Review of International Regulatory Co-operation of the United Kingdom
International regulatory co-operation (IRC) provides an opportunity for countries
to consider the impacts of their regulations beyond their borders, to expand the evidence
for decision-making, to learn from the experience of their peers and to develop concerted
approaches to challenges that transcend borders. This review documents the context
of IRC policies and practices in the United Kingdom. It covers both the UK’s unilateral
efforts to embed international considerations in domestic rulemaking and its bilateral,
regional and multilateral co-operative efforts on regulatory matters. In addition,
the review provides a snapshot of IRC in practice in the United Kingdom with four
case studies on financial services, nuclear energy, medical and healthcare products
and product safety. At a time when IRC is an increasingly essential, yet largely untapped,
tool for addressing transboundary policy challenges, this review offers valuable lessons
to countries within the OECD and beyond.
A multiplicity of UK actors are involved in the conduct and oversight of IRC, without specific leadership role or common direction; a whole of UK government vision and strategy could help level up the IRC ambition and create a better connected economy;
The UK has a robust better regulation framework and processes. However, so far, they have a strong domestic focus and could more systematically embed a global outlook in the core business of Departments and regulators;
The UK has actively co-operated internationally on laws and regulations as well as on regulatory policy; some Departments and regulators are also very active in embedding international considerations in their rulemaking. Overall, however, there is limited common awareness about IRC and cross-fertilisation of experience. Greater expectations, guidance and peer learning would help build an IRC culture in domestic rulemaking.
UK withdrawal from the EU will result in new regulatory responsibilities for UK Departments and regulators, as well as in designing a trade policy with the EU and countries across the world. Core regulatory policy tools incorporating IRC dimensions can help policy makers address the forthcoming challenges of building a well performing regulatory framework and avoid undue regulatory divergence and frictions.
The OECD recommends:
Building a holistic IRC vision, a strategy and political leadership for IRC in the United Kingdom, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities for key players, to develop quality regulation in a globalised context;
Embedding IRC more systematically in regulatory management tools and throughout the rulemaking cycle, to guarantee that IRC is more systematically considered by Departments and regulators
Increasing awareness and understanding about IRC across Departments and regulators, including on the variety of existing IRC practices, and engage stakeholders to inform the development of IRC initiatives