HL Deb 09 February 2004 vol 656 cc42-4WS
Lord Bassam of Brighton

The Minister for the Cabinet Office (Mr Douglas Alexander) has today published the Government's response to the Better Regulation Task Force's reportIndependent Regulators, which the task force issued on 15 October 2003. Mr Douglas Alexander would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the work they have undertaken in producing their report, and to welcome the recommendations they have made, all 14 of which have been accepted by the Government.

In our response, we have emphasised our support for regulators to adopt the five principles of good regulation, and the code of practice on consultation; and to produce regulatory impact assessments for any new policies or initiatives which they originate. We commend the use of the enforcement concordat by relevant regulators. The Government will consider very carefully the scope and scale of existing regulators before establishing a new one, and assess regularly their continuing effectiveness once established. We are to carry out a review of the variety and complexity of public bodies sponsored by central government departments, and this will encompass consideration of regulatory bodies.

The task force has rightly highlighted the point that the subject of the report was "independent" regulators, so the Government's role is to encourage, support and guide the regulators in their tasks, not to enforce rules and procedures. It is also the case that independent regulators are a very disparate band of bodies, so it would be impossible to produce a one-size-fits-all set of very detailed responses. We must also be wary of increasing the costs of and burdens on the regulatory community, and those whom they regulate, unless we can be satisfied of the value of the outcomes achieved.

Copies of the report and the Government's response are available in the Libraries of both Houses, and will be available on the Better Regulation Task Force's website at:-