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Post Implementation Review of Statutory Instruments: Analysis of the extent of the review by Government departments

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On 24 June the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee announced that it was conducting a study to assess the degree to which Government departments check whether legislation is actually working as anticipated. To assist the Committee, the National Audit Office has conducted an analysis of the extent to which departments report they have carried out post implementation reviews in relation to Regulatory Impact Assessments supporting Statutory Instruments. This analysis has included a survey requesting departments to provide information about all Regulatory Impact Assessments published in 2005 relating to Statutory Instruments. In addition, we carried out follow up interviews in relation to 12 cases agreed with Committee.

Since 2001 the National Audit Office has reported to Parliament regularly on the Regulatory Impact Assessments (since 2007, Impact Assessments) carried out by departments. Several of these reports have pointed to deficiencies in departments’ plans for post implementation review. But we have not previously examined the extent to which post implementation review has been carried out on such a large number of Regulatory Impact Assessments. This analysis for the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee therefore breaks new ground in showing how far departments are evaluating the effect of new measures in action, and the Committee’s inquiry will be a valuable guide to improvements in this area.

This paper sets out the results of our research, based on the information provided by departments and our follow up interviews.