Regulatory impact analysis in Flanders: policy and trends

2012 EEEN Forum / Evaluation

Peter van Humbeeck, University of Antwerp (UA) and Socio-Economic Council of Flanders (SERV)

This presentation deals with the experience and unsolved issues after seven years Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) in Flanders. In addition, it examines RIA at the Belgian federal level and in the Walloon and Brussels Regions. Inter­national benchmark surveys show that the design of the Flemish RIA sys­tem scores well compared to many other jurisdictions. A good design however does not guarantee good quality RIAs or a well performing RIA system. We argue that further modifications of the Flem­ish RIA system are required to cope with five persisting challenges: How to maximise political com­mitment to RIA? How to integrate RIA at the heart of the policymaking process and avoid formalism? How to allocate responsibilities for RIA? How to raise RIA quality? How to cope with new and com­peting demands? We draw upon domestic as well as international experience on what has worked and what not to propose a set of policy recommendations. At the Belgian federal level and in the Walloon and Brussels Regions the systems are very different and much less advanced or even absent. RIA at the federal level is composed of two separate tools: the ‘Kafkatest’ for administrative burdens and Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA). Evidence however shows that SIA is not working prop­erly. Hence, a reconsideration of the SIA system is imperative. Wallonia and Brussels only run a ‘Kafkatest’ although there are signs that their governments are considering to introduce RIA in the near future.

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