Open Regulation Platform

Organisations: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Better Regulations Executive

Enhancing Regulatory Innovation: Reflections from a discussion with innovators

Better Regulation Executive. 09 Jun 2023

In April, the Better Regulation Executive (BRE) organised an event that brought together regulators, Reg Tech providers, and academics. The discussion centred on regulatory innovation. We demonstrated the Open Regulation Platform (see video, right) and were joined by individuals at the forefront of making the regulatory landscape smarter and more dynamic. This blog reflects on some of the key points that were raised during the event and discusses how the ORP may be able to support the ambitions of regulators to reduce the costs of compliance.

The importance of metadata standards

As we have highlighted in other posts, one of the key ways the ORP can add value to users is by enriching documents with consistent metadata. This will provide the structure to the data that will help both machines and people to sort and filter it. To do this effectively (and in a way that will support the dozens of regulators in the UK that cover the breadth of the UK economy) it is vital for documents to be classified in a consistent manner – a metadata standard. The value of a standard, though, goes far beyond facilitating the ORP. It would support the wider goals of the regulatory community in a variety of ways.

For regulators, the enhancement of their own individual websites and digital projects may also rely on data consistency. The need for standardisation is only achieved when multiple regulators collaborate, which is something that is happening more often. Whether it be the Digital Regulation Co-operation Forum striving for coherence between four digital regulators, the three regulators involved in protecting the UK’s water supply through RAPID or a new project for bodies that hold UK financial reporting information including a new Pioneer Fund-backed project, the frequency of regulatory overlap will be supported by metadata standardisation.

In the coming months the BRE will use the insights and energy generated at the event on this topic to work together with regulators and government to move regulatory document metadata standardisation forward to support the data ecosystem. For this to be successful it is important that we collaborate, so if you want to contribute to this effort then please get in touch!

The role of Reg Tech

Apart from optimising the work of regulators, one of the other key benefits of the ORP is how it can support the Reg Tech ecosystem in a variety of sectors. We explored this, with a really useful exchange between regulators and RegTech providers. It became clear there’s a need to think pro-actively about how regulators can support Reg Tech, and the different roles each has to play to support people and businesses in complying with regulation.

The benefits of this approach were discussed in detail by the FCA – one of the regulators at the forefront of efforts to encourage Reg Tech innovation. They noted the importance of remaining agnostic to the types of technology used or the providers who are offering it, but by considering how regulations can be made more usable by Reg Tech providers and executing on a process of engagement with the ecosystem, they have been able to support finance businesses to achieve compliance in smarter ways.

There was also reflection from attendees on how Reg Tech tools used by regulated businesses could include regulatory compliance as part of their service offering. As the ORP moves into the next stage of its roadmap, this is a topic that regulators, Reg Tech providers and various stakeholders will be able to explore in greater depth. The BRE will be supporting creative and efficient approaches to how technology can be better leveraged in the economy to encourage compliance and innovation while supporting growth.

The processes required to embed regulatory innovation

Regulators having the ambition to innovate within their organisation and to promote it externally is the first step, but we heard during the discussion at the event about the value of processes and tools when delivering on this ambition. The National Highways joined our panel discussion to shed light on the development of their Standards for Highways project. Through creating a new tool which is used to write the guidance and standards that the National Highways issue, they have been able to transform how users of that information can interact with it, improve organisational efficiency and innovation.

The role of the ORP

While the Open Regulation Platform continues to develop, the Better Regulation Executive will leverage the insights gathered as well as the connections established with regulators and other stakeholder who want to enhance innovation. Data standards will form a crucial element of the next phases of work and the insights of those that will benefit from it will be central to the standardisation process. The ORP will also help shape how Reg Tech providers can develop new tools or enhance their current solutions by making regulatory material machine-readable and accessible in a single dataset for the first time. The BRE will also consider how additional tooling can be developed to ensure the process of embedding innovation can be made more easily by regulators.

To find out more about any of these learnings, or to find out how you can be part of the next stages of the ORP’s development, get in touch with the BRE team!

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