Delivering high-quality policy analysis: enhancements to the Government’s impact analysis framework

Delivering high-quality policy analysis: enhancements to the Government’s impact analysis framework

Regulation Best Practice Regulation Compliance Reporting
Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

OBPR - The Office of Best Practice Regulation - Strengthening the RIA Settings

The Australian Government has a strong emphasis on delivering outcomes, increased accountability and ensuring the actions it takes will produce the intended effect.

Well-designed, well-targeted, and fit-for-purpose regulation supports the Government to deliver on its agenda and priorities effectively.

Decision makers can – and should – expect to have quality evidence and analysis from the Australian Public Service when they are being asked to make major decisions. Where a policy change might impact Australians, their businesses and the community, Government needs to be confident that robust and high quality analysis has been done.

The Government’s Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) framework provides a structured approach to investigate and analyse the nature of a policy problem. It assesses whether Government intervention is justified, and provides the full range of policy options available to address an issue, along with the pros and cons of each option.

To ensure decision makers fully consider the likely impacts on Australians, their businesses, and their communities, the RIA settings have been strengthened.

From 30 March 2020:

  • There will be a single Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) type, and the depth of analysis in the RIS will be proportionate to the stage of the process, the problem being addressed and the recommended option.
  • The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) will assess RISs against four tiers: ‘insufficient’, ‘adequate’, ‘good practice’ and ‘exemplary practice’. ‘Exemplary practice’ will be reserved for exceptionally high-quality analysis.
  • OBPR will be tasked with assessing Independent Reviews – which can substitute for a RIS – for relevance to the recommended option;
  • OBPR will no longer be required to explicitly agree regulatory costs in RISs to ensure the focus on regulatory cost does not come at the expense of understanding the broader costs and benefits of new proposals; and
  • Where a Prime Ministerial exemption from the requirement to prepare a RIS is granted, the Prime Minister may require additional analysis to be undertaken before the decision is implemented.

RIA is not just a compliance exercise that needs to be ticked off. Experience shows that RIA works best when addressed as early as possible in the policy development process.

APS officers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the changes to the RIA framework and to reach out to OBPR as early as possible when tasked with preparing a RIS.

Officials in OBPR are ready and willing to help. They can assist by workshopping policy development processes and decision points against the RIS requirements.

For more information on the revised Australian Government Guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis, visit www.pmc.gov.au/regulation, email OBPR at helpdesk-OBPR@pmc.gov.au or call (02) 6271 6270.