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Report cover showing a row of satelite dishes

The creation of Ofcom: wider lessons for public sector mergers of regulatory agencies

“Creating new organisations from mergers is fraught with difficulty and costs. The early evidence is that Ofcom’s creation has been successful.

“However, success in carrying out mergers is certainly not guaranteed. Given the large number of proposed mergers in the public sector, it is important that Government develops its expertise in managing mergers and its understanding of their costs and benefits.”

5 Jul 2006
Report cover showing dice

Evaluation of Regulatory Impact Assessments 2005-06

“Regulatory Impact Assessments are a vital tool for Government to ensure that it is not introducing unnecessary or excessive regulation. Although they have been in use for several years, many are still failing to perform their intended function properly. Departments must address the reasons why they have been so slow at making improvements to the process of assessing the impact of regulation.”

28 Jun 2006
Report cover showing postman checking the mail

Re-opening the post: Postcomm and the quality of mail services

“The problem of regulating a monopoly such as Royal Mail is that it tends to involve advocacy, litigation and dispute. That is why competition is in the long run a less costly and burdensome way of protecting consumers. This report encourages Postcomm to minimise the costs and maximise the benefits in the short term while withdrawing from detailed regulation in the medium term. Later this week I will report on how the public sector can make substantial savings by more efficient management and purchasing of postal services.”

22 Mar 2006
Report cover showing an aerial view of Norwich market

The Office of Fair Trading: Enforcing competition in markets

“Governments around the world have come to rely on competitive markets to deliver economic benefits, as this can be far more effective than regulation. However, anti-competitive practices are detrimental to consumers as they lead to increased prices, reduced choice and quality. The OFT is well respected and should be able to translate its intellectual leadership internationally on these issues into greater practical results. At present, many of the OFT’s investigations take a long time. The recent changes in leadership at the OFT present it with an opportunity to meet these challenges head on and to enhance the OFT’s reputation as an effective competition enforcement body.”

17 Nov 2005
Report cover showing mobile phone

Directory Enquiries – From 192 to 118

“The outcome of this market liberalisation for the residential caller has been more choice and innovative services but also an increase in average prices and uncertainty over improved quality. I would encourage: Ofcom to maintain an effective competitive market by raising consumer awareness and continuing to ensure a level playing field; individual callers to find out more about the available services and best deal; and businesses to take advantage of the opportunities created by competition.”

18 Mar 2005
Cover of Regulatory Impact Assessments report

Evaluation of Regulatory Impact Assessments Compendium Report 2004-05

“Regulatory Impact Assessments are a powerful tool that can inform and challenge policy-making. I found in my evaluation that, as in last year’s sample, there were many elements of good practice in the assessments but there was also scope for improvement. It is no longer acceptable that departments just go through the motions of preparing RIAs that do not affect the policy making itself. I urge departments to produce RIAs that are started early, fully resourced and of good quality.”

17 Mar 2005
Cover of report showing dials on an electricity meter

Ofgem – Social Action Plan and Household Energy Efficiency

“Ofgem’s actions are to be applauded both in its attempts to help vulnerable consumers and in its attempts to increase energy efficiency. It is important now to continue to improve awareness among vulnerable consumers of the ways in which they can benefit. It is also important that we all take further steps to improve our energy efficiency. To these ends in addition to my report I am issuing a pamphlet to inform consumers of the ways that they can improve their household’s energy efficiency.”

22 Jul 2004
Cover of Evaluation of Regulatory Impact Assessments Compendium Report 2003-2004

Evaluation of Regulatory Impact Assessments Compendium Report 2003-04

“I welcome the Regulatory Impact Assessment process as a rigorous framework for policy making. There were many elements of good practice in the assessments I examined but there was also scope for improvement in some cases. The report highlights these learning points and should help Departments to improve the process. I look forward to working alongside the Better Regulation Task Force and the Cabinet Office Regulatory Impact Unit to help secure improvements in the quality of RIAs so that regulations achieve benefits to society without placing an undue burden on businesses, charities and voluntary organisations.”

4 Mar 2004
Public sewer network - man in a tunnel

Out of Sight – Not Out of Mind: Ofwat and the Public Sewer Network in England and Wales

“While incidents of sewer flooding in properties are relatively rare, few could deny that it is highly distressing. This must be especially so for those who suffer repeat incidents. And the harm to the environment should not be dismissed. That is why I have made these recommendations to encourage the work that is already being done to reduce the risks of sewer flooding.”

16 Jan 2004