In the media

Striking the right balance: How regulators are adapting to a fast-changing landscape

Civil Service World

14 February 2023

Read the full article in Civil Service World 

PA Consulting's Conrad Thompson, regulation and innovation lead, discusses the state of regulation in the UK at a webinar in partnership with Civil Service World.

PA’s recent research on regulation found 70% of regulated businesses felt watchdogs were effective in meeting their remit – based on a sample group of 500 leaders. Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of general-public respondents to the survey said they believed the UK has regulation that is up to the job.

Commenting on the findings, Conrad says that PA's research suggests regulators need to “really rethink” their remit and priorities; try their utmost to “walk in stakeholders’ shoes” and explore how best to get leverage through the work of others.

According to Conrad, a "Platform thinking" approach is required that will involve exploring the benefits of common technology and more "componentised" ways of working, including collaboration with other industry bodies to maximise impact.

He adds: “Some of the work that we’ve done with building-safety regulations is a really great example of how they are going about addressing the Grenfell challenges by setting up a platform that allows everyone to share safety data far more easily as the real enabler to address risks in the future."

Conrad goes on to explain that the use the use of artificial intelligence is an area in which regulators need to be on the front foot: "Regulators have a really important role to play, at the very least in just bringing to light what is going on in the market today."

Adding: “I suspect citizens get more fearful than really they should be about how AI is being used; equally, it is legitimate that they should be worried about how it might be being used in the future.”

According to Conrad, some regulator proactivity was seen with Civil Aviation Authority chief executive Andrew Haines’s 2017 decision to "call out" Ryanair on Sky News over the budget airline’s compensation practices for passengers affected by delays and cancellations. 

He explains: "I’m sure they thought about it a lot. I’m sure they had their lawyers going over the implications, and obviously had the backing of the DfT, but I thought it was a brilliant example of regulators stepping up and doing what us as citizens would want them to do."

Conrad concluded by explaining that, Ryanair changed its rules within a week.

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