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The Better Regulation Burden Reduction Mechanisms: A Lens for the Evaluation of Regulatory Practices between 2010 and 2019



Change log


Ollerenshaw, Katherine 


The Coalition Government announced in 2010 that it would “cut red tape by introducing a ‘One In, One Out’ rule whereby no new regulation would be brought in without other regulation being cut by a greater amount”. The One IN, One OUT regime came into effect on 1 January 2011. It was superseded by One IN, Two OUT with effect from 1 January 2013. That was followed by a One IN, Three OUT requirement in 2016, accompanied and then replaced by a statutory target for impact reduction (the Business Impact Target or BIT). But how effective are these targets and regulatory off-setting requirements? What can they reveal about regulatory practices in the period 2010 to 2019? And what are their broader implications?

After tracing the origins of the burden reduction mechanisms and describing their scope, methodology and compliance systems, the research creates a lens by coding primary and secondary legislation passed during the period 2010 to 2019 according to its status under those mechanisms, thereby isolating measures with an impact on business and civil society and categorising them according to their contribution towards burden reduction and/or their qualification for exclusion or exemption. As a first step, the research then turns the lens inwards to gain insights into the operation of the system of burden reduction itself, and it uses those insights to discuss the ramifications of a mandated system of burden reduction.

Next, the research analyses the relationship between the drive for burden reduction and how regulatory legislation was structured and effected between 2010 and 2019. It starts by using the lens to quantify the prevalence, association with burden reduction and broader connotations of the three ancillary mechanisms associated with the burden reduction mechanisms: namely, Legislative Reform Orders, the Red Tape Challenge and special treatment for smaller businesses. Then, having collated themes associated with what Tony Blair’s Government rebranded the “Better Regulation” initiative from reports issued under the auspices of the Better Regulation Task Force and Better Regulation Commission, the data is used to evaluate those themes. Finally, the research explores what is termed “the fragmentation of regulation”, a phenomenon that captures the net effect (and logical extension) of several of the Better Regulation-inspired practices identified earlier.





Howarth, David


Better Regulation, Burden Reduction, Regulation


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge