How does a regulator refer to the individuals or organisations it regulates? Are they customers, even though they are not buying a product or service, and often have little choice in the matter? Are they to be referred to as regulated entities, obligatees, licensees, taxpayers, businesses, employers or one of a number of other terms of this kind, their identity defined by their specific rights and obligations under the law? But what does this mean for regulatory agencies implementing multiple regimes?
This article might be thought of as an invitation to government’s leaders in customer service improvement thinking to engage with leaders in regulatory practice to address the tensions and risks associated with referring to regulated parties as customers – by making those tensions and risks go away.