The governance of regulators: OECD best practice principles for regulatory policy

Regulator strategy Regulatory instruments Regulatory system

A high quality regulatory environment is an essential foundation for all nations to be an enjoyable and prosperous place to live, work, and do business, while protecting the environment and all parts of society. High performing regulators play a key role in achieving these outcomes while also encouraging innovation and fostering productivity and growth.

Over the last decade, OECD countries have strengthened their use of a range of regulatory management tools. There is now a more careful examination of the need for regulation and the available design options (OECD, 2009). Most governments have outlined their policy on improving the design of regulation through regulatory impact analysis and stakeholder engagement mechanisms, often with the support of central scrutiny of proposed new regulation. As well as improving the design of new regulation, nearly all OECD countries have searched for opportunities to remove unnecessary burdens on the business community and citizens.

Good regulatory outcomes depend on more than well-designed rules and regulations. This was recognised in the OECD’s Recommendation of the Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance (OECD, 2012) which recommended that countries: “Develop a consistent policy covering the role and functions of regulatory agencies in order to provide greater confidence that regulatory decisions are made on an objective, impartial and consistent basis, without conflict of interest, bias or improper influence.”  

The OECD Best Practice Principles for Regulatory Policy: The Governance of Regulators, is intended to assist countries in developing such a policy. It seeks to construct an overarching framework to support initiatives to drive further performance improvements across regulatory systems in relation to national regulatory bodies or agencies (regulators).

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