Better Policy Making - Ofcom's approach to Impact Assessment

26 June 2010

Why is Impact Assessment important?

The decisions which Ofcom makes can impose significant costs on our stakeholders and it is important for us to think very carefully before adding to the burden of regulation. One of our key regulatory principles is that we have a bias against intervention. This means that a high hurdle must be overcome before we regulate. If intervention is justified, we aim to choose the least intrusive means of achieving our objectives, recognising the potential for regulation to reduce competition. These guidelines explain how Impact Assessments will be used to help us apply these principles in a transparent and justifiable way.

"The option of not intervening...should always be seriously considered. Sometimes the fact that a market is working imperfectly is used to justify taking action. But no market ever works perfectly, while the effects of...regulation and its unintended consequences, may be worse then the effects of the imperfect market" Better Regulation Task Force (September 2003)

Impact Assessments form a key part of best practice policy making, which is reflected in our statutory duty to carry them out. They provide a way of considering different options for regulation and then selecting the best option. In selecting and analysing options, the need to further the interests of citizens and consumers is of paramount importance.

Better Policy Making - Ofcom's approach to Impact Assessment PDF, 189.3 KB