Regulatory reform is one of the themes of the SMI/Delivering Better Government modernisation programme. The regulatory reform agenda is an important one and its original focus on reducing red tape has been broadened to include issues such as improving competitiveness and reducing the burden of compliance on businesses and citizens. These are issues which are priorities for the Government and ones in which my colleagues, in particular the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment and the Minister for Public Enterprise, have a particular interest and responsibility.
Steady progress has been made in relation to the action programme "Reducing Red Tape" as follows. On accessibility, the Statute Book has been made available in electronic format and as part of their e-public service strategies, Departments-offices will be increasingly using web based technologies to publish regulations, application forms and explanatory information. On qualityversus quantity, Departments-offices are required under amended Cabinet procedures to use a quality regulation check list for each new legislative proposal. On simplification, the new statute law revision unit in the Attorney General's office is preparing for a comprehensive programme of restatement which it is expected will commence later this year subject to the enactment of the statute law restatement Bill.
On elimination of unnecessary regulation, Departments and offices have been asked to examine their primary and secondary legislation frameworks to identify scope for revision, repeal and consolidation. This will form the basis of a prioritised work programme which is being finalised by the statute law revision unit in the Attorney General's office. A dedicated regulatory reform unit has been set up in my Department to co-ordinate the delivery of the regulatory reform agenda. Over the past year, however, the major project in the regulatory reform area has been Ireland's participation in an OECD review of regulatory reform in Ireland. I understand that this review is at its final stages and I expect that the report will be presented to the Government in April 2001.