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Additional Tasks and Responsibilities for the Swedish Better Regulation Council. Should Regelrådet work more with EU legislation and digitisation? (2018:1)

The Swedish Better Regulation Council (Regelrådet) is responsible for examining the impact assessments made in connection with governmental investigations, legislation and other issuance of regulations. In the reviews, the Council investigates whether the governmental investigations meet the requirements that the impact and consequences on the business community must be adequately described. 

Statskontoret, the Swedish Agency for Public Management, has investigated the prerequisites for providing the Council expanded responsibilities, after being tasked to do so by the Government of Sweden. The assignment has included the request to express an opinion in regards to whether The Council should have an increased role in the incorporation of EU legislation and Directives into national law of and if it should work on previously transposed EU legislation. Statskontoret was to also examine whether if in their reviews The Council should consider if new and amended rules are designed taking into account the developments of digitisation. If new tasks and responsibilities were to be proposed, we would also need to take a position concerning if the Council should be reorganised. 

Statskontoret proposes that the Council’s work relating to EU impact assessment analyses be further developed and strengthened. The Council should also take digitisation issues into consideration in its reviews. Statskontoret is of the view that there are no prerequisites in place for providing the Council enhanced responsibilities with the transposition of EU legislation, over and above the review of impact assessments. Prerequisites are also lacking to provide the Council the mandate to work with previously transposed EU legislation. 

The changes proposed by Statskontoret would not lead to a need for the Council to be reorganised. 

The Swedish Better Regulation Council’s review activities can be further developed and expanded

In Statskontoret’s assessment, the Council’s work to review impact assessments can be further developed in two ways. The Council could conduct more reviews of the EU Commission’s impact assessments, along with also having a digitalisation perspective in the reviews of Swedish impact assessments. 

Currently, the Council reviews impact assessments from the EU Commission when the Government Offices, so requests. This means that only a handful of such reviews are made each year. In Statskontoret’s assessment, is these reviews can become significant components of the process, prior to the implementation of legislative proposals with an EU background. This requires that the Council obtains the possibility to review all such impact assessments and that the Council, together with the recipients, further develops the methodology of the reviews. Statskontoret therefore proposes that it be mandatory for the Government Offices of Sweden to send the EU Commission’s impact assessments on referral for comment to the Council. 

Statskontoret’s investigation shows that currently the possibilities that digitisation provides have a relatively limited role in the Council’s reviews, even though the digitalisation issue is of great importance both for regulatory simplification and for the society-at-large. In Statskontoret’s assessment, digitisation aspects should be included in the impact assessments and thus also in the Council’s reviews. Statskontoret proposes a supplemental addition to contents of the Regulation governing impact assessments. the Council and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, should jointly develop which aspects of digitisation should be included in the impact assessments. 

The Swedish Better Regulation Council should not receive new assignments in addition to reviewing impact assessments

Statskontoret has compared the Council t’s mandate to how the Danish Implementation Council works. Taken together with other investigative material, the comparison shows that significant prerequisites are missing for giving the Council a task or responsibility with the transposition of EU legislation, over and above the review of impact assessments. In particular, it is Statskontoret’s assessment that it is not a simple task to sufficiently make the changes outside of the Council that would be needed. In the current Swedish preparation process for legislative proposals, there is no element or step where the provision consultancy guidance of the type that the Danish Implementation Council provides would have the intended effect. Nor is there any process for evaluating existing legislation, where initiatives from the Council could be handled in an effective manner. The Danish example also shows the importance of a mechanism with a clout to prioritize between simplification and other concerns. In Denmark, this prioritization takes place in a committee of Ministers, however it is not self-evident that such a solution would actually work in Sweden. 

It is Statskontoret’s assessment that the Council does not need to be reorganised as a consequence of the proposal to further develop the reviews. However, it is important that the resources that will be at the Council’s disposal are predictable. This issue should be addressed between the Government Offices and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth.