Regulatory Impact Analysis

Regulatory Impact Analysis

A Regulatory Impact Analysis or Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) is a document created before a new government regulation is introduced. RIAs are produced in many countries, although their scope, content, role and influence on policy making vary.


The role of an RIA is to provide a detailed appraisal of the potential impacts of a new regulation in order to assess whether the regulation is likely to achieve the desired objectives. For instance, it is useful to identify potential side effects, such as unforeseen extra costs, associated with a new regulation. It also helps to clarify the cost of enforcement of the regulation.


The European Commission introduced an impact assessment system in 2002, integrating and replacing previous single-sector type of assessments. In the European Commission perspective, Impact Assessment (IA) is a process aimed at structuring and supporting the development of policies. It identifies and assesses the problem at stake and the objectives pursued. It identifies the main options for achieving the objective and analyses their likely impacts in the economic, environmental and social fields. It outlines advantages and disadvantages of each option and examines possible synergies and trade-offs.


In the United Kingdom, RIAs have for many years been a key tool in helping improve the quality of regulation and reduce unnecessary burdens on business. RIAs have been produced by Central Government departments for many years using guidance produced by the Better Regulation Executive (BRE) in the Cabinet Office. In May 2007 a new system of Impact Assessments (IAs) was introduced and made fully operational in November 2007. BRE, now part of DBERR is responsible for the IA process.

The aim of IAs is to help improve policy making by placing a greater emphasis on quantifying benefits and costs in the IA. The removal of the word 'Regulatory' was also a recognition that many Government burdens on business, the third sector and public bodies were not always implemented as legislation or regulations e.g. codes of practice, reporting requirements or funding guidance, and that the impacts of these measures also needed to be assessed.

External links

* [ European Commission information on Impact Assessment]
* [ European Commission - IA TOOLS website on Impact Assessment Tools]

See also

* Option appraisal
* Economic appraisal

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