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Regulating for A Better Future: Taoiseach announces new Government Policy Statement on Economic Regulation

Taoiseach Enda Kenny today announced the publication of a new Government Policy Statement on Sectoral Economic Regulation – ‘Regulating for a Better Future’.

The Taoiseach said:

Since taking office it has been the priority of my Government to do everything it can to help get Ireland working again and to support jobs and growth. Good quality regulation is central to economic recovery and job creation.

Improving the effectiveness of economic regulation is a priority for the Government and is essential for Ireland to be internationally competitive and an attractive place to do business.”

Forfás undertook an extensive review to identify changes in the operation of sectoral regulators that would enhance cost competitiveness and provide an evidence base and input into the effectiveness of economic regulation more generally, as envisaged in the Programme for Government.

The review was complemented by a wider public consultation exercise recently carried out by the  Department of the Taoiseach. The central theme to emerge from this process is the need for the design of a strategic regulatory framework within which Government can set its national policy objectives; relevant sectoral Departments can prioritise and balance both national and sectoral level priorities that the sectoral regulators can then implement.

The Taoiseach stated:

That is exactly what we have done in the form of this new Policy Statement on Sectoral Economic Regulation ‘Regulating for a Better Future’ which aims to provide a clearer policy and strategic context in which sectoral Departments can establish and articulate, in legislation, policy direction.

In summary, the Statement requires that apart from any other legislative changes arising from policy or mandate reviews, Sectoral Ministers will introduce legislative changes to provide for policy/mandate reviews on a statutory basis at least every seven years and a performance and accountability framework for regulators and regulated sectors.

The potential for driving efficiencies and reducing costs through a shared services approach is also addressed in the Statement. Modifying existing regulatory functions to take on new regulatory roles will also be the model used by Government when required.

Sectoral Ministers and their Departments will have lead responsibility for the implementation of the strategic framework in their sector.

The Taoiseach concluded:

I am determined that all elements of the framework for economic regulation across each of the sectors will be implemented at the earliest opportunity. Sectoral Ministers will be asked to set out by the end of October 2013 their schedule for the detailed implementation of the framework.

These outputs will be reflected and monitored, as appropriate in the new Action Plan on Jobs for 2014, Departments' annual output statements and annual reports for 2014 and beyond.

The Report can be accessed here.