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Developing standards and performance


In 2011 we developed a process to hold the regulators to account for their performance. Information about how the regulatory standards process was developed can be found in our 2011 discussion paper and the related decision document.

We hold the regulators to account by considering their performance against the regulatory standards:

  • outcomes focused regulation - do regulators deliver an outcomes based approach to regulation that creates benefits for consumers?
  • effective risk identification - do regulators have a robust understanding of the risks to consumers presented by the market?
  • proportionate supervision - do regulators supervise the regulated community at an individual and an entity level to mitigate risks?
  • an appropriate enforcement strategy - do regulators have compliance and enforcement processes that deter and punish appropriately?
  • capability and capacity – do the regulators have the appropriate capability and capacity to deliver the regulatory outcomes?

To do this we gather a wide range of evidence from the regulators themselves, organisations they work with who share a common interest, from the regulated communities, consumers and from our own oversight and policy work. We then review and analyse this evidence before grading the regulators performance using an agreed scale of ‘recognises that work needs to be done but it has not yet started’ to ‘good’. We publicly report on our findings.   

As part of our own improvement we will be considering whether our current approach to regulatory standards provides us with the right level of assurance about how the regulators perform. In carrying this out we will seek feedback from the regulators and to learn from other sectors.

2015/16 Regulatory Standards reports

On 10 May we published our Regulatory Standards Thematic report and the individual performance reports for each of the regulators (these can be found below). Through this exercise we found:

  • Substantive progress had been made by the regulators since our initial Regulatory Standards exercise in 2012/13.
  • Whilst there are variations in how the regulators carry out their functions we consider that:
    o A more outcomes-focused approach to regulation used by the regulators
    o Regulators have risk assessment and risk-based approaches to supervision in place (although they vary in degrees of sophistication)
    o Regulators have maintained, and in some cases, improved their performance against the enforcement standard.
    o Regulators have made positive changes to their capability and capacity so that they are better able to deliver the regulatory objectives.
  • We consider the regulators are better able to judge how they are performing against the standards. We think this is an indication that the regulators have an improved understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.

Action plans

Whilst our 2015/16 regulatory standards reports noted that progress has been made by regulators, there remained scope for improvement. We worked with the regulators to develop action plans to follow up on the areas we identified for improvement. We reported on progress made by each regulator against their action plans in June 2017.

Overall, significant progress had been made by the regulators in implementing the improvements set out in their action plans. All regulators have a number of ongoing actions and we will monitor progress against these under our new regulatory performance assessment process, which we anticipate will commence in 2018/19.


Previous reports

2012/13 first assessment reports

In-depth interviews and surveys with key stakeholder organisations, for example representative arms of the regulators.

  • Smaller regulators’ report (Cost Lawyers Standards Board, ILEX Professional Standards (now CILEx Regulation), Intellectual Property Regulation Board, Council for Licensed Conveyancers and Faculty Office)

2014/15 Update report - In this report published in February 2015 we reported on regulators’ progress against the regulatory standards since their first self-assessments were completed in 2012/13.

Further information

For further information, please contact Emma Kelly-Dempster