Some Legislative Initiatives Never Go Through the Assessment of Regulatory Impacts Procedure

15 september 2015

The Analytical Center hosted a conference on assessing regulatory and actual impacts of state policy measures in Russia: current challenges and development prospects. At the conference, experts noted that mechanisms for assessing regulatory impacts of legislation in Russia are going through a new stage of development.

Vitaly Zlobin, a Deputy Director of the Department for Assessing Regulatory Impacts of the Ministry of Economic Development, reminded those present that in January 2015 the Russian Government issued a Resolution No 83 dated Jan 30, 2015 that launched the reform of the system for assessing regulatory impacts of legislation at the federal level. A new methodology for holding public consultations has already been approved. In order to shift to the one-in-one-out model, a methodology is to be adopted by October 1, 2015 for assessing the standard costs incurred by businesses and households as a result of new legislation being passed and by January 1, 2016 a set of documents is to be developed for introducing a procedure to assess the actual impacts of new regulations.

Experts noted that the Presidential Decree No 601 dated May 7, 2012 on Key Priorities for Improvements in the State Governance Systems had become the basis for the introduction of regulatory impacts assessment in Russian regions while regions’ ratings now serve as an additional incentive for improving the effectiveness of regulatory impacts assessment. Vitaly Zlobin talked in detail about the new methodology for rating regions. “We have assigned top priority to regulatory impacts assessment in regional legislatures as well as to centralized publishing of information about the procedure in the region and elimination of contradicting interpretations when ratings are calculated,” the expert said, adding that the most important aspect of the efforts is the creation of a system for sharing the best practices between the regions. Sections missing from the previous revision of the methodology have also been added: the effectiveness of assessment of regulations and regulatory impacts assessments in regional administrative centers, the expert summed up.

“To link all the processes, the regulatory impacts assessment system comprises four parts,” Mr. Zlobin said. “Part one is, which is a  resource that offers a federal venue for organizing regulatory impacts assessments and holding public consultations. Part two is, which is the main information resource on regulatory impacts assessment. Part three is an interactive application, i.e. internal accounting that involves systematizing information and statistics about regulatory impacts assessment and finally part four - regional regulatory impacts assessment portals and resources for carrying out regulatory impacts assessment in the regions.” The expert believes this unified system is quite innovative and unique and nothing like this exists anywhere else.

Anastasia Alekhnovich, a Head of the Expert Center of the Russian President’s Authorized Representative for Protecting Entrepreneurs’ Rights, believes that most legislative initiatives never undergo regulatory impacts assessment. “Even if formally a proposed bill has been put in the system, the work to revise and amend it never stops. As a result we end up with a bill that has not been affected by the impacts assessment procedure at all,” the expert said. In her opinion, it is the main problem faced by business today and it can only be solved through developing a consolidated position. “There are a few requirements that will help us in this,” Ms. Alekhnovich believes. “First of all, each bill must come with a correct assessment of its financial and economic impacts on the treasury and on the corporate sector. Secondly, a principle of submitting sets of legislative initiatives must be adopted, at least for key types of state regulation,” the expert noted. “Thirdly, amendments need to be made to the State Duma Procedure that would stipulate that all legislative initiatives must undergo regulatory impacts assessment.” Unless these key requirements are met, the procedure will never become more effective, Ms. Alekhnovich is convinced.

Regional practices of introducing regulatory impacts assessment were also presented at the conference. A representative of Perm Krai suggested setting up expert groups that would optimize the time and effort expended by all participants in the process.