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Getting the best from inspection and regulation

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This report provides clarity around the regulatory landscape in Wales.
Magnifying flass and jigsaw pieces

We work with external review bodies and others develop and implement policy on inspection and regulation.

In 2009, the Welsh Government published its Policy Statement on Inspection, Audit and Regulation in Wales, with an implementation plan that set out the actions to support the key principles in the statement.  Subsequently, the major external review bodies in Wales - the Wales Audit Office (WAO), the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW), Estyn and the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) published a statement saying how they were working to implement the policy and an Annual Progress Report was published in March 2011.

The 2011, Programme for Government committed to 'Review the framework for the external scrutiny of public services and the work our auditors, inspectors and regulators'.  In response to this commitment a three phrase Review of Audit, Inspection and Regulation (AIR) was endorsed by Ministers in 2012.

  • Phase 1 - to establish by consensus the purpose of audit, inspection and regulation
  • Phase 2 - to consider how far/to what extent the present system fulfils the principles of Phase 1, and establish a programme for reform
  • Phase 3 - Implementation, comprising one-off reforms or longer-term changes of emphasis.

To ensure an independent approach, it was agreed that the first two phases would be undertaken by external researchers. Researchers were commissioned in July 2013 and began work on Phase 1 in August 2013. They have now produced the Phase 1, Review of AIR Report, which will be consulted on from 20 January to 14 March 2014.

The consultation responses will be collated to inform the final statement of principles and objectives for an AIR system in Wales. This will form the basis for Phase 2 of the Review, which will commence in April 2014. The scope of the Review will focus on the four main external review bodies: WAO; Estyn; CIW and HIW.

The Welsh Government also works with Whitehall departments, with the Local Better Regulation Office, local government and major regulators (the Natural Resources Wales, Food Standards Agency, Health and Safety Executive and Office of Fair Trading), and with business and consumer interests to get the best alignment of policies and practice on better regulation of businesses. This includes improving our own arrangements in areas such as farming and the regulation of social landlords.