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Regulatory Impact Assessments

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 25 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the Department's Regulatory Impact Assessment procedure; and how many RIAs have been reviewed in respect of the Department over the last year. [120841]

A Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) must be completed for all policy proposals that have a potential impact on businesses, charities or the voluntary sector. It includes details of the arrangements for monitoring and evaluating policy proposals.Information on the number of RIAs that have been reviewed in respect of the Department in the last year is not held.From this year the National Audit Office (NAO) has a new role in independently evaluating a selection of RIAs. In its Annual Report, published in February 2003, the better regulation task force put forward suggestions of RIAs for the NAO to review.The NAO review will focus on the quality of analysis in the RIAs and the thoroughness with which the RIAs have been undertaken. The findings and recommendations of best practice will be fed back to departments. It will play a valuable part in driving up standards of RIAs.