Written Answers. - Regulatory Reform.

John Bruton

Question:

105 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Taoiseach if he will make a statement on the adoption or otherwise by his Department of the recommendations made in the OECD Review, Regulatory Reform in Ireland; and the concrete steps taken by his Department in pursuit of these recommendations since the publication of the report. [10780/03]

The high level group on regulation was established in May 2001, following publication of the OECD Review on Regulatory Reform in Ireland, to develop and co-ordinate the better regulation agenda with particular regard to the institutional and policy proposals required on foot of the OECD's report. The group has met 16 times to date and reported to Government on its progress in November 2002. This progress report was published on the website, www.betterregulation.ie, in December 2002 and copies have been placed in the Oireachtas Library. This report outlines progress made in relation to the OECD's recommendations on regulatory reform up to November 2002.

Since the report was published, work has continued in my Department on the drafting of a national policy statement or White Paper on regulatory reform. To inform the formulation of the national policy statement, the 90 submissions received in response to the consultation document, Towards Better Regulation, were studied and analysed.

My Department published in December 2002 a booklet containing two papers: the first summarising the submissions received and the second offering an independent analysis and commentary on the submissions by an independent economist. Over 1,000 copies of the booklet have been sent out to interested parties and copies have, of course, been placed in the Oireachtas Library.

A drafting group composed of senior officials from key Government Departments was formed in January 2003 to commence preparation of a draft national policy statement or White Paper on regulation. While a specific date for publication has not been set, it is anticipated that the draft text of the national policy statement will be submitted to the Government in early summer with a view to publication some weeks later.

Work on the development of a system of regulatory impact analysis, RIA, as recommended by the OECD in its report continues to be overseen by the high level group on regulation. RIA is a policy tool designed to identify and quantify, where possible, the impact of new and existing regulations. A working group of officials has been developing a model that would be suitable for the Irish policy making context.
The publication of a White Paper on Regulation in 2003 and the introduction of RIA are also two of the commitments on regulatory reform contained in the new social partnership agreement – Sustaining Progress.
Overall, significant progress has been made in the area of better regulation since the establishment of the high level group on regulation, and the group will continue to monitor and coordinate progress in this area.