Press release

New report sees citizens calling for regulators to protect against online harm and cybercrime

06 December 2022

PA Consulting, the consultancy that’s bringing ingenuity to life, today launches a report on how UK regulators can navigate a more volatile world. The report identifies that protection against cyber threats and online harm is high on the agenda, with three quarters (80 percent) of citizens looking for more from regulators in this area.

The report, Rethinking Regulators, is based on interviews with over 2,000 citizens, 500 leaders in regulated business, and experience gained from PA’s work with around 40 UK regulators. Since PA’s last regulators’ survey in 2018 the societal and regulatory landscape has changed significantly. Progress has been made, but new demands have emerged.

In a time of political upheaval, we are seeing climate change anxiety and concerns about the cost of living and surging inflation. 84 percent of citizens feel more worried and fearful about the future than they did three years ago and want regulators to address these concerns. Encouragingly, over three quarters of businesses (76 percent) say they respect regulators (an increase of 22 percentage points since PA’s 2018 survey). However, they don’t always act fast enough – 72 percent say regulators respond slowly and 73 percent say they’re largely reactive.

Other key findings include:

  • Regulators have a growing role to play in the economy as people’s buying decisions become more entwined with feeling protected. Citizens’ trust in markets will be threatened and they will be less likely to buy from particular brands. More than half of business respondents said that changes in the business environment have negatively affected performance over the past three years. Looking ahead, half of respondents reported that they will feel a negative impact financially or competitively if regulators fail to evolve within two years (25 percent say within one year).
  • A new role for regulators as citizens and businesses look to them to proactively support sustainability. More than three quarters (74 percent) of businesses say regulators should be doing more to support the delivery of environmental sustainability outcomes. In response, regulators may need to consider new initiatives, such as setting sustainability targets.

Conrad Thompson, regulation and innovation expert at PA Consulting, said: “In this turbulent time it is no surprise that our research shows that people want regulators to protect them from a whole range of threats. With 70 percent of businesses saying regulators are effective in achieving their remit, now is the time for them to step up and take a greater role in addressing these concerns.

“Forward-thinking regulators have an opportunity to show their worth to politicians by proactively building and promoting trust, growth, and innovation in the areas that matter most to citizens and business.”

To download a copy of the report, visit our Rethinking regulators page.

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