on regulatory reform.

There are a variety of examples of countries that have implemented RIA based on a law (Korea, Mexico); a Prime Ministerial decree or guidelines of the Prime Minister (Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Netherlands); or a cabinet directive or cabinet decision (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom, Portugal) (OECD, 2004[1]). According to the World Bank, evidence from case studies in developing countries suggest that “there may be merit in capitalizing on the strong political commitment often enjoyed at the early stages of RIA reform by seeking a formal/legal integration of RIA in the policy-making process…they would send a credible signal and navigation point for relevant stakeholders”. (Ladegaard, Lundkvist and Kamkhaji, 2018[2]). However, the implementation of such an approach also depends on the historical background administrative culture and commitment of high-level officials of a given country.

The introduction of RIA also provides Governments with the opportunity to consider different types of outreach activities to clearly communicate the goals of RIA, both internally (ministries and agencies) and externally (stakeholders like Parliament, universities, think tanks, mass media…) and present it as a pivotal tool for enhancing regulatory quality. Importantly, regulatory policy could also help to link RIA more clearly with the Government’s policy overall priorities, thereby reinforcing its relevance to government officials and stakeholders.

Key options for Mauritius to consider for developing a whole-of-government policy include:

  • Which institutional setups have worked previously to drive progress in other policy areas; e.g. setting up an inter-ministerial committee, comprising ministers from key ministries to set the strategic guidelines for RIA implementation.

  • How Mauritius could establish a mandate on ministries to carry out RIA including using primary legislation or, alternatively, implementing RIA through administrative rules.

  • What methods could be applied to clearly communicate the goals of RIA, both internally and to external stakeholders. Enhancing stakeholder engagement to secure support for RIA.

Securing stakeholder support for RIA is essential to create consensus on a given RIA policy and secure support by key constituencies over time. In most of the countries that have successfully introduced RIA, the centre-of-government has been instrumental in convincing government officials of the need to draft high quality RIAs also by creating expectations among, and a constant dialogue with, external stakeholders. Governments should view stakeholders as beneficiaries of their policies and an integral part of regulatory policy. Stakeholder engagement, and regulatory policy more generally, should be predicated on the capacity of citizens to articulate problems and offer possible solutions.

Accordingly, the draft OECD Best Practice Principles on Stakeholder Engagement in Regulatory Policy (see Annex E) recommends close co-operation with stakeholders when defining the problem to be solved by a new policy proposal, setting its objectives, identifying various alternative solutions (including non-regulatory ones) and assessing potential impacts of these alternatives, as well as when designing potential implementation mechanisms.

Countries use a wide spectrum of instruments and tools to engage stakeholders in regulatory policy. There are ample examples of attempts to involve stakeholders both in the development of new laws and regulations and the review of regulatory stock, but there is less evidence of attempts to engage stakeholders in regulatory delivery. Box 3.1 provides some strong examples of stakeholder engagement practices from Canada, Mexico and the European Commission, each of whom has a clear stakeholder engagement policy and engages with stakeholders throughout the regulatory cycle using a variety of methods.

As discussed in Section 2, Mauritius possesses a culture of consensus, consultation and collaboration across ministries and agencies. Ministries tend to conduct consultations on new legislative measures at a relatively early stage of the process, giving stakeholders the opportunity to participate. However, the informal nature of this consultation leads to a risk of regulatory capture as the government may habitually consult with similar stakeholder groups during the policy making process. There also seems to be no standardised practice on how to conduct regulatory consultation, including its length, scope, timing, and underlying procedures.

There are a number of options for Mauritius should consider for how it can build upon its long-established experience of stakeholder consultation to drive transparency in the legislative process, including:

  • How to ensure that all stakeholders with an interest in rulemaking, in particular those who are usually least represented, can participate in the rule-making process.

  • How to effectively integrate stakeholder consultation within a new RIA policy, including mandating at what point(s) of the regulatory cycle new regulatory proposals should be consulted upon.

  • How to enhance transparency using stakeholder consultation.

  • How to use stakeholder feedback in the RIA process and how it should inform decision making.

Governance is another key element in the design of a successful RIA system. Making the right choices with respect to a number of governance-related aspects is essential to trigger virtuous dynamics and sufficient incentives inside government. Three key aspects are discussed in this sub-section:

  • The establishment of a regulatory oversight system, which involves allocating roles and responsibilities and defining tasks throughout the regulatory process, especially ensuring that regulatory management tools are used effectively.

  • Putting in place the right mechanisms to facilitate the co-ordination of the RIA process across ministries as well as its management.

  • Forward-planning of legislative activity – in the absence of which successful RIA implementation will be compromised.

Robust oversight is a cornerstone of effective regulatory policy, including tools such as RIA. The 2012 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance calls for countries to “establish mechanisms and institutions to actively provide oversight of regulatory policy procedures and goals, support and implement regulatory and thereby foster regulatory quality”. In the same vein, evidence from developing countries shows that the establishment of an oversight body and the formal integration of RIA procedures into the policy-making process are essential for successful implementation of RIA. (Ladegaard, Lundkvist and Kamkhaji, 2018[2])

Effective regulatory oversight mechanisms incentivise civil servants to use regulatory management tools and follow due process to produce high-quality regulations that achieve their objectives and are aligned with long-term policy goals. Oversight can also help foster a whole-of-government perspective towards regulation, and performs essential co-ordination activities to ensure a homogenous approach to regulatory policy across the public administration. Moreover, it helps governments to establish credible commitments, align the incentives of different actors to attain policy goals, minimise risks of regulatory capture and, more generally, produce an optimal level of regulation (i.e. avoid both over- and under-regulation).

As shown in Box 3.2, the OECD has defined five key functions of regulatory oversight. Of these, three are directly related to RIA: quality control, co-ordination, and guidance, and advice and support.

The function of quality control focuses on scrutiny of RIA and placing incentives on civil servants to conduct RIAs consistently and in a meaningful fashion. It concerns the respect of set procedures and methodological standards, consideration of relevant impacts as well as appropriate linkages with the rest of the policy cycle (including other regulatory policy tools, such as stakeholder consultation and ex post evaluation). Co-ordination, in turn, is essential to promote a whole of government, co-ordinated approach to regulatory quality as well as to ensure consistency in RIA implementation. The guidance, advice and support notably consists of providing appropriate guidance and helping to build RIA-related capacity.

To fulfil its role, a regulatory oversight body needs a consistent mandate, which entails a full range of powers to control, supervise and influence the activity of the ministries in charge of policy portfolios. In addition, the oversight body requires sufficient resources and attributions to carry out an active enforcement of activities, while overseeing the complete regulatory policy. Therefore, effective oversight bodies tend to encompass a core team that has a “cross-functional” nature, i.e. involving individuals with different backgrounds and skills, including economics, law, and political science.

The location of the oversight bodies is also an important consideration. The 2012 Recommendation of the Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance highlights the importance of “a standing body charged with regulatory oversight (…) established close to the centre of government, to ensure that regulation serves whole-of-government policy”. It stresses, however, that the specific institutional solution “must be adapted to each system of governance”; e.g. level of administrative centralisation, power distribution between the central government and ministries/agencies, legal and cultural specificities, sociodemographic factors, etc.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, institutionalising oversight bodies close to the centre of government can contribute to their effectiveness given the associated resource-intensive processes and the need for extensive co-ordination and information sharing across ministries, departments and agencies. Although the oversight functions do not need to be carried out by a single body, effective co-ordination between these functions is crucial for success. Here again, locating oversight functions close to the centre of government can help ensure appropriate co-ordination and dissemination of the necessary guidance and knowledge. Indeed, as shown in Figure 3.1, the co-ordination and guidance functions, which are crucial during the early stages of RIA development, are held by oversight bodies within government in the vast majority of reporting countries – whereas scrutiny functions are comparatively more often located outside of government or in non-departmental bodies.

The Mauritian Government has a number of options for developing a strong regulatory oversight body. As mentioned above, a very important consideration will be where to locate the oversight body within the administration. At the beginning, it would be more effective for Mauritius to follow OECD best practice and establish its oversight body as close to the centre of government as possible, in a part of the administration with a strategic overview of government activity and the authority to drive change. It would be useful for the Government to consider what has worked effectively in the past to drive whole-of-government policy reform; e.g. the inter-ministerial committee and technical committees set up to drive forward the “Doing Business” reforms.

Potential locations include the Prime Minister’s Office, which would represent strong political symbol of the government’s commitment to RIA, although it was reported to the OECD team that the office faces capacity constraints and would have limited capability to run and enforce an oversight function. The Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, in turn, possesses the strongest institutional levers to drive change across the Mauritian Government through its control of the budget process and possesses analytical experience, although this has been more narrowly focused on financial or budgetary impacts.

The Attorney General’s Office has a longstanding background in working across government on legislative drafting and ensuring that new laws are legal and constitutional. It also possesses a strategic view across the Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive. However, it has not had any role in policy development to date, nor does it possess sufficient analytical capacity.

There may also be a role to play for non-governmental public bodies. The Law Reform Commission has a strong record on working to improve regulatory quality through its function of reviewing and recommending changes to legislation. However, it also faces capacity constraints, including a lack of economic analysis expertise amongst its officials. The National Audit Office possesses a strong amount of analytical capacity, although they have had no role in policy development to date, and their work is predominantly ex post in nature.

Embedding a robust regulatory oversight system will require a gradual approach to developing the five oversight functions, which is adapted to the specificities of the Mauritian administration. The oversight functions that are more critical for the Government to implement in the short term would include co-ordinating and promoting a whole-of-government, concerted approach to regulatory quality, and providing guidance, advice and support on the RIA process.

It is imperative, particularly in the longer run, that Mauritius seeks to strengthen regulatory oversight and scrutiny and ensures these functions are implemented effectively. It will be particularly important to ensure that the key roles and responsibilities are clearly understood, tasks are well defined and regulatory management tools are used effectively.

An effective RIA system needs to be co-ordinated and carefully managed across the central ministries of government and other law-making institutions such as parastatal organisations. Different parts of the government need the right incentives to systemically share information and pool expertise and knowledge. It is important to ensure there is sufficient understanding of RIA as a long-term governance reform that has substantial resource implications. For example, according to the World Bank, Greece adopted an extremely ambitious RIA program in 2006 but “low implementation capacity and a lack of co-ordinating body resulted in low quality RIAs, if any”. (Ladegaard, Lundkvist and Kamkhaji, 2018[2])

If co-ordinating efforts are not instituted, officials involved in RIA will most probably be isolated from each other and not work in a concerted and efficient manner. It is therefore important to consider which mechanisms are necessary in order to facilitate the co-ordination of the RIA process across ministries. This sub-section briefly presents international examples that could serve as source of inspiration in that respect. Box 3.3, for instance, presents how UK and Mexican authorities encourage co-ordination across government in their respective systems.

In addition, a number of OECD countries have implemented ICT solutions to facilitate the RIA process operation and interaction between the ministries and entities that issue regulations and the oversight body. For example, in the Czech Republic, the Legislative Rules of the Government (a government resolution) stipulate the regulation-making process, including how ministries are expected to consult with each other during the policy making process. RIA is part of the dossier sent around to all ministries and central agencies for consultations, including the RIA Unit of the Government Office. The dossier is circulated electronically via an automatised process. As a general rule, anyone can comment on the quality of RIA and this happens systematically in practice. The inter-ministerial consultation process is enforced by the Legal Department of the Government Office. Further examples of how ICT can be used to improve RIA-related co-ordination are presented in Box 3.4.

The OECD recommend that programming government policy and legislative work is a fundamental building block of regulatory policy to support a continuous policy cycle for regulatory decision-making. Consultation will be more effective and the RIA process easier to manage if there is clear forward planning of legislation.

Successful implementation of RIA will be compromised in the absence of a functioning legislation planning system. This includes a system for providing a forward look for upcoming legislation, such as those detailed in Box 3.5. As discussed in Section 2, there is no equivalent as of this yet in Mauritius. A legislative programme is developed by ministries at the beginning of a parliament, but it does not provide a complete overview of legislative activity. It is not published and thus cannot be used to inform stakeholder consultation processes.

It is important to consider which mechanisms would be suitable for establishing a system of forward planning for legislation. This could involve requiring ministries to submit plans for upcoming primary and secondary legislation as a first step towards a more targeted RIA programme. This would enable the Government to carry out a quick preliminary analysis of the scope of the legislation, stakeholders that would be impacted and the magnitude of potential impacts. Based on this preliminary analysis, a decision could be made on the necessary depth of RIA. It would be even more effective if this list could be collated as a forward plan, published and made available to all stakeholders to alert them about upcoming legislation.

If Mauritius is to use RIA in a systematic way, the government needs to carefully design the RIA process to be followed across the government that is targeted towards where it can add the greatest value and select an appropriate methodological approach in order to compare the costs and benefits of proposed regulations. This sub-section discusses some of the key aspects deserving consideration in this respect: key RIA steps; methodological choices available; practical application of the proportionality principle; and data collection and the evidence base.

The OECD RIA Best Practice Principles have set out the key elements that should be integrated into any effective RIA framework. However, it should be noted that RIA is an iterative process; therefore some of the steps might be performed repeatedly using inputs from the subsequent ones.

It is crucial that RIA is implemented effectively within the administrative context and incentivises officials to integrate RIA into the early stages of the policy process for the formulation of new regulatory proposals. No RIA can be successful without defining the policy context and objectives, in particular the systematic identification of the problem that provides the basis for action by government. Poor problem identification might lead to unjustified regulations and difficulties in monitoring and assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of these regulations.

As in many developing nations, the typical approach to regulatory interventions in Mauritius can leave little room for the use of non-regulatory alternatives to intervene and solve problems and regulations generally appear as the only possible way to intervene. Therefore there is scope for Mauritius to use RIA to explore the use of alternatives to regulation in various regulatory and policy fields.

The RIA process that Mauritius implements should be as simple and flexible as possible (particularly at the start), while encompassing certain key features. Being able to adapt to the needs of decision-makers (e.g. ministry officials and ministers) is key to maintaining the relevance of RIA. However, at a minimum, the Government should ensure that every process of RIA for Mauritius should follow the best practice steps summarised above.

Various RIA methodologies can be used to compare positive and negative impacts of regulation, including qualitative and quantitative methods, cost-benefit analysis and multi-criteria methods, partial and general equilibrium analysis (see a summary of other methodologies available for RIA in Box 3.6).

RIA methodologies should be tailored to the specific needs of each country. Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) is one methodology that has been applied successfully but the complexity of the methodology varies across and even within countries. Rather than always engaging in quantitative CBA, it is essential that the Mauritian officials in charge of RIA identify all groups of stakeholders who would be impacted and how they will be impacted. They should consider all possible direct and indirect impacts to enable a meaningful comparison of alternative regulatory options that could in principle address the problem identified.

There are a number of options for the Mauritian administration in implementing its RIA methodology. It could begin with a simpler RIA approach with single- or multi-criteria qualitative analysis, and then gradually move to more quantitative analysis (CBA or other). It has also been common for countries to start looking at administrative burdens or regulatory costs first before developing a whole-of-government approach that analyses all costs and benefits of proposed regulations. It could be a long-term goal for the Mauritian administration to move toward using full CBA in its RIA framework.

For example, the Government of Portugal has chosen a gradual approach to rolling out its system of RIA. When introduced in 2017, the Portuguese approach to RIA (named Legislative Impact Analysis) required policy makers to qualitatively describe benefits and to quantify the impact of new regulations on businesses. It also included an SME test and a competition impact assessment. The Technical Unit for Legislative Impact Assessment (UTAIL) was established to provide oversight and support for the new RIA. In 2018, ministries were required to assess legislative impacts on citizens and as of 2019 also impacts on public administration.

There are a number of options through which the Mauritian Government could develop a RIA methodology that follows international best practice. This programme of work could be overseen by the section (or sections) of government tasked with the new regulatory oversight function. The Mauritian Government may consider focusing the RIA methodology more narrowly at first, either by choosing a more qualitative approach to describing the impacts of regulation or assessing costs to business or administrative burdens, before broadening it out to analyse the wider societal costs and benefits of regulatory proposals. For proposals that are estimated to be high-impact, ministries should be required to conduct a more detailed quantitative RIA analysis (using the methodology set out in the new RIA manual). For lower-impact proposals, the RIA manual should state that less detailed analysis can be provided.

Many OECD countries have acknowledged that not every regulation or proposal needs the same level of scrutiny. In fact, the RIA process itself should pass a (rough) CBA – the costs and time to develop and analyse a regulatory proposal should be clearly outweighed by the positive effect that this has of improved policy decisions or regulatory quality. Therefore, it is important the resources used to develop a policy scale with the size of the problem and its solution.

Accordingly, many OECD countries and the EU have a tiered approach to RIA that uses proportionality and threshold tests. Some countries require lighter analysis (“light”, preliminary” or “small” RIA) for all regulations and a more thorough analysis for selected draft regulations with more significant impact. Regulations are exempt from a RIA in certain cases, such as national emergencies. In other cases, policymakers are required to undertake a full RIA if the proposal has a certain level of impact or meets certain qualitative criteria.

The OECD’s RIA Best Practice Principles have pointed to a number of options for sorting out which legislative proposals have to go through a certain level of analysis:

  • Setting quantitative thresholds (e.g. potential impacts over USD 100 million in the USA).

  • Introducing a set of criteria on issues such as the extent of the impact on competition, market openness, employment, productivity, innovation, investment as well the number of people affected by the proposed regulation.

  • Applying multi-criteria analysis.1

  • Setting a general principle of proportionate analysis (such as the one used by the European Commission). The choice of how deep the RIA should be can be left to the administration itself, based on the principle of proportionality. At the same time, such choice requires the scrutiny of an oversight body able to intervene and suggest a deeper analysis in case the proportionality principle has not been applied.

Box 3.7 presents a number of other relevant examples form selected jurisdictions illustrating how the proportionality principle is applied in practice.

There are a number of mechanisms that the Government of Mauritius could consider for targeting RIA efforts, in order to allocate analytical resources to where they could potentially deliver the greatest added value.

  • Establishing a forward planning process (see sub-section on “Establishing a forward planning system”) as a first step towards a more targeted RIA programme.

  • Determining the depth of RIA analysis that should be carried out for legislative proposals that are classified as “low impact” and “higher impact” RIAs.

  • Defining a list and/or criteria of any regulatory proposals that will be exempted from RIA because they do not have any major impact on regulated parties.

Data quality, an essential element of proper analysis, has been recognised as one of the most challenging aspects of RIA because it can be time- and resource-consuming and requires a systematic and functional approach. A poor data collection strategy can mean that appropriate evidence to conduct good analysis is lacking.

For effective implementation of RIA, sound strategies on collecting and accessing data must be developed. Policy making should strive to utilise all potential sources of unbiased data (academics, institutes of statistics, etc.) in order to ensure that governments take the best possible course of action, based on the most complete information set available. This issue is becoming even more pertinent in the era of “big data”.

The availability of data is essential for each step of RIA, i.e. for a meaningful problem definition, for a careful analysis of the alternative solutions available, and for an estimation of the compliance and enforcement costs associated with each of the alternative policy options. It is increasingly important that policy makers rely on statistical institutes in order to ensure that they have a complete and constantly evolving data to draw upon when developing RIA.

The information that RIA requires can be collected in numerous ways. An important procedure to integrate data for RIA takes place during the consultation process. There are, however, other sources for data collection (see Table 3.1, which is also relevant for the sub-section on developing technical capacity for RIA later in this document). In addition, data collection can be classified as primary (collected for the purpose of RIA) or secondary (derived from data previously collected for other purposes). Exploiting all available secondary data helps to limit RIA-related costs and avoid stakeholder disaffection.

It is important to consider which mechanisms would be suitable for ensuring that relevant data are available for RIA, while considering how to use integrate the data from Statistics Mauritius (and other secondary sources) into the RIA process.

This sub-section firstly discusses the main aspects that need to be considered to ensure the availability of the necessary skills and capacity for RIA, both from a methodological standpoint and in terms of building ownership of the RIA system over time. It then presents various options that can be considered for a gradual introduction of RIA in Mauritius – which is advisable given existing skills and capacity constraints.

As discussed in Section 2, there is presently insufficient technical capacity amongst officials within the Mauritian administration to prepare robust RIAs. Where any analytical capacity does exist at present, it is specific to the policy area, e.g. the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development has analytical capacity in analysing the financial impact of new regulations, whilst the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development contains expertise in conducting Environmental Impact Assessments and Strategic Environmental Assessments.

Ensuring that ministries are capable of complying with procedural requirements and meeting quality standards is a fundamental factor to increase the chances that RIA reforms in Mauritius last and perform on a sustained basis. Officials in ministries and regulatory bodies charged with carrying out RIAs, as well as those within the regulatory oversight function, must have the skills to prepare high-quality RIAs, including an understanding of the role of RIA in ensuring regulatory quality and an understanding of methodological requirements and data collection strategies. Training must therefore be provided to civil servants involved in RIA.

Beyond the technical need for training in RIA, training communicates the message to officials that RIA is an important issue, recognised as such by the administrative and political hierarchy. It can be seen as a measure of the political commitment to RIA principles. It also fosters a sense of ownership for reform initiatives, and enhances co-ordination and regulatory coherence.

According to the World Bank, the effectiveness of RIA training may be limited unless capacity-building efforts focus on clear targets and on-the-job requirements: “RIA reforms should focus less on broad and generic RIA training, but rather be targeted to specific RIA requirements of the country. It seems important that training efforts are well measured, anchored and led by the reforming country, and that experience and knowledge can feed into further developments and learning. Training will only become efficient and useful to motivate reluctant civil servants if they know they will be rewarded through their ability to master RIA in their daily work.” (Ladegaard, Lundkvist and Kamkhaji, 2018[2])

Key areas that should be covered by RIA training include techniques for problem definition, setting policy objectives, identifying alternative solution, impact assessment, stakeholder engagement, and implementation of RIA. Training should to the extent possible focus on real-life practical examples and case studies, and aim at developing capacity over time (i.e. not a one-off experience). Detailed guidance material on both the procedural requirements associated with RIA and the substantive aspects of RIA preparation should be published. An overview of key aspects to be considered with regard to the training of regulators in this area is provided in Box 3.8.

In addition, pilot projects can be used to make RIA training more targeted and relevant, which helps secure buy-in of the officials who are to implement RIA. These can range from the large-scale rolling out of RIA in selected government departments to very small-scale, half-day workshops to discuss a particular RIA with policy makers and stakeholders. (Adelle et al., 2015[13])

Governments should publish detailed guidance material, typically covering both the procedural requirements associated with RIA and the substantive aspects of RIA preparation. In addition, guidance on various analytical techniques should be made available. Given the technical nature of RIA techniques (such as CBA), general RIA guidance documents sometimes refer readers to separate, more detailed guidance documents. More recently, a number of countries have developed software-based tools2 that can be used to assist in RIA development. These calculators are, in some countries, accessible also to stakeholders, who can calculate the costs of current, drafted or potential regulations or associated changes.

The OECD also recommend that accountability- and performance-oriented arrangements should be implemented in accordance with the legal and administrative system of a given country. These can include: i) making draft RIAs public and subject to public consultation; ii) specifying the name of the responsible person for every regulatory proposal that is tabled by government and published online; iii) including the evaluation of RIA work as an element in the evaluation of the performance and the determination of productivity of the civil servant; iv) specifying that skills in RIA are an element to be considered for career promotion to specific high-responsibility positions in the administration.

It is therefore crucial that a programme of capacity building is undertaken on RIA in Mauritius. Accordingly, the following aspects will need to be considered:

  • Ensure that sufficient financial and human resources are allocated that allow for the establishment of a dedicated RIA capacity within the oversight function and ministries – RIA is not a cost free activity and will require sustained investment.

  • Consider where to focus capacity building initiatives in the short and then longer term to ensure that sufficient technical capacity is built up.

  • Develop detailed guidance material covering both the procedural requirements associated with RIA and the substantive aspects of RIA preparation.

  • The Government should ensure that ministry officials preparing RIAs have a clear point of contact to approach for advice and training requests throughout the policy process.

  • Create informal mechanisms to share experiences and good practices among RIA experts at a technical level.

  • Consider what accountability- and performance-oriented arrangements could be implemented within the government.

Embedding RIA and building capacity within the Mauritian system will not be a sprint but a careful and thorough race that needs to sink into the culture of the public administration. OECD best practice suggests that Governments need to decide whether to implement RIA at once or gradually. Existing constraints, notably in terms of capacity and expertise, suggest that a gradual approach would be better adapted to the current situation in Mauritius. Once the above-mentioned preconditions are met, various possible paths can be considered for the gradual introduction of RIA:

  • A pilot phase, then the institutionalisation of RIA for all or all major regulations.

  • Starting with a simplified methodology, and then expanding it.

  • Starting from some institutions, and then expand RIA to others.

  • Starting from major regulatory proposals, and then lower the threshold to cover less significant regulations.

  • Starting with binding regulation and then moving to soft-law.

  • Starting with qualitative analysis, and then gradually moving to quantitative analysis (CBA or other).

  • From concentrated RIA expertise to more distributed responsibilities.

Mauritius is clearly at an early stage of its pathway to RIA. As part of this project to institute a RIA framework, the OECD has assisted the Mauritian administration in running one RIA pilot. This pilot has been carried out according to good practices and quality standards and it could be used to “sell” the benefits of deploying the tool. The sample of “proper RIAs” could be expanded over the years, as capacities and familiarity with the tool increase. It will be critical that the Mauritian Government considers how to ensure that the lessons learned from pilot RIAs are capitalised upon, taken forward and disseminated throughout the administration.


[13] Adelle, C. et al. (2015), “New development: Regulatory impact assessment in developing countries—tales from the road to good governance”, Public Money & Management, 35:3, 233-238, https://doi.org/10.1080/09540962.2015.1027500.

[5] European Commission (2019), Regulatory Scrutiny Board, website accessed in November 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-making-process/regulatory-scrutiny-board_en (accessed on 14 November 2019).

[8] Government of the Netherlands (n.d.), Integral assessment framework for policy and regulations, https://www.kcwj.nl/kennisbank/integraal-afwegingskader-voor-beleid-en-regelgeving (website accessed in November 2019).

[2] Ladegaard, P., P. Lundkvist and J. Kamkhaji (2018), Giving Sisyphus a helping hand : pathways for sustainable RIA systems in developing countries, World Bank Group, Washington D.C, http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/691961521463875777/Giving-Sisyphus-a-helping-hand-pathways-for-sustainable-RIA-systems-in-developing-countries.

[7] OECD (2019), Implementing Regulatory Impact Analysis in the Central Government of Peru: Case Studies 2014-16, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264305786-en.

[6] OECD (2018), OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2018, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264303072-en.

[10] OECD (2017), OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform: Chile Evaulation Report: Regulatory Impact Assessment, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/regulatory-impact-assessment-in-chile.htm.

[4] OECD (2017), Regulatory Policy in Korea: Towards Better Regulation, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264274600-en.

[3] OECD (2016), OECD Investment Policy Reviews: Philippines 2016, OECD Investment Policy Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264254510-en.

[9] OECD (2016), Pilot database on stakeholder engagement practices, http://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/pilot-database-on-stakeholder-engagement-practices.htm.

[12] OECD (2015), OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264238770-en.

[11] OECD (2015), “Regulatory Impact Assessment and regulatory policy”, in Regulatory Policy in Perspective: A Reader’s Companion to the OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264241800-5-en.

[14] OECD (2005), Regulatory Impact Analysis in OECD Countries. Challenges for developing countries. South Asian-Third High Level Investment Roundtable., https://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/35258511.pdf.

[1] OECD (2004), Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) Inventory, note prepared by the OECD Secretariat for the Public Governance Committee meeting, OECD, Paris, OECD Publishing, Paris.


← 1. For example in Switzerland, a more complex RIA is required when three criteria from a list of 10 are met.

← 2. In Mexico, a regulatory impact calculator was introduced in 2010, as part of a broader set of regulatory policy reforms, allowing regulators to identify potential impacts of their draft regulation. This is a software tool consisting of ten questions to determine the type of RIA to be conducted.

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