News story

New data shows improvements in quality of government’s impact assessments

Impact assessment opinions based on external, independent scrutiny of new regulation by the Regulatory Policy Committee, and data on the performance of government departments

The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) – the independent body responsible for assessing the quality of the evidence supporting regulatory changes - has today published the performance data for government departments impact assessments in the first half of 2014. The data published today explains the proportion of impact assessments found to be of sufficient quality to be considered fit for purpose by each government department.

Overall performance has improved compared to the previous six months, with 80% of submissions rated as fit for purpose compared to 75% in July to December 2013, and 77% in the whole of 2013. However, while recognising that for some departments the mid-year figures represent relatively small sample sizes, the RPC would like to see more departments consistently achieving higher proportions of fit for purpose ratings. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, demonstrate that a high volume of cases does not need to equal a low level of quality. See the full performance table here.

Alongside the performance data the RPC has also published its latest batch of opinions on the evidence base for regulatory proposals brought forward by the Government. This latest collection of opinions includes ‘green’ and ‘amber’ fit for purposes opinions on departmental impact assessments. The collection covers those proposals for which departments have published the relevant impact assessment, and where the RPC has not already published the opinion previously.

Live consultations

Of the opinions published today, one relates to a consultation that is currently open:

  • Private rented sector energy efficiency regulations – the consultation describes proposals to increase the uptake of cost-effective energy efficiency improvements in the privately rented sector of the property market. The RPC rated the impact assessment as fit for purpose, provided the version submitted for scrutiny was amended to include more detail on the assumptions made within the modeling, including in relation to financing costs, hidden costs, reinstallation, project life and property values. The RPC felt this would enable consultees to provide feedback on whether the assumptions and estimates are reasonable.

Final stage impact assessments

Of the opinions published today, the RPC has confirmed as fit for purpose 33 final stage impact assessments. This includes validating the estimated costs and benefits to business and civil society organisations. This includes the following proposals:

Validated deregulatory proposals (with benefits greater than £1 million each year)

Validated regulatory proposals (with costs greater than £1 million each year)

  • Amendments to Children’s Homes Regulations 2001 – the RPC validated the estimated £2.6 million of annual costs to business from the proposed changes to safeguarding requirements within the Children’s Homes system, including requirements relating to the development of missing persons policies; the undertaking of risk assessments on the area surrounding the home; providing a detailed statement of purpose; and ensuring that an independent monitoring visit takes place annually.

EU measures

The RPC has validated the cost to business and civil society organisations for 14 regulatory changes that originate from the European Union or international agreement.

Consultations on new regulatory proposals

The RPC has confirmed as fit for purpose six impact assessments relating to consultations on new regulatory proposals to be introduced by the Government. This means the RPC agrees that the impact assessments contain sufficient information to support the consultation process.

Final stage

  • Codes of Conduct
  • Community right to buy into renewable electricity developments
  • Amendments to Children’s Homes Regulations 2001 (as Amended)
  • ASB, Crime and Policing Bill: Community Protection Notice, Community Protection Orders and the Community Trigger
  • Amendment to electric lines threshold in the Planning Act 2008
  • Changes to Regulations and National Minimum Standards for Residential Family Centres
  • New approval process for prospective adopters and legislation on referrals to the Adoption Register
  • Consolidation of pensions disclosure of information requirements
  • Energy supply company administration rules
  • Future management of the compulsory stockholding obligation in the UK
  • Power to require suppliers to provide key information to customers in a form that allows smartphones to read and use it
  • Orphan Works
  • Agricultural or Forestry Tractors Exhaust Emissions - Extended Flexibility Scheme Amendment
  • Communications Data Bill
  • Revision of fees for s.37 Electricity Act 1989 applications
  • The Immigration and Nationality (Cost Recovery Fees) Regulations 2013
  • Transfer of private water supply pipes to Water and Sewerage Company ownership (WaSCs)
  • Rights of Entry - HS2 Hybrid Bill
  • Railway matters and regulation - HS2 Hybrid Bill

EU measures (final stage)

  • The Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention)(Food and catering) Regulations
  • Merchant Shipping (International Safety Management (ISM) Code) Regulations
  • The ports of, Clyde (Glasgow), Falmouth, Hull, Goole, Immingham and Grimsby, Liverpool, the Manchester Ship Canal, Newhaven, Southampton, Sullom Voe and Swansea (“the Listed Ports);
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Recruitment & Placement) Regulations
  • Agricultural or Forestry Tractors Exhaust Emissions - “Vineyard” tractor Derogation amendment
  • Consequential amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 to complete UK Ratification of the 2002 Athens Protocol relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their luggage by sea
  • Ports of Glasgow (Clyde) Great Yarmouth, Rosyth and Tyne (“the Listed Ports)
  • Falsified Medicines Directive 2011/62/EU
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention)(Shipowner Liability) Regulations (the “2013 Regulations”)
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention)(Medical Care) Regulations
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention)(Repatriation) Regulations
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention)(Seafarer Employment Agreements) Regulations
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention)(Seafarers’ Wages) Regulations
  • Merchant Shipping(Maritime Labour Convention)(Crew Accommodation) Regulations


  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Recruitment & Placement) Regulations
  • Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention)(Survey and Certification) Regulations (“the proposed Regulations”)
  • Changes to bus service registration requirements to improve competition in the bus market
  • Prevention of Air Pollution from Shipping - Implementation of Directive 2012/33/EU (Marine Fuel Sulphur)
  • Licensing Act 2003: fees regulations
  • Implementation of Directive 2013/30/EU on the safety of oil and gas operations and on updating UK oil and gas legislation
  • Private Rented Sector Energy Efficiency Regulations

Notes to editors

The RPC is an independent non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. The Committee is formed of eight independent experts from a range of backgrounds, including business, civil society and academia, supported by a secretariat of civil servants.

We assess the quality of evidence and analysis supporting many of the regulatory changes affecting businesses and civil society organisations. We check whether central government departments’ estimated costs or savings to business, as a result of regulatory reforms, are robust. We check that government departments explain why new regulation is more appropriate than the alternative, such as voluntary codes.

The RPC currently helps ensure government departments consider any impacts of regulation on small businesses. Where new regulation is required, the RPC checks that the government explains how it is minimising the effects on small businesses in particular. This requires departments to provide a clear analysis of the potential impact of the proposal on smaller businesses, and the effect of proposed mitigating actions to reduce burdens.

Further information can be found through the RPC website – - including published opinions on government’s regulatory proposals, the validated costs and benefits of proposals and analysis on the impact of independent scrutiny on the quality of evidence used by government departments.