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Accountability for Regulator Impact – Frequently Asked Questions

How does ARI fit with the Growth Duty and updated Regulator Compliance Code?

ARI is one of five projects which make up a suite of measures announced in the Autumn Statement 2012. The package also includes the Growth Duty, a revised Regulators’ Compliance Code, a Focus on Enforcement appeals review and an initiative to promote regulator efficiency, minimise costs and create transparency around fees and charges. All of these measures incentivise regulators to make improvements to the business experience of regulation and foster a regulatory environment that is conducive to compliant growth.

All five measures support businesses that wish to comply, and encourage growth, by ensuring necessary enforcement measures and processes and procedures place the minimum burdens on industry necessary to deliver essential safeguards and protections and ensure a level playing field on which all companies can compete fairly. 

Which regulators does ARI apply to?

ARI is a voluntary measure to which the great majority of non-economic regulators have signed up, and Government are talking to more. The bigger regulators such as the Food Standards Agency and the Health and Safety Executive have been on board from an early stage.

Why does ARI only apply to non-economic regulators? What can we do to bring these into the accountability mechanism?

Economic regulators already publish data on the costs and impacts of their regimes. They also have existing statutory duties to promote competition and protect consumers within their respective sectors. In carrying out these duties, they need to engage closely with their stakeholders on all policy proposals, in accordance with the principles which underpin ARI.

What is the boundary between the Impact Assessment process and the ARI approach? Is there an overlap?

The Accountability for Regulator Impact approach picks up what is not in scope of Impact Assessments. So where there is an Impact Assessment, and it covers all the changes that a regulator is required to undertake, there will be no need for a business engagement assessment. If the regulator plans to do more than is in the IA, and this additional action has a significant impact on business, then a business engagement assessment will be appropriate, which may draw on material in the IA.

What would count as a “significant” impact?

What counts as a “significant” impact will depend on the market being regulated. Regulators should discuss this judgement with business. It should take into account factors such as any relatively large impacts on a particular sector, size or type of business, and the capacity of business representatives to deal with the cumulative impact of numerous proposals.

Does Accountability for Regulator Impact apply to regulators and businesses across the UK?

ARI applies to national non-economic regulators who operate in England.  Some  regulators also operate across one or more of the devolved administrations. Where this is the case, we are not asking them to separate out impact on business by nation  but the geographical scope of the proposed change will be made clear in the Business Engagement Assessment.  ARI will not apply to changes in policy or practice which are only applicable in one of the Devolved Administrations.

Does ARI apply to changes required by the implementation of European legislation?

No. There is no expectation that regulators should produce a business engagement assessment for directly applicable European legislation.

How will government be presenting the information they publish on ARI?

Government will publish, with the Statement of New Regulation, the total impacts reported under ARI in the preceding six months. Regulators will publish their business engagement assessments on their own websites.

How does ARI promote better regulation?

The process of engaging with business over proposed changes to policies, processes or practices at an early stage will encourage regulators to consider alternative solutions for achieving their desired goal while minimising costs to the regulated.