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Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis: Impact assessments of higher quality required

Government Communications Department 1.6.2017 11.24 | Published in English on 6.6.2017 at 12.07
News item 31/2017

Finnish law drafting is of a high standard as a rule, but the quality of impact assessments should be higher. The Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis finds impact assessments to have been deficient in a significant proportion of the draft government proposals analysed. Quantitative assessments in particular should be augmented.

During 2016, the Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis considered a total of 21 draft government proposals and prepared 12 statements by the end of the year. The Council’s statements concerned draft proposals prepared by seven different ministries and included proposals of both broad and more limited scope. The median statement consideration period was well under two weeks.

While a considerable proportion of the draft government proposals analysed have been fairly deficient in terms of impact assessment, some individual proposals have featured quite solid impact assessments. A recurring theme is the lack of quantitative assessments. Impact assessments are often presented only in qualitative terms, leaving the most relevant costs and benefits unclear, and the draft proposals often fail to clearly indicate whether the benefits of the law will outweigh the ensuing costs.

The Council points out that many draft government proposals fail to justify the measures chosen to achieve the objectives. Comparisons between the various options should be used in draft government proposals to establish why the measures put forward constitute the best means of achieving the desired objectives.

By the Council’s rough estimate, just under two thirds of the improvements suggested in its statements have been taken into account in the final government proposals. The scope of responsiveness varied from one proposal to another. The time lapse between the issue of the Council’s statement and the relevant ministry submitting the bill to Parliament varied between three and fourteen weeks, which would suggest that the ministries had no significant amount of time to rework the draft proposals.

Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis Annual Review 2016

The Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis launched operations in April 2016.

Inquiries: Leila Kostiainen, Chairperson of the Council, tel. 0400 805 417