The Committee on Standards in Public Life has launched its report reviewing the extent to which regulators uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life.
Today the Committee publishes its report on regulators - Striking the Balance - a review which has involved a survey of over 70 regulators, some 26 face to face interviews, three roundtable sessions with academics, regulatory bodies, and stakeholders, as well as extensive desk research.
The report was not prompted by any trigger event. It constitutes a ‘health-check’ of the way in which regulators manage ethical issues in their own organisations and the extent to which the unique characteristics of regulators create or demand any specifically tailored ethical solutions
The Committee was broadly reassured by its findings. During the course of the review, however, we came across variances in ethical standards which caused us some concern. We have therefore identified a series of ‘best practice’ benchmarks for regulators and recommendations for government. The Committee has grouped this best practice into six key areas, so that all regulatory bodies can check the approach of their own organisation to the ethical standards they should be upholding.
Recognising the breadth and range of regulatory bodies, we do not envisage a ‘one size fits all’ approach. But across all regulators, we believe strongly that the adoption of good practice identified by the Committee would enhance ethical standards of regulators which, in turn, would have a significant impact on regulatory effectiveness.
Post-Brexit, the UK regulatory landscape is about to undergo a seismic shift and there will be renewed focus on how services and industries are regulated. Maintaining high ethical standards will be key to retaining public confidence through those wider changes and we hope that our report will be a useful guide both for regulators and those holding them to account.
Read the annexes that accompany the report.