Producing impact assessments - guidance for government departments
When designing regulations, government policy-makers need to examine the effect they will have by carrying out an impact assessment. Impact assessments help to identify which proposals will achieve the government’s policy objectives, while minimising costs and administrative burdens.
For most new regulatory proposals, government departments are required to prepare an impact assessment.
The government is also calling on the European Union to carry out impact assessments on the cost of regulatory burdens to business.
Changes have been agreed by the Reducing Regulation Committee to the requirements for impact assessment and Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) scrutiny. Interim guidance has been published and a full update to impact assessment guidance will be issued in autumn 2012.
Why we publish impact assessments
Publishing an impact assessment ensures those interested in a policy can challenge:
- why the government is proposing to intervene
- how new policies may impact on them
- the estimated cost and benefits
Impact assessments also give those interested in the process an opportunity to identify any potential consequences, minimising the risk of knock-on effects.
To help government departments produce an impact assessment, the following guidance is available:
- when to do an impact assessment
- impact assessment overview
- impact assessment calculator
- checklist for analysis on EU proposals
- the Green Book: HM Treasury guidance on appraisal and evaluation in central government’
- supplementary Green Book guidance: competition, crime, discounting, environment (climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, floods and sustainability), health, multi-criteria decision analysis, optimism bias, PFI (taxation adjustments when comparing PFI with the Public Sector Comparator), regeneration and the regions, risk, stated preference techniques, transport
- the Magenta Book: HM Treasury guidance on evaluation for central government
- BRE Guidance: OIOO Methodology
- micro-exemptions guidance
- EU (guiding principles)
- Transposition guidance
- Sunsetting regulations: guidance
All assessments need to be published in a standard template to make it easier for scrutiny. Using a standard template ensures the data can be uploaded into a central impact assessment library and used for data analysis.
There is a user manual for the impact assessment template. Where fast-track submissions are being submitted to the RPC, the standard regulatory triage assessment template should be used.
To handle queries on impact assessments, each government department has an expert team in their Better Regulation Unit.
Departmental guidance on assessing impacts
The following guidance is available: