Work in Wales
The Welsh government has funded BRDO to deliver a distinctive programme of work in Wales since October 2009. The jointly agreed work plan is framed around both UK-wide and Welsh-specific policy drivers, and consistent with and appended to the overarching BRDO business plan agreed with BIS. It is also cognisant of the challenges to regulatory reform resulting from the mix of devolved and reserved responsibilities and the increasingly distinct public services agenda in Wales.
BRDO has consequently worked extensively with established and effective partnerships in Wales to help promote a coordinated and consistent approach to regulating businesses in a manner that supports prosperity and protects citizens.
The Wales work plan has also provided a unique opportunity to pilot activity and develop ideas that fulfil ambitions in Wales but also inform how these might be framed in other nations. For example, the approach developed to establish the first set of National Enforcement Priorities (NEPs) for Wales – published in July 2010 – guided the process of refreshing the Priority Regulatory Outcomes in England.
The last two years have seen a shift in emphasis from scoping and piloting to delivery and implementation and from local authority improvement to economic growth and prosperity. Some notable achievements include:
- The review of all 22 Welsh local authorities against the principles of good regulation, the subsequent agreement by Welsh ministers to grant civil sanctioning powers under the Single Use Carrier Bag legislation that came into force in Oct 2011, and the development of practical guidance to support their application.
- The establishment of a Welsh Regulators’ Forum with members representing national and local regulators, Welsh Government policy leads and public service inspectorates in Wales, which is progressing a collective approach to regulatory reform.
- A project aimed at rationalising data collections by local regulatory services that has resulted in a series of recommendations to underpin better mutual understanding and effective working between national and local regulators on reasons for and use of data collections.
Looking ahead, work to develop outcome measures aligned to the NEPs for Wales will ultimately provide meaningful information on regulatory performance to raise the profile of local regulatory services and demonstrate the value of their activity to their council leaders, elected members, local businesses and citizens. Similarly, current work with the Welsh government to support engagement between farmers and their regulators will set the backdrop for an approach that could be applied other sectors which form the lifeblood of the Welsh economy, such as tourism and micro-businesses.