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To regulate or not to regulate? The Office of Best Practice Regulation can help you find the answer

Decision-makers expect the Australian Public Service to provide a strong evidence base when developing advice on policy proposals and changes. This is what the Government’s Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) system delivers and there is central support available to assist policy makers achieve best practice.

The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR), in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, oversees the RIA systems of the Australian Government and of the Council of Australian Governments.

“Our role is to ensure robust and high quality impact analysis accompanies policy proposals put before decision-makers,” explains Mr Jason Lange, Executive Director of the OBPR.

Mr Lange says the OBPR is also there to support public servants in their policy development processes.

“Experienced staff in the OBPR can help you right from the start of your policy development process, to draw out whole-of-government options to respond to given issues, articulate impacts and ready your document for decision-making” said Jason.

The RIA requirements kick in when the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, a Minister or a delegated authority (such as a Departmental Secretary) is asked to make a decision with more than a minor impact – be it positive or negative – on individuals, businesses or community organisations. The document capturing this impact analysis is a Regulation Impact Statement, or ‘RIS’.

In putting forward robust, evidence-based policy, the OBPR can help before and during the development of policy by:

  • Assisting with mapping the RIA requirements against your policy development plan and decision points and identifying risks and other issues to be covered in the impact analysis.
  • Reviewing RISs during their development. The OBPR can provide informal advice and input at every step. Adjusting direction or strengthening the analysis is far easier when you engage as early as possible. They don’t care about missing commas and there is no such thing as a dumb question!
  • Providing training for a team or a larger group of departmental staff, focusing on a specific policy issue or on impact analysis more generally.

For more information, contact the OBPR Helpdesk on helpdesk-OBPR [at] pmc.gov.au or 02 6271 6270. Or find guidance for policy makers online.