Published on February 20, 2015

The public’s voice on regulation | Sciencewise

Sciencewise

By Sonia Bussu

Dr Sonia Bussu is a researcher at Involve. She is passionate about increasing citizen voice in public policy (so much so that she did a PhD on the topic) and over the past few years she has been involved in several research projects on citizen participation in policy-making.

The purpose of regulation, as defined by the National Audit Office Report (2010), “is to provide protections and benefits to, for example, workers, consumers and the environment. However, it can also create costs for businesses, the third sector and the public sector.” A regulatory framework therefore aims to strike the right balance between the costs (which tend to fall unevenly on the regulated) and the benefits, as government is expected to provide appropriate protection, while ensuring the impact on those under regulation is proportionate.

So how can the public, as citizens, be brought into this process? This paper explores how public participation can be applied to the current regulatory framework in order to improve regulatory outcomes and increase public legitimacy.

This report is an extension of an earlier paper produced by Sciencewise in 2014, exploring whether there are broader issues across regulation as a whole, for which a deliberative public involvement might currently be both missing and potentially valuable. Click through for the full report and executive summary.

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