Select Committee on Public Accounts Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Office of Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Office

Question 16: Provide examples of cases where departments have consulted potential affected parties at the outset.

    —  The Motor Salvage provisions contained in the Vehicles (Crime) Act (paragraph 2.5 and figure 7 of the NAO Report refers).

    —  Article 13 of the Employment and Race Directives—(paragraph A30 of the RIA mentions informal consultation with a wide range of organisations prior to the drafting of the consultation document).

    —  Regulation of Private Recruitment Industry—(paragraph 18 of the RIA mentions informal consultation).

Question 18: Compliance with RIA process/SDA target. Provide an update for the Committee when proposals have been developed.

  Our SDA target is to produce a basement measure of the extent of departmental compliance with the Regulatory Impact Assessment process by the end of 2001-02 financial year. Work on this is underway and we will get back to the PAC with more details once the proposals are firmed up.

Questions 23 and 24: Have all RIAs prepared since 1999 which relate to European legislation been prepared in time to influence or inform negotiations?

  The information is not held centrally. However, departments should produce an RIA when negotiating any EU proposal which is likely to impose additional costs or savings, or has an impact on jobs, business, charities or the voluntary sector.

  The RIU guidance "A Guide to Better European Regulation" advises policy makers that an initial assessment of options, risks, costs benefits, who will be affected and why non-regulatory action is deemed to be insufficient should be carried out for all proposals under discussion within the European Commission. The guidance advises policy makers that they will need to complete a more detailed assessment, in the form of a partial RIA when seeking agreement to a UK negotiating line.

Question 69: Give a full response to the comments in Charles Miller's letter to the Committee from the European Policy Forum?

  See Annex A.

Question 155: Have you costed your own operations? What has been the highest cost and for what, in carrying out one of your RIAs?

  We do not have any specified data about the cost of completing an RIA.

  The actual ground work involved in the RIA process should be done anyway as part of the "better policy making" process so it is not possible to identify the cost of an RIA. However, in terms of the actual recording and presentation of information in the RIA format gathered as part of the policy making process, an estimate could be made as follows:

  For very straightforward proposals the RIA could for instance be produced at middle management levels in the Civil Service. Costs would depend on individual departmental salary scales but full on-costs (including salary, ERNIC and superannuation) in the Cabinet Office, for example, might be in the order of £1,000.

  A more complicated RIA—like that for the WEEE Directive—may involve considerably more time and may involve the use of consultants, for example to do underlying data collection and carry out an analysis of responses to consultation. It is not possible to estimate these costs as they will vary from case to case, but obviously they would be significantly higher than those for a straightforward case. The effort involved should be proportionate to the scale of the measure being considered.

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