Switzerland has reformed its regulatory policy framework in 2019, in particular through the issuing of new regulatory impact assessment (RIA) directives by the Federal Council. The requirement for RIA to be conducted for all regulations in Switzerland has been refined with a “quick check” procedure and additional consideration for proportionality. All regulations must undergo a preliminary RIA, which will allow to identify regulations to be subject to an in-depth assessment. A threshold test, based on quantitative and qualitative criteria, is applied to determine whether a regulation should be subject to a simplified or full RIA. The obligation to quantify regulatory costs has been extended and systematised, such as for all new regulations which cause additional regulatory costs for more than 1 000 companies or which place a particular burden on an economic sector. Switzerland focuses less on quantifying benefits and costs of regulations to citizens.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), within the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, issues guidelines for conducting RIA, reviews selected RIAs to provide non-public opinions on their quality, and is responsible for promoting international regulatory co-operation (IRC). SECO also publishes reports on the level of regulatory costs and results from business perception surveys of administrative burdens. A new regulation has been issued to formally and permanently define SECO's tasks and competencies with regard to RIA. 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.

Stakeholders can comment on all draft primary laws and major subordinate regulations in public online consultations, which last at least 12 weeks. Switzerland is one of the few OECD members that informs its citizens in advance of upcoming consultations. Early-stage stakeholder engagement on the nature of the problem and possible solutions are 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.

The requirement for policy evaluation is enshrined in the Swiss Constitution. However, ex post evaluation of regulations is mandatory only for some regulations. While there are co-ordination mechanisms in place across the administration as well as support units for evaluation, there are no standardised evaluation techniques to be used when conducting evaluations.

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