Understanding Regulation

Regulation and deregulation described, explained and analysed.

Regulation protects the weak and vulnerable. Regulation protects the environment. But regulation costs time and money. And it makes illegal that which would otherwise be legal. Regulation is therefore always controversial, and it can be very complex.

The United Kingdom has a well-deserved reputation for sensible regulation. It was an innovator in deregulation and economic regulation, and it is now home to tough no-nonsense regulators who nevertheless deploy sensible discretion about who to punish and when. There have however been some dreadful regulatory failures - the financial crisis, Stafford hospital, Grenfell Tower. And the burden of regulation is getting heavier, not only for business but also for the police, teachers etc. - and for taxpayers who have to foot the bill. Are we over-protecting our children? And is 'the regulatory state' now too powerful?

Regulation is also a huge part of government, but it hardly features in civil service training. This website accordingly explores current regulatory issues and describes current best practice. Its author was formerly Chief Executive of the UK's Better Regulation Executive and then the Competition Commission.

Those interested in other aspects of government might like to investigate sister websites which will help you Understand Policy Making and Understand the Civil Service.

Communications, Technology & Internet Regulation

We seem to be undergoing a further Industrial Revolution in which the physical, biological and digital worlds are coming together in the form of new technologies such as machine learning, big data, robotics and gene editing. Regulators have for some time noted the disappearance of boundaries between the various forms of communication:- "It's all now bits and bytes". But road vehicles and aircraft are nowadays little more than complex IT systems in aluminium shells. And biologists now use the same language as software engineers, using concepts such as coded instructions, signalling and control. Indeed, the genetic code in DNA uses only four chemical bases (A, C, G & T) whose sequence needs to be read, decoded, and translated into the more complex amino acid alphabet used to form proteins. "Life = Matter + Information."

Follow these links, then, to learn more about:

Further information About this website, and Contact information, is here.

There is an extensive on-line reference library here.

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These websites have other interesting detail:

Academic experts, and some of their writing, are listed here.

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