From RIA to RIS – evidence-based policy in action

From RIA to RIS – evidence-based policy in action

Monday, 02 December 2019

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

: OBPR, The Office of Best Practice Regulation. From RIA to RIS.

In order to deliver best practice impact analysis, the Australian Government has developed a globally recognised Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) system. RIA provides a framework for the Australian Public Service to deliver clear, evidence-based policy through a structured approach. It uses a common sense method to tackle the complex policy problems facing Australia.

The Australian Government seeks to reduce the regulatory burden for individuals, businesses and community organisations. Every policy option must be carefully assessed, its likely impacts outlined and a range of viable alternatives considered in a transparent and accountable way against the default position of no new regulation.

“Well-designed, well-targeted, limited and fit-for-purpose regulation supports the Government to deliver our agenda and priorities effectively.  Our position should always be not to regulate, but where we must we need to ensure high-quality and rigorous analysis equips us with the best possible information to support decision making,” said the Hon Ben Morton MP, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Regulation Impact Statements (RIS) – the output from undertaking RIA – encourage rigour, innovation and better policy outcomes right from the beginning of the policy development cycle. A RIS is required when a policy or program change is likely to have a substantive impact, positive or negative. It also qualitatively and quantitatively outlines as much of the impact as possible.

Public consultation is at the heart of RIA. As all RISs are published online, stakeholders can see the information provided to Government – making RIA a key transparency mechanism with which stakeholders can engage.

The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) works across government to administer the Australian Government and Council of Australian Governments’ RIA systems.

The role of the OBPR is to ensure that policy proposals are accompanied by robust and high quality impact analysis, helping agencies to deliver the best possible analysis to decision makers. Importantly, the OBPR is an enabler for policy-makers, and supports development of effective policy proposals.

The OBPR offers a range of online and face-to-face resources, including:

  • regular workshops on the RIA process
  • online resources, including:
    • user guides
    • guidance notes tailored to different impact areas
    • helpful reference information
  • direct assistance for policy teams across departments
  • training courses for government agencies
  • online publication of RIS updates.

Previous attendees of these regular workshops, including not-for-profit organisations and peak industry bodies, were confident that their increased awareness of the RIA process would assist them in contributing to more informed decision-making.

The best point of initial contact is the OBPR Helpdesk, which can be reached at, or on 02 6271 6270.

If you would like to learn more about the OBPR or developing a RIS, you can access our online resources and guidance.

Stay up to date with OBPR news and updates – follow #OBPRgov on Twitter and LinkedIn.