copy the linklink copied!1. Context of IRC policies and practices

This chapter documents the context of international regulatory co-operation policies and practices in the United Kingdom. It finds that for now IRC is not yet strongly embedded in the existing institutional and regulatory policy framework. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom has well-established regulatory disciplines, cross government policies providing incentives for a range of regulators to pursue common objectives; and a variety of actors involved in supporting and overseeing the conduct of regulatory policy. This robust Better Regulation Framework puts the United Kingdom in a strong position to make IRC an integral part of the rulemaking process and ensure strong leadership and a strategic whole-of-government vision.


copy the linklink copied!Regulatory production in the United Kingdom and broad regulatory policy context

The United Kingdom is a strong performer in regulatory policy, with well-established regulatory disciplines, cross government policies providing incentives for a range of regulators to pursue common objectives; and a variety of actors involved in supporting and overseeing the conduct of regulatory policy. This robust Better Regulation Framework puts the United Kingdom in a strong position to take the next step and make the consideration of IRC an integral part of the rulemaking process.

What regulatory instruments and standards exist in the United Kingdom?

The UK rulemaking system (Box ‎1.1) distinguishes between primary laws, subordinate regulations (i.e. Statutory instruments, encompassing technical regulations also referred to as “rules”), as well as rulemaking powers bestowed upon regulators through legislation. A significant proportion of these instruments are based on EU law (notably EU Directives and Regulations). In addition, standards (which are mostly used voluntarily by industry to demonstrate performance but can also be the basis of or cited by regulation)1 are developed through consensus processes at national, European and international level.

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Box ‎1.1. UK Rulemaking: definitions of regulatory instruments and standards

“Primary legislation is the general term used to describe the main laws passed by the legislative bodies of the United Kingdom, including the UK Parliament.”1

“Secondary legislation is law created by ministers (or other bodies) under powers given to them by an Act of Parliament (primary legislation). Secondary legislation is also known as ‘delegated’ or ‘subordinate’ legislation and often takes the form of a statutory instrument.”2

Subordinate regulation is most frequently adopted under the form of “Statutory Instruments” drafted by a government department to complement legislative acts. These SIs may take different forms. The most common forms are orders, regulations, rules, and schemes. These statutory instruments encompass technical regulations, also referred to as “rules” (The National Archives, 2017[1]); (House of Commons Information Office, 2008[2]).

In addition, a number of regulatory organisations have specific rulemaking powers bestowed upon them by the UK Parliament e.g. the FCA operates under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

British standards are standards developed and published by BSI,3 defined as “formal consensus standards as set out in BS 0:2016 A standard for standards – Principles of standardization and based on the principles of standardisation policy recognised inter alia in European standardisation policy”4 as well as by WTO, ISO/IEC (i.e. voluntary process and compliance, consensus, impartiality, openness and balanced participation, transparency, independence and recognition of standards body, fitness for purpose, acceptability, accountability, and coherence).5



3 See art. 3.2 BS 0:2016 A standard for standards – Principles of standardization, available at

4 Memorandum of understanding between the United Kingdom Government and the British Standards Institution in Respect of its Activities as the United Kingdom’s National Standards Body

5 Information provided by British Standards Institute.

Source: (The National Archives, 2017[1]); (House of Commons Information Office, 2008[2]); (BSI, 2016[3]).

Key features of the UK better regulation framework

From the mid-1980s, the United Kingdom has progressively adopted a vigorous and ambitious better regulation agenda, making it a leader in this area (OECD, 2010[4]) and (OECD, 2018[5]). The key principles of the better regulation agenda (transparency, accountability, targeting, consistency and proportionality) were published by the Better Regulation Task Force in 1998 and have been set out in successive reports and policy statements over the years. Also that year, processes for ex ante assessment of new regulations were strengthened by the introduction of Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs) into the policy making process.

This was followed by the Regulatory Reform Act 2001, which established a fast-track procedure for the amendment of burdensome regulations. The publication of the Hampton Report in 2005 addressed the issues of enforcement and adopting a risk-based approach. The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act, introduced in 2006, required regulatory bodies to have regard to the better regulation principles when exercising a statutory function. Then the 2008 Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act enacted measures building on the Hampton Report. In addition, the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), an advisory non-departmental public body, was established in 2009 to validate departments’ estimates of costs and benefits to business. In 2015, the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (SBEE Act) legislated for a Business Impact Target, obliging the Government to set a target for the change of regulatory burdens on business and civil society organisations at the start of each parliament and for the length of it.

The UK Government’s better regulation policy is supported by a solid institutional Better Regulation Framework (see Chapter 2 for more detail), a combination of administrative and statutory rules and processes, relying mainly on the Better Regulation Executive (BRE) located in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as well as the RPC to oversee the system.

This ambitious agenda is reflected in the results of the OECD monitoring of regulatory management tools as displayed in the 2018 Regulatory Policy Outlook (Figure ‎1.1). The United Kingdom displays the highest composite indicator score for stakeholder engagement for primary laws. Its score for subordinate regulations is also significantly above the OECD average. Stakeholder engagement is required to inform the development of all regulatory proposals, and in practice this is done at both an early and late stage in policy development (OECD, 2018[5]).

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Figure ‎1.1. United Kingdom Performance on core regulatory management tools
OECD Composite indicators reflecting overall scores on stakeholder engagement, regulatory impact assessment and ex post evaluation
Figure ‎1.1. United Kingdom Performance on core regulatory management tools

Note: The more regulatory practices as advocated in the OECD Recommendation on Regulatory Policy and Governance a country has implemented, the higher its iREG score.

Source: (OECD, 2018[5]), OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2018, Paris,

The United Kingdom has also the highest composite indicator score for RIA across the OECD. The United Kingdom has strong formal RIA requirements in place such as: establishing a process to identify how the achievement of the regulation’s goals will be evaluated; assessing a broad range of environmental and social impacts; as well as undertaking risk assessments as part of regulatory proposals. The United Kingdom also has a strong triage system in place to ensure that regulatory proposals are subject to proportionate assessment.

The UK composite indicator on ex post evaluation is twice the OECD average. There are a range of outlets for affected entities to improve existing laws and regulations; and stakeholders are always consulted when evaluations are conducted.

United Kingdom and the European Union to date

The United Kingdom’s former Membership of the EU has consequences both on the domestic rule-making and international co-operation practices. A substantial proportion of UK regulations has originated from the EU, with either direct effect (EU regulations), or requiring transposition into UK legislation (EU directives). Although difficult to evaluate precisely, the UK Government estimates that around 50% of UK legislation with a significant economic impact originates from EU legislation (Miller, 2010[6]).2

The domestic work of UK departments and regulators has therefore mainly consisted in adopting EU legislation, regulating areas beyond the EU competence, or implementing regulations (i.e. in enforcement, inspections, market surveillance, etc.). Following withdrawal from the EU, UK departments and regulators are likely to take on additional responsibilities that formerly belonged to European agencies, particularly in the development of new primary and subordinate legislation (National Audit Office, 2017[7]).

At the international level, the EU has competence in several areas in particular those related to trade policy, therefore, until the EU withdrawal, the United Kingdom’s international co-operation efforts in this area took place through the intermediary of the EU. In other areas, the United Kingdom was in its own capacity (and sometimes via the EU in addition to its own representation) part of a multiplicity of networks and international organisations with various normative activities.

copy the linklink copied!Institutional context

The main institutions overseeing and conducting IRC

While not an explicit area of regulatory oversight, a number of governmental bodies have policy supervision functions of relevance to IRC, including mainly BRE, the RPC, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as well as the Department for International Trade (DIT). Oversight of better regulation is provided by BRE, which develops the framework and guidance for better regulation and the RPC, which provides external, independent scrutiny of evidence and analysis. Other bodies with an oversight role include the DIT through its development of trade policy and the FCO through its oversight of international treaty negotiations. The Reducing Regulation Sub-Committee (RRC) in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet provided strategic leadership to the better regulation agenda at the centre of government until its abolition in 2019.

Other governmental bodies or external organisations may be called upon to play more ad hoc roles in promoting or overseeing IRC activities. This is also the case for the HM Treasury through its Green Book and Magenta Book, OPSS and other bodies outside of Government with a recognised role; including the National Audit Office (NAO) and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). The Government departments, regulatory agencies and British Standards Institution, as the actors developing the regulations or standards, are the critical implementers and infrastructure of IRC, be they within government or outside.

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Figure ‎1.2. Institutions involved in overseeing and conducting IRC
Figure ‎1.2. Institutions involved in overseeing and conducting IRC

Source: Authors’ elaboration.

It is worth noting that devolved administrations can and do have their own better regulation strategies, as illustrated by the examples of the Scottish and Northern Ireland Governments.3 They therefore have a role to play in incentivising IRC. The report however focuses on the better regulation policies and practices of the United Kingdom. The better regulation and IRC policies of the devolved administrations could be the focus of future OECD work.

The BRE in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for developing the framework and guidance for better regulation and ensuring better regulation disciplines are truly embedded in policy-making. In this context, and even though IRC is not yet an explicit part of better regulation in the United Kingdom, the BRE is well placed to have a general vision on the entry points for IRC in domestic rule-making. It is supplemented by a network of better regulation specialists across departments within “Better Regulation Units” (BRUs) that ensure the diffusion of the better regulation agenda (Box ‎1.2).

The RPC is a non-departmental advisory body responsible for providing government departments with external, independent scrutiny of evidence and analysis supporting RIAs of new regulatory proposals and ex post evaluations of legislation (OECD, 2018[8]). The RPC also has a complementary statutory role (under the SBEE Act 2015) to scrutinise and verify departments and regulators’ assessments of the business impacts of new regulatory measures, that fall within scope of the Business Impact Target. It also undertakes capacity building activities with departments and regulators, through teaching and providing guidance, to improve the evidence base and analysis in their RIAs. Within its activities it has the opportunity to scrutinise the evidence from either foreign or international sources used in both ex ante and ex post assessments, the estimations of impacts to trade and investment included within the trialled RIA template, as well as the possible relevance of positive/negative externalities of regulatory proposals across the border.

The DIT was established in 2016 to develop the United Kingdom’s own independent trade policy, and maximise its trade opportunities globally. The Department helps businesses export, drives inward and outward investment, negotiates market access and trade deals, and champions free trade. It also ensures that notifications of draft regulations with significant trade effects are submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, these attributions remain very nascent as trade policy has long been under the EU’s exclusive competence.

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Box ‎1.2. Better Regulation Units

UK Government departments with a responsibility for producing regulations in their respective policy areas and certain regulators have a Better Regulation Unit (BRU). A BRU consists of a team of civil servants which oversees the department’s processes for better regulation and advises on how to comply with these requirements.

It is at the discretion of each department to determine the scope of the BRU’s role, its resourcing (i.e. staff numbers, composition of policy officials and analysts, and allocation of time on this agenda versus others) and position within the departmental structure. However, BRUs generally perform the following functions:

  • Promoting the use and application of better regulation principles in policy making e.g. use of alternatives to regulation.

  • Advising policy teams on how to follow the Better Regulation Framework Guidance processes when developing new regulations.

  • Advising policy teams on how to develop a RIA (or Post-Implementation Review) including queries on methodology and analysis.

  • Advising policy teams on the appropriate time to submit a RIA to the Regulatory Policy Committee for scrutiny.

  • Providing advice to departmental policy teams and regulators on how to meet their SBEE Act obligations regarding reporting against the Business Impact Target (e.g. how to produce assessments of the impacts of new regulatory measures).

BRUs are also responsible for keeping a record of their department’s new regulatory provisions, which are then listed in the Government’s Better Regulation Annual Report, published by the BRE.

The BRE provides advice and support to BRUs, including running regular “drop-in” sessions where it provides BRU representatives with policy updates and shares examples of best practice.

The FCO does not currently have a specific role in overseeing the overall participation of different UK authorities in all IOs of which the United Kingdom is a member, nor does it oversee whether sectoral regulators and/or line ministries have a coherent position across all IOs. It does ensure coherence of UK participation across IOs under FCO responsibility through the activity of permanent delegations. More broadly, the FCO has a potentially important strategic role for IRC, related to the co-operative activities of the United Kingdom: in particular, it sets the UK Government’s general strategic plan in terms of foreign policy, and works with international organisations to promote UK interests and global security. The FCO’s role in IRC policy may significantly change in the future due to the new “Regulatory Diplomacy” initiative, intended to ensure that the Government has a coherent approach to standards setting and regulation internationally (Box ‎1.3).

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Box ‎1.3. Regulatory diplomacy

The UK Government has undertaken a cross-departmental “Regulatory Diplomacy” initiative to ensure that the Government has a coherent approach to influencing standards development and regulation internationally. The Regulatory Diplomacy strategy was agreed by the Global Britain Board in Autumn 2018. It comprises three pillars with specific departmental leads: 1) Multilateral & Bilateral Leadership (FCO); 2) Facilitation of Non-State Actors (BEIS); and 3) Trade Policy (DIT). The work is overseen by a cross-government steering group of senior officials, which meets quarterly.

This initiative includes:

  • Assessing if the machinery of government is fit for purpose, and reviewing opportunities within existing international fora to increase the United Kingdom’s influence;

  • Bringing together policy professionals from across government as well as government partners, including independent regulatory bodies, BSI, and business representative groups, to:

    • Understand the United Kingdom’s priorities in international standards setting and regulation, and the challenges they encounter to influencing internationally;

    • Share information on respective international-facing activities, and maximise opportunities to influence international rules, standards and policies in line with the United Kingdom’s objectives.

  • Co-ordinating a cross-government strategy to enhance UK influence within International Organisations and multilateral fora responsible for standard setting and regulatory co-operation.

These efforts aim to ensure that the United Kingdom’s recognised strength in regulation carries the weight that it merits internationally. More broadly, developing the United Kingdom’s capacity to engage globally on regulatory matters is expected to support the United Kingdom’s cross-cutting international objectives, including improving the global trading environment and supporting the rules-based international system.

Until July 2019, the Cabinet’s Reducing Regulation Sub-Committee (RRC) gathered Cabinet ministers responsible for overseeing government policy on better regulation, including the principles of good regulation (Box ‎1.4). Any new regulatory measure, whatever the scale of its impact, required collective agreement and needed clearance from the RRC (in addition to any other relevant Cabinet committees) before it could proceed. The RRC had an active role in driving regulatory initiatives across Whitehall, including the Business Impact Target. Although IRC is not yet an explicit part of better regulation policy, this type of Committee could be well placed at the centre of government to have a strategic overview on the entry points for IRC in domestic rulemaking and to provide strategic leadership to the IRC agenda.

Better Regulation Board Level Champions are senior officials supporting Government Ministers. Their role is to ensure that Departmental Board members (the group of senior officials who head the department’s main work areas, reporting to the permanent secretary who heads the department) are committed to Better Regulation, provide adequate resources within their departments for it, and liaise with BRE senior management.

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Box ‎1.4. Composition of the Reducing Regulation Sub-Committee (RRC)

The Cabinet and Cabinet Committees are groups of ministers that can take collective decisions that are binding across government. Cabinet Committees reduce the burden on Cabinet by enabling collective decisions to be taken by a smaller group of ministers. The composition and terms of reference of Cabinet Committees are a matter for the Prime Minister but have been stable over the years. They are each supported by a secretariat of Cabinet Office officials.

The RRC, which was abolished in 2019, was responsible for overseeing the Government’s policy on better regulation, including the principles of good regulation. Any new regulatory measure, needed clearance from the RRC (in addition to any other relevant Cabinet committees) before it could proceed. The RRC was composed of the following Cabinet Ministers:

  • Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Chair)

  • Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office

  • Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice

  • Secretary of State for International Trade

  • Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

  • Lord President of the Council, Leader of the House of Commons

  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury

  • Minister of State for Employment

  • Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union

  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Source: (accessed 22 October 2019).

Departments and regulators are the key implementers of IRC activities. UK departments, and certain regulators, have dedicated BRUs (Box ‎1.2) which oversee the application of better regulation disciplines within their department and co-ordinate with the BRE and RPC in this regard. Departments do not necessarily need to go through central government to carry out their international co-operation activities. Many participate in both European and international bodies, without necessarily consulting with the FCO on their positions. Some UK departments have a specific role in the Better Regulation agenda. They have both a regulatory activity and contribute to the development and/or supervision of regulatory policy. This is the case of OPSS in BEIS for example, and to a lesser extent of the Treasury (through the development of the Green Book).

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is a product regulator with responsibility for a range of areas of technical product regulation primarily related to the safety and standards of non-food consumer products, metrology and hallmarking. OPSS is also responsible for the United Kingdom’s policy on standards and accreditation, including designating the national standards and accreditation bodies.4 OPSS works with regulators and businesses to improve regulatory delivery in the United Kingdom. It “… is the market surveillance or enforcement authority for a wide variety of regulations across the United Kingdom. These include regulations for which BEIS has policy responsibility and regulations where Safety & Standards acts under formal agreements with other Government Departments.” (Office for Product Safety & Standards, 2018[9]). Its attributions on enforcement and conformity assessment give the OPSS an important role in overseeing UK efforts related to regulatory delivery of international agreements, such as Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), and establishing a trustworthy regulatory environment conducive to trade and investment.

Outside of government, a number of bodies contribute and support the functioning of the UK quality infrastructure and regulatory frameworks. The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is a not for profit company operating under a MoU with the Government (through BEIS). It is appointed by the UK Government as the sole national accreditation body to assess organisations carrying out conformity assessment activities against internationally recognised standards by the Accreditation Regulations 2009 (SI No 3155/2009) and the EU Regulation (EC) 765/2008. This legal framework sets out that accreditation is performed by the national accreditation body and that conformity assessment bodies seeking accreditation must seek it from the national accreditation body of the Member State in which they are established (i.e. UKAS for bodies established in the United Kingdom). UKAS operates within a European and international accreditation framework through its membership of the European Accreditation Cooperation (EA), the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). UKAS is regularly reviewed by its international peers to demonstrate its competence to operate an accreditation system compatible with the relevant international standards (EA, IAF, ILAC respectively).

The British Standards Institution (BSI) is a private company established by Royal Charter. As such, it works under the general authority of BEIS, under the terms set in a MoU between the UK Government and BSI. It develops British standards, enables UK experts' participation in the development of European and international standards, promotes and markets British standards, and supports corporate infrastructure activities to enable the implementation of British standards. In recent years, most British Standards are developed with UK participation in international or European standards bodies.

The National Audit Office (NAO) is an independent body that scrutinises public spending on behalf of Parliament. Its key functions include auditing the financial statements of public bodies and a variety of other work including Value-For-Money reports. Whilst the NAO does not have regulatory oversight functions per se, it has played a key role in ensuring the effectiveness of the United Kingdom’s Better Regulation agenda, particularly through its previous Value for Money reports into the effectiveness of the Government’s Better Regulation policies and processes.5

copy the linklink copied!Existing policy and guidance embedding considerations of IRC

Following a series of relevant milestones reports and policies, the UK Government has produced policy guidance documents as well as a number of major legislative acts setting high-level objectives for departments and regulators, serving as incentives to embed better regulation principles in policymaking and to reduce undue burdens of regulation.

The guidance documents support departments and regulators in applying analytical efforts throughout the regulatory cycle (the Better Regulation Framework, Regulators’ Code, HM Treasury Green Book, Enforcement Policies, among others). These tools set an enabling environment for regulators to pursue the effectiveness of regulation, and are thus discussed further in-depth below. So far, however, they remain focused on a largely domestic perspective, and do not very explicitly embed international considerations. Whilst there are references in the HM Treasury Green Book to the importance of gathering evidence from international best practice, IRC does not seem to be directly envisaged as a tool for regulatory effectiveness, and international impacts of regulation (e.g. impacts of regulation on trade) are not part of the key objectives to be pursued by regulators.

However, the Government published in June 2019 a White Paper “Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” setting out long term plans to enhance its regulatory oversight of technological innovation, including the Government’s approach to IRC (Box ‎1.5). Examples of these reforms include: improving awareness of the effects of regulation on trade among government departments and regulators so that impacts are systematically considered; working with international partners and multilateral fora to develop and promote standards for new and emerging technologies; and including ambitious chapters on good regulatory practices and regulatory co-operation in future free trade agreements.

The relevant UK legislation includes the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment (SBEE) Act 2015. It aims to establish a proportionate and efficient better regulation system that focuses on regulations with the greatest potential impact on business and civil society organisations. To do so, it sets out statutory requirements, including for the Government to publish a target for burden reduction, to obtain independent verification of the economic impact of regulatory decisions that count towards that target and for review provisions to be included within secondary legislation (Department for Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy, 2018[10]). This Business Impact Target reflected the then Government’s stated ambition to continue to bear down on the costs of regulation to business while maintaining important regulatory protection. The Enterprise Act 2016 extended the Business Impact Target to include specified regulators within its scope.

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Box ‎1.5. UK White Paper on “Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution”

The White Paper was published in June 2019, to develop a new agile and flexible approach to regulation in the United Kingdom, a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. It sets out a number of reforms to enhance the regulatory oversight of technological innovation. including:

  • Establishing a new Regulatory Horizon Council which will advise government on rules and regulations that may need to change to keep pace with technology.

  • Piloting an innovation test so that the impact of legislation on innovation is considered during the policy development process.

  • Examining the case for expanding the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund, which backs projects that are testing new technology in partnership with the regulators in a safe but innovative environment.

  • Consulting on a new digital Regulation Navigator to help businesses find their way through the regulatory landscape and bring their ideas to market.

  • Asking regulators to go further to evaluate the impact of their initiatives on innovation and consider whether to commence statutory reporting requirements for regulators on the impact of the economic growth duty.

  • Seeking to include ambitious chapters on good regulatory practices and regulatory co-operation in future free trade agreements.

  • Improving awareness of the effects of regulation on trade among government departments and regulators.

The White Paper initiatives will be delivered overseen by a Ministerial Working Group on Future Regulation, a cross-government group of Cabinet-level Ministers which aims to identify and drive reform in areas of the economy where regulation needs to adapt to support emerging technologies.


The Deregulation Act 2015 sets a Growth Duty applicable across the UK Government, according to which “any person exercising a regulatory function must have regard to the desirability of promoting economic growth.” In particular, in virtue of this growth duty, regulators are to exercise regulatory function “…in a way which ensures that (a) regulatory action is taken only when it is needed, and (b) any action taken is proportionate.” (Section 108, Deregulation Act, 2015), and this from the setting of policy to the securing compliance with or enforcement of the regulatory requirements. Additional information on how regulators can work in accordance with the Growth Duty was set out in a statutory guidance document issued in March 2017 (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 2017[11]).

The Enterprise Act 2016, in addition to bringing regulators within scope of the Business Impact Target, also requires regulators in scope to publish annual performance reports on the effect of the Growth Duty and the Regulators Code on the way they exercised their functions (, 2016[12]). These requirements need to be brought into effect by secondary legislation, which has not taken place at the time of writing. However, the government’s June 2019 White Paper “Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” states that the Government wishes to consider whether to commence statutory reporting requirements for regulators on the impact of the economic growth duty.6

The major applicable IRC-related legal act when the UK was a Member of the EU was the UK European Communities Act 1972,7 which set the general framework for the effects of the EU legislation in the United Kingdom. In particular, the 1972 Act provided that any EU treaty or legislation resulting from EU treaties “…are without further enactment to be given legal effect or used in the United Kingdom shall be recognised and available in law, and be enforced, allowed and followed accordingly.”8 This encompasses also any international agreements concluded by the EU, and in particular trade agreements.9 However, under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018,10 the European Communities Act was repealed upon the UK leaving the EU on 31 January 2020.

The Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 sets broader requirements on the procedure to follow for other Treaties, beyond those of the European Union. In particular, it provides that all treaties signed by the United Kingdom which are subject to ratification (or its equivalent), or to which the United Kingdom intends to become a party by accession, are to be laid before Parliament. Beyond this, there is no central guidance underpinning UK negotiation and adoption of international instruments and participation in international organisations.


[3] BSI (2016), A standard for standards - Principles of standardization,

[11] Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (2017), Growth Duty: Statutory Guidance, (accessed on 22 October 2019).

[10] Department for Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy (2018), Business Impact Target: Final report for the 2015-17 Parliament,

[2] House of Commons Information Office (2008), Factsheet on Statutory Instruments,

[12] (2016), Enterprise Act 2016: Chapter 12,

[6] Miller, V. (2010), How much legislation comes from Europe?, House of Commons Library, (accessed on 18 February 2019).

[7] National Audit Office (2017), A Short Guide to Regulation,

[8] OECD (2018), Case Studies of RegWatchEurope Regulatory Oversight bodies and the European Union Regulatory Scrutiny Board, OECD, Paris, (accessed on 3 March 2019).

[5] OECD (2018), OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2018, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[4] OECD (2010), Better Regulation in Europe: United Kingdom 2010, Better Regulation in Europe, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[9] Office for Product Safety & Standards (2018), What you can expect of Safety and Standards Enforcement, (accessed on 14 February 2019).

[1] The National Archives (2017), Statutory Instrument Practice,


← 1. BSI estimates that some 15% of BSI standards including European and international standards are cited in regulation. (Standards Outlook, BSI 2018:

← 2. Estimating the precise share of UK legislation coming from Europe is challenging. Research by the House of Commons Library estimated the share of statutory instruments implementing EU Directives over 2010-2013 to 9.4%. However, once EU regulations (of direct application) are taken into account, the total share reached 59% for the same years. Given the shortcomings of both calculations, the House of Commons Library concluded that “it is possible to justify any measure between 15% and 55%”.

← 3. and

← 4.

← 5.

← 6.

← 7.

← 8. Art. 2 para. 1 UK European Communities Act 1972.

← 9. Ibid. Art. 1 paras 2, 3 and 4.

← 10.

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