RegNet Research Paper No. 2014/89
Neil Gunningham, Regulatory Institutions Network, Australian National University (ANU)
The Australian Federal Government’s red tape reduction strategies and comparable initiatives to reduce regulatory burdens at state level (exemplified by Queensland’s claim to be ‘aggressively tackling overregulation’) have prompted renewed focus on the role of regulation. In particular, this paper examines what type of regulation should most appropriately be invoked to address various economic and social challenges ‘[i]n every facet of life, from aged care to agriculture, schools to small business, visas to veterans’? Further, this paper will explore whether is it possible to substantially reduce the volume of such regulation without threatening the very social purposes that legislation was developed to protect.
RegNet Research Paper No. 2014/90
Ian Marsh, Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet), ANU and University of Tasmania
The House of Commons select committees witnessed some of the most constructive political theatre of the 2010-2015 Parliament. Recall the Murdoch’s public contrition, Margaret Hodge’s assault on MNC tax evasion, and Keith Vaz’s timely interrogations of G4S etc. All of these represented the public face of a newly empowered system. Less noticed longer term activity was no less significant – for example, Andrew Tyrie’s Banking Commission, the Energy Committee’s reports on the challenge of decarbonising the UK, the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee’s focus on a written constitution or the Education Committee’s inquiries on the multiple causes of under-achievement in education.
Behind these developments lay significant changes in the standing of the committee system. Following the Wright Committee proposals, the Coalition government agreed to the election of Committee chairs by the whole House and the election of Members by their own parties.
Their enhanced standing was exploited in various ways by individual committees – some by a focus on media attention, some by a concern for longer term policy issues, some by reaching out to their publics, some by more stringent scrutiny and most by various combinations of such approaches.
This present article focuses on four external assessments: a 2015 report for the Centre for Policy Studies by Treasury Committee Chair Andrew Tyrie; one for the Institute for Government by Dr Hannah White; a 2013 report for the Hansard Society on digital media; and finally a report on public engagement commissioned by the Liaison Committee from several academics
RegNet Research Paper No. 2014/91
Neil Gunningham, Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet), ANU.
Within the sphere of economic and social regulation, two of the longest standing debates concern appropriate regulatory design and compliance and enforcement. Should regulators for example, prefer command and control or opt for a more cooperative approach, and in enforcement should they prefer punishment to persuasion? In short, what intervention strategy works best and why? Drawing principally from examples in the areas of occupational health and safety and environmental regulation, this paper examines both these debates, examining whether, to what extent and in what ways, policy has shifted from traditional to a cooperative approach, and with what consequences. In doing so it examines a range of influential theories including Responsive Regulation, Meta-Regulation and Management Based Regulation. It concludes by arguing for context based policy involving policy mixes rather than for “one size fits all” solutions.
All previous papers published in the RegNet Research Paper Series are available for download on the RegNet SSRN page.