Principle 1: Continuous improvement and building trust

instruments made under the PGPA Act:

Best practice advice

Regulators should seek to improve how they exercise their powers and deliver their legislated functions, while remaining flexible and responsive to changing circumstances. Regulators should take into account and respond to community expectations of good regulatory practice to build trust and public confidence in their operations and in Australia’s regulatory system.

Regulators should embed methodologies to understand the costs, impact and outcomes of regulation and collect evidence of this at a system-wide level, using insights to support and drive improved outcomes.

Best practice requires that regulators consider, and aim to improve on, the combined regulatory burden of governments on business and the community. Regulators should take a whole-of-system perspective, building and maintaining collaborative relationships with other regulators to develop a shared understanding of respective roles and responsibilities, and identify gaps and areas of overlap.

In practical terms, a commitment to continuous improvement and building trust means regulators:

  • have well-defined, communicated and embedded organisational values and culture that articulate the type of regulator and regulatory posture they seek to adopt—such as through the development of cultural or values statements.
  • actively build staff capability, including ensuring staff have relevant knowledge of the regulatory craft and the industry they regulate, and have the capacity and are empowered to identify and implement improved practices.
  • have in place transparent external accountability processes encouraging procedural fairness, accessibility and responsiveness that builds public trust and confidence in the performance of their regulatory functions—For example, transparent complaints and feedback handling procedures.
  • hold themselves to account through internal accountability processes that foster a culture of continuous improvement and reflection—such as holding rigorous ex-post reviews of regulatory actions to identify learnings and explore opportunities for improvement, and regular reviews of operating procedures.
  • undertake regular and independent performance reviews and take ownership of and respond to recommendations of external reviews of their performance such as those conducted by the Australian National Audit Office.
  • provide clear information about the rationale for compliance costs and actively engage with stakeholders to identify solutions to avoid or reduce unnecessary costs.
  • seek guidance from the Department of Finance on the application of user charging (cost recovery) arrangements, ensuring these align with the Australian Government Charging Framework (for more information see RMG 302 – Australian Government Charging Framework under Tools and templates).
  • take a broad perspective of the regulatory environment, including conducting environmental scans and considering best practice examples from other jurisdictions and regulatory systems.
  • identify and minimise duplication, and harmonise activities with other regulators to achieve better regulatory outcomes, including establishing clear operational scopes, sharing intelligence and producing common guidance.
  • actively share learnings and insights by participating in communities of practice, engaging with other regulators and stakeholders to reflect on best practice and lessons learned, including failures.

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