Regulatory Policy & Reform

Regulatory Policy


Implementing conscious regulatory policies (or regulatory governance, as it is also known) involves designing integrated systems to ensure high quality regulatory outcomes are achieved systematically.  The OECD identifies the key elements of such systems as being:

  • explicit regulatory policies, endorsed at the highest levels of government, that set out key regulatory quality standards;
  • effective regulatory tools to achieve these standards, such as regulatory impact analysis, high quality consultation processes and accountability mechanisms; and
  • independent and well-resourced regulatory institutions to ensure effective implementation and oversight of the policy.

Rex Deighton-Smith has worked extensively with the OECD over more than 15 years on the development of regulatory policy as an analytical concept, materials to support its practical application by governments working to achieve better regulatory outcomes and the provision of targeted, country-specific advice.  This has involved:

  • identifying key success factors;
  • defining and refining best practices; and
  • applying this body of knowledge via a series of country reviews that have resulted in targeted recommendations for reform of regulatory processes and systems. 


This experience means that we bring a broad-based, diagnostic approach to the analysis of regulatory problems - one that takes account of the wider environment within which your regulations operate.  We also focus on all stages of the regulatory cycle, including implementation processes, data-gathering and ex post performance analysis. 


Regulatory reform


This dynamic focus is essential to ensuring that regulation continues to achieve its underlying policy objectives over time, effectively and at lowest cost.  Regulatory reform must be a permanent function of government, as regulatory environments change rapidly, rendering existing regulation outdated and often counter-productive.  Regulatory reform must be timely and reflect an understanding of international best practices and emerging trends. 


Rex has worked on regulatory reform since 1986 and is internationall acknowledged as an expert in this field.  He has worked on broad-scale reviews of the quality of regulation-making systems and processes in over a dozen countries as part of OECD review teams.  Rex has also lectured on regulatory reform topics in a wide range of countries including Denmark, Indonesia, India, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Pakistan and South Korea.      





Our Work


Regulatory Policy in OECD Countries: From Interventionism to Regulatory Governance.  Rex co-authored this major OECD publication which provides a detailed analysis of the regulatory policy agenda and its key components, together with its role in contributing to better government. Read the full text here. 


OECD Country Reviews of Regulatory Reform.  Rex was a co-author of the OECD country reviews of the Netherlands, the United States, Denmark, Japan, Mexico (twice) and Korea.  In each case he was the lead author of the chapter on regulatory policy and governance, as well as being part of the peer review team for the review as a whole.  Read the review reports here.


Adopting a Critical Approach to Regulatory Uniformity and Harmonisation. This speech, delivered to the conference Regulatory Reform: Delivering Increased Productivity for a Seamless National Economy (Melbourne, April 2011) argues that regulatory harmonisation is a means, and not a policy end in itself.  Hence, a critical approach to harmonisation proposals is required.  Specific indicators of when harmonisation is likely to be beneficial - and when it is not - are proposed. Click here to view.


Process and Performance-Based Regulation: Challenges for Regulatory Governance and Regulatory Reform.  This paper highlights the historical shift away from the use of prescriptive, or "command and control" regulation and toward performance and process-based alternatives and considers the implications of this trend for regulatory governance.  Key issues highlighted include the adoption of these newer types of regulation in inappropriate circumstances, the potential for negative combinations of regulatory types to be adopted, challenges for effective RIA and concerns over equity and accountability.  Published by the ANU as art of the book Minding the Gap: Appraising the Promise and Performance of Regulatory Reform in Australia. Click here