Smart regulation promotes competition, makes business more efficient and safer and makes for happier customers. Bad regulation, poorly enforced, does the reverse. Getting regulation right is crucial for economic success and international competitiveness.
The importance of smart regulation is nowhere greater than with energy. Affordable, clean and secure energy is vital to our economy and to our wellbeing. Our energy system is large and changing it takes a lot of money and time. Major investment is needed. Good policy and regulation are essential to making sure competitive market forces deliver clean energy at lowest cost.
Against the above background, I believe the Red Tape Challenge has been well handled in DECC. A small team of officials took on the task, with strong ministerial backing. The small team needed the support of the whole department – which they got.
It was crucial to get input from many external stakeholders – from companies large and small, from NGOs, from academics and commentators. The response was excellent. It was constructive and well informed. About 270 suggestions and comments were made by 100 individuals or organisations.
Here are a few highlights of the outcomes as I see it:
In the course of this work I joined internal challenge and review sessions in DECC. I was impressed by the expertise and the teamwork shown by all those involved. There was no defensiveness. People were open minded and ready to make changes.
It is important to re-emphasise that the commitment to tackling climate change has not been diluted. This exercise was about better means, not changing the ends. Success depends on trust between the regulator and the regulated. I think the way this work on better regulation was handled and its outcomes, will enhance that trust.