The Professional Standards Authority (‘PSA’), an independent body accountable to Parliament, oversees the work of nine statutory bodies regulating health professionals in the UK and social workers in England. It reviews regulators’ performance and scrutinises decisions about whether people on their registers are fit to practise.
The PSA has now published its October 2015 revised paper on the concept of Right-touch regulation and reaffirms that this is the correct approach to take when regulating, following on from its original paper in 2010. The PSA confirms it will continue to promote this approach, which it believes has already led to improvements in regulation in the UK and elsewhere.
Although the core principles of Right-touch regulation remain unchanged, the PSA clarifies some areas, expands upon the concept of risk, discusses responsibility and defines Right-touch regulation more clearly in its 2015 paper. The main concepts are summarised below.
The concept of Right-touch regulation emerges from the application of the principles of good regulation identified by the Better Regulation Executive in 2000, to which the PSA has added agility as a sixth principle. The principles which provide the foundation for thinking on regulatory policy in all sectors of society are:
- Regulation should be proportionate to the risk posed.
- It must be consistent and implemented fairly.
- It should be targeted on the problem identified.
- It should be transparent, simple and user-friendly.
- Regulators must be accountable and able to justify their decisions.
- Regulation must be agile and able to adapt to anticipate change.
The emphasis is on finding the right balance and implementing the right amount of regulation needed for the desired effect, on the basis that too little is ineffective and too much is a waste of effort.