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Regulatory intermediaries: Balancing improvements in compliance while strengthening business and competitive performance

Monday February 12, 2018, at 13:30
Room 24.120 (First floor). Mercè Rodoreda building 24
Research seminar

Christopher Walker (University of New South Wales in Sydney)

This discussion details an empirical analysis of the role of regulatory intermediaries in the road transport sector.  Regulatory intermediaries make up a diverse body of actors, and are involved in implementing rules, translating rules and requirements to make them more accessible to targets, communicating the experience of rules back to regulators, monitoring compliance and creating dialogue between regulators and targets (Abbott et al., 2017). This study examines the contribution regulatory intermediaries play in promoting compliance and considers how they manage their regulatory role along side other commercial activities.  The study examines a voluntary compliance scheme that relies on electronic monitoring of trucks and heavy vehicles.  The regulatory program known as the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) provides 24/7 monitoring of vehicles with respect to speed, weight and route compliance.  In exchange for intensive monitoring, road agencies grant transport operators concessions such as permission to carry extra heavy loads.  The monitoring service is provided by private telematics services that sell both commercial tracking and ICT systems to truck operators as well as electronic regulatory compliance systems.  These regulatory intermediaries balance their role as authorised monitoring bodies engaged in regulatory reporting and enforcement with their commercial interests in selling telematics services that assist with operational efficiency to truck operators.  The findings identify how private parties can help build compliance capability as well as progress improved operational and commercial efficiencies within regulatory frameworks.  In this case study regulatory intermediaries are seen to help broker innovative compliance solutions between road agencies (regulatory bodies) and transport operators. Such solutions allow regulation to remain responsive to industry needs as well as sustain and protect public interest in safety and asset protection.  Regulatory intermediaries help facilitate an ongoing dialogue between industry and regulatory agencies that in many instances would be otherwise lacking or remain underdeveloped. 

Christopher Walker is the Head of the School of Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales (Sydney). His research interests are in the areas of policy analysis, regulatory reform and compliance. His PhD examined regulatory reform in the Australian trucking sector. Dr. Walker has worked in senior executive and policy positions in numerous public sector agencies including Health, Road Transport, Rail Safety and Cabinet Office and has extensive experience in policy development, intergovernmental relations and micro-economic and regulatory reform. More information about his research here.