Regulators in paralysis


Perhaps one should be relieved to learn that regulators have failed to come up with any plans on how to use their new powers granted by the Regulatory Enforcement & Sanctions Act that came into force yesterday.

The Financial Times reports that BERR – the Dept for Business, Enterprise & Regulation – had received no plans yet from the 27 national regulators allowed additional powers under this new legislation. Originally intended to streamline business regulation across the board, the Act actually provides powers for regulators to impose hefty fines on those who do not conform to a raft of regulations.

Ben Summers, a partner with Peters & Peters, a law firm specialising in regulation, told the FT that research by his firm revealed little sign of regulators making moves to implement the Act. "Given the new regime which the act heralds and the expectation which the government clearly has of it, there is a surprising lack of proposals from any of the national regulators", observes Summers.

Ominously, BERR says that it is having ‘constructive discussions’ with the 27 regulators that fall within the Act’s remit. If the new statute goes some way towards consolidating regulatory overlap it is to be welcomed, but in the meantime the jury remains out.

REG will monitor developments closely. If readers have any personal experience of the new Act as implemented, please get in touch with us at

Keith Boyfield is the chairman of REG, the ASI's regulatory evaluation group. For more articles on regulation, please visit our Regulatory Monitor webpage.