Regulatory reform at OECD

NEW: New insights from OECD, by Lorenzo Allio, independent consultant
"OECD's Regulatory Reform Programme is aimed at helping governments improve regulatory quality -- that is, reforming regulations that raise unnecessary obstacles to competition, innovation and growth, while ensuring that regulations efficiently serve important social objectives" (from OECD website).

How does Regulatory Reform differ from Better Regulation?

While  OECD work focuses on providing assistance to national governments, the EU Better Regulation strategy is primarily directed at improving its own use of regulation, and particularly streamlining the stock of texts (the "acquis communautaire"). Only on specific issues do the Member States agree to set common objectives for national regulatory activities: for instance, to reduce administrative burdens, the European Council endorsed a Commission proposal that Member States adopt national burden reduction targets.
Though the issue can be discussed, there seems to be very little difference in the objectives of the two approaches, as both are inspired by the aim of stregthening productivity and growth.

Outline of OECD  resources on RQ:

- by pooling of information about conceptual and operational developments, and national examples of good practice, and a number of jointly conducted projects,  the OECD documents give a full picture of each  dimension of regulatory quality, addressing all aspects of policies, institutions and tools. These documents are presented and discussed in the newly established Regulatory Policy Committee (which succeeded a working party of the Public Governance Committee). These resources are very good references when setting up or reviewing national RQ policies or projects;
- on the strength of  this background knowledge, OECD can offer relevant insight into the situation of each country from an RQ point of view: the "country reports", which are conducted by both international staff and national experts depict strengths and weaknesses of each national situation against a "baseline" set of principles of regulatory quality.

The basic document is the "1995 Recommendation on Improving the Quality of Government Regulation" (C[95]21/FINAL), which was the first international standard on regulatory quality. It contains a checklist of questions that should be addressed when setting up or reviewing a regulatory system.
This guidance was reviewed and upgraded  in 2005 with the publication of the 7 principles of regulatory quality and performance.