Thank you delegates and let’s keep our conversations going

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As the curtain came down on our conference in October, some of you may recall that Baroness Nicholson of Winterborne asked RD’s Director, Graham Russell to have this photograph taken. Some of you may still be wondering why or just simply forgotten? So here’s a recap on the success of the conference and why the photograph is so important.

The UK has a growing reputation for improving the delivery of regulation. Countries around the world are recognising the need to reform not just the way regulation is designed (to minimise the burdens on business), but also the way it is delivered (protecting people and places and supporting businesses to thrive and grow, innovate and export)

In the UK we have been working on this challenge for quite a while. While bonfires of Red Tape started under a young Harold Wilson in 1948, reform of inspection (regulatory enforcement) received its formal recognition when former Prime Minister Gordon Brown tasked Sir Philip Hampton with reviewing the landscape in 2005. Today, as the UK builds towards a new global trading role , the confidence that good enforcement can give to business is as important in exporting markets as it is in competing locally.

Previous conferences in 2012 and 2014 had focussed on inspection reform and enforcement capability but this year we explored the role of regulation and standards in providing confidence for stability, growth and trade. For the big emerging economies – BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey) – as well as many countries in the Commonwealth, we learnt that the development of trade is increasingly important.

For the delegates who were listening to the Department of International Trade, as well as BSI and UKAS, on the way standards will be developed and used to underpin competitive markets, please do keep in contact with us so we can help you continue these important conversations.

Delegates from states characterised as fragile and post conflict, including Liberia, Sudan and South Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Myanmar and Nepal, shared their experiences and aspirations – recognising the challenges of low capacity state institutions, corruption and mistrust. But they were heartened to hear that the story of a regulatory reform journey in Bangladesh has brought business and regulation together to discover common causes and improve outcomes. Please do continue these conversations as so much can be achieved through the sharing these experiences.

As the UK plans its exit from the EU, it was valuable to compare notes with regulators and policy officials from nations in the Association of SE Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the East African Community (EAC) about their expectations of single markets, trade barriers and mutual recognition.

This brings me back to the photo at the start of this blog. As a UK Trade Envoy, Baroness Nicholson had visited most of the nations represented at the conference!  Our minister Margot James had opened the conference with tales of her own experience of regulation as an entrepreneur in the UK and Baroness Nicholson was keen to celebrate the growing importance of women in regulation as well as in business.  After the whole conference was photographed in the magnificence of Lancaster House, she demanded that the female delegates, who comprised a third of the total, gathered for this powerful image.  I hope it speaks of optimism for the future to you as much as it does to all in Regulatory Delivery.