Characteristics of good regulation

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Regulation should be of a good quality. Good quality regulation meets the following eight criteria.

1. Necessary and effective

Good regulation is necessary and effective for the achievement of the intended goal. When a specific social problem is to be solved, policy makers may opt for a government intervention through regulation. If this is the case, they must be able to prove that this regulation is necessary and effective.

2. Appropriate and balanced

Good regulation is also appropriate and balanced. It improves social welfare and well-being and achieves the intended goal at the lowest possible social cost and minimises unwanted side-effects.

3. Implementable and enforceable

Good regulation entails guarantees that it will be given practical effect.

4. Lawful

Regulations must fit in with the existing legal framework and general legal principles. Regulations must satisfy minimal legal and formal requirements.

5. Consistent

The mutual harmonisation of rules is necessary for the uniformity of regulation. On its own or alongside other regulations, good regulation exhibits no overlaps or contradictions and forms part of a coherent whole.

6. Simple, clear and accessible

Good quality regulation is easy to understand, explicit and readily accessible to anyone to whom it may be of importance. This applies to every aspect of the regulation, including the administrative formalities.

7. Well-founded and well-discussed

Good quality regulation is carefully prepared. It is based on all the useful scientific and empirical information that is reasonably available. There is wide-ranging official, social and political discussion on its objectives, options, content and effects.

8. Relevant and up-to-date

Regulation is enacted at a particular moment, but it is generally intended to be applicable for a longer period of time. Hence regulations must be reviewed regularly in order for them to remain relevant and up-to-date.

These eight characteristics were adopted by the Government of Flanders on 7 November 2003. They serve as the guideline for drawing up and evaluating regulation.