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RPC provides greater transparency on Government Impact Assessments

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Better regulation, Independent scrutiny

The Regulatory Policy Committee assesses the quality of Government Impact Assessments (IAs). We publish our opinions on IAs, which state whether the department’s estimate of the direct costs of the measure and the assessment of the impacts on small and micro businesses is fit for purpose or not; we also rate the quality of the assessment of: ‘rationale and objectives’, ‘cost-benefit analysis’, ‘wider impacts’, and ‘monitoring and evaluation’ (these are rated either ‘good’, ‘satisfactory’, ‘weak’ or ‘very weak’).

While our ratings and quality assessments are in the public domain, they sit in individual RPC opinions, it is therefore difficult to see trends in the data and to compare the performance of different departments. The Government’s White Paper on Smarter Regulation  (published last week) stated that it would “support the Regulatory Policy Committee to publish data that enables scrutiny of departments’ performance against the Better Regulation Framework”. We believe that the transparency and accountability that this provides will help to strengthen adherence to the Framework. We have therefore decided to publish a spreadsheet that summarises the key information across all of our published IA opinions since late 2020 (when we started using our current template).

We plan to provide similar information for our opinions on Post Implementation Reviews and also opinions on Options Assessments (after we transition to the new Better Regulation Framework).

The spreadsheet is now on the RPC website and a table summarising the ratings by department is below.

Some interesting observations from the data in the spreadsheet include:

  • 35 IAs received Initial Review Notices (IRNs – notification that the IA contained red-ratable points and giving departments an opportunity to address them). Over three-quarters (29) of these were then improved and ultimately received green opinions as a result of our comments. This shows the value added from the RPC review process.
  • There is significant variation across departments. Of the departments with more than 5 IAs, the former Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy achieved 90% Good or Satisfactory ratings (41% Good and 49% Satisfactory), while the Departments of Health and Social Care, Education and Levelling Up, Housing and Communities all received less than 55% Good or Satisfactory ratings (54%, 50% and 47% respectively).
  • Of the four graded categories, ‘cost-benefit analysis’ had the best average ratings (with only 19 per cent of IAs receiving ‘weak’ or ‘very weak’ ratings), while ‘monitoring and evaluation’ was weakest (with 37% being rated ‘weak’ or ‘very weak’)

However there are many other inferences that can be drawn from the data. By all means comment below!


Department No. IAs % individual ratings received
'Good' or 'Satisfactory' 'Weak' or 'Very Weak'
Department for Business and Trade 5 75% 25%
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 25 90% 10%
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 20 79% 21%
Department for Education 5 50% 50%
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 12 58% 42%
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (incl. MHCLG) 9 47% 53%
Department for Transport 19 75% 25%
Department for Work and Pensions 8 72% 28%
Department of Health and Social Care 6 54% 46%
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office 12 75% 25%
HM Treasury 7 71% 29%
Other Departments 14 62% 38%
All Final Stage Impact Assessments 142 72% 28%


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