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Effective and clearly targeted regulation plays a vital role in the protection and prosperity of economies around the world. As governments strive to stimulate fair competition, protect the vulnerable, safeguard against environmental impact and promote equality, regulatory frameworks continue to operate at the core of this mission.

Politicians recognise the importance of improving regulation. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, stated that "To face up to the challenges we face inside and outside Europe, policies, laws and regulations need to adapt to the fast pace of technological change, to foster innovation, to protect the welfare and safety of Europeans. Public administrations need to be effective, flexible and focused. This is the standard which the European Commission has set itself, and this is why we have made Better Regulation one of our core priorities."

However, over recent years it seems that major regulatory failures have been more visible than examples of effective regulation. Much of the world is paying the price for the disastrous failure of financial regulation. Americans have seen the result of lax regulation of the Gulf of Mexico oil industry, and the Japanese are dealing with the aftermath of the ineffective regulation of their nuclear industry.

At a time of shrinking budgets and increasing service demands, regulators face the challenge of finding more effective ways of designing and enforcing regulation, without placing unnecessary burdens on those who are regulated. There are significant challenges for regulators to face in order to become more effective, from understanding the psychology of those they regulate, to balancing enforcement with support, to ensuring they do not become risk averse or overly-bureaucratic.

The International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS) carries out a substantial amount of work to support administrations across the world in their efforts to bring about change and reform, providing a range of different services:

  • Research – ICPS research makes a significant contribution to learning about public sector reform, highlighting best practice, current trends and leading thinking. The Centre has a repository of materials, including research papers, films and documentaries, and works in collaboration with a number of academics, universities and research organisations across the world
  • High level networks – ICPS has developed a network for senior officials that have a professional interest in the field of public sector reform, and provides opportunities throughout the year for them to gather and share ideas and best practice.
  • Consultancy – ICPS provides consultancy services to public administrations and agencies around the world on areas including: structures of Government, institution building, human rights, citizen participation, accountability, public sector management, policy design and delivery.
  • Training – ICPS provides training and advice to governments and public administrations, through working in collaboration and delivering bespoke training programmes which are tailored to their precise requirements. The Centre also provides internationally recognised professional qualifications in the area of governance, Parliament and policy, and these are accredited by the Chartered Management Institute.