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The future of regulation: technology adoption


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Delegates listening to presentation from Ben Hobby  VP – Objective RegTech
Image source: Objective

The effective use of technology and data is critical to operating as a modern regulator. But the UK regulatory community has no current industry-scale view of technology adoption. Here’s how that’s all about to change…

At a time when technology is changing dramatically, regulators must change as well. In many circumstances, the pandemic spurred organisations to develop new ways of working, often adopting technology more quickly than before. In other instances, government struggled to be as nimble as the private sector in its flexibility to adapt to tech adoption and opportunities.

However, we know government regulators are increasingly using regulatory technology – what is known as ‘RegTech’ – to improve regulatory practice.

Across the UK, there are some great examples of innovative regulators driving tech use to achieve better community outcomes and to make it easier and less costly for citizens and businesses to comply. Objective’s recent RegTech for Government event in partnership with the Institute of Regulation discussed just some of them with examples of, and/or commentary from, the Care Quality Commission, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Ofqual, Ofsted and the Professional Standards Authority.

But we know there are many more; which is why we’re looking to uncover greater insights for the benefit of regulators UK-wide. (Complete the Government Regulatory Technology Survey here)

Creating a shared regulatory community

Marcial Boo, chair of the Institute of Regulation, surmises that “regulation is relatively new,” and that “like all start-ups, regulators are made to spend time navigating their own landscape which means less time looking across the boundaries of other sectors and organisations.” What’s needed is a platform to support the sharing of regulatory good practice – including technology adoption – across the community.

His proposition is simple:

  • Many regulators are young and responsible for overseeing complex regulated systems;
  • Such systems are getting more complex as the sector and society globalises; and
  • Technology presents an opportunity to deliver the tools to help regulators manage this growing complexity and burden.

This is consistent with a Productivity Commission report which suggests that there are four key areas where RegTech solutions may be particularly beneficial:

  1. where regulatory environments are particularly complex to navigate and monitor;
  2. where there is scope to improve risk-based regulatory approaches, thereby targeting the compliance burden and regulator efforts;
  3. where technology can enable better monitoring, including overcoming constraints related to physical presence;
  4. where technology can safely unlock more uses of data for regulatory compliance (p4, 2020).

To understand the technological benefits for regulation, we must ask those at the regulatory coal face what’s been implemented so far, what’s been learnt and what plans are in place for the future.

Inviting industry insights to improve regulatory practice

To provide insight into what’s really happening, the Government Regulatory Technology Survey 2022 has launched. This inaugural survey asks government organisations who manage a regulatory function about the types of regulatory technology they are implementing, the benefits they are seeing, and any barriers they face.

Improving visibility of the technological work being undertaken across various industry domains will help regulators to: understand what’s happening at a macro level; identify opportunities for improvement; and ascertain an informed approach of how tech can improve the outcomes that motivate them every day.

Objective’s Global VP for RegTech, Ben Hobby, notes: “Good regulatory practice and good regulatory delivery has always required regulators to get the basics right. With technological advances, the basics now include regulators having some level of RegTech capabilities and competency. The survey will provide a uniquely rich depiction of the changing regulatory landscape for government technology adoption and lay a foundation benchmark for how this is advancing.”

Input from international sources

The survey follows a similar exercise conducted by Objective in Australia and New Zealand which has seen hundreds of government regulatory professionals come together to share their insights and learn from the experiences of others across industry.

According to this research, regulators have a good awareness of the benefits that technology can deliver and an appetite for more collaboration across the sector. However, whilst most are keen to make greater use of digital technology, they are still striving to put in place foundational systems. Common barriers include ensuring the technical IT capacity to buy and implement, securing funding and unease about the risks of IT projects.

Generally, the results showed that most, but clearly not all, regulators’ use of technology is just scratching the surface.

The 12 key findings can be viewed in the ANZ survey report.

Get involved – complete the UK survey

If you’re involved in government regulation, your experience and expertise would be greatly appreciated if you have 15 minutes to spare. Please complete the Government Regulatory Technology Survey today

All survey completions with a valid email address will be entered into a prize draw to win a £500 donation to a charity of the winner’s choosing.

As with Australia and New Zealand, the findings of the UK Government Regulatory Technology Survey will be shared widely with those in the industry.

Anyone who completes the survey will be invited to a dedicated webinar event to discuss the findings with industry experts. The UK survey is open until 16 December 2022 (5pm).

About Objective 

Objective software is used by thousands of public sector organisations and regulated industries around the world, driving digital change and innovation to deliver strong national and community outcomes. 

Objective RegWorks is a solution designed specifically for regulation, compliance and enforcement to help streamline the way government agencies meet their regulatory requirements. Read more here

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