Regulators welcome Government cross-sectoral study

A joint statement from the CAA, Ofcom, Ofgem, ORR and Ofwat
5 December 2013

The UK's economic regulators today welcomed the Government's study to identify ways in which cross-sectoral approaches and collaboration across regulators could improve outcomes for consumers. It aims to build on UK's strong track record of independent regulation, which has delivered better value, more choice and improved service quality for consumers over the last three decades.

Announcing the study, the Government restated its commitment to the model of independent economic regulation, recognising its important contribution in securing better value and quality for consumers as well as establishing a stable environment for cost effective investment.

The economic regulators have taken steps to work closer together on issues of cross-sectoral significance and in learning lessons across industries which help to improve regulation and the promotion of competition in order to secure better outcomes for consumers. The regulators themselves will undertake work to assess the overall affordability of infrastructure on customer bills; lessons from each sector on empowering consumers to get the best deals and how, working together, they can help to improve the environment for efficient investment in UK infrastructure.

The study, which will be conducted with expert input from the regulators, will focus on the way the regulators work together and with government on issues related to cross-sector infrastructure delivery. To this end it will consider:

  • how economic regulators can better address cross-sector issues and achieve efficiencies in their own decision making processes
  • the role regulators should have in supporting economic growth, and how their duties contribute to this
  • options to improve the impact of the regulatory environment on consumer outcomes.

The study will look particularly at developing better joint working, more clearly explaining the role of economic regulation, and facilitating cross sector infrastructure investment. It will make recommendations in spring 2014.

Notes

The Study will be led by HM Treasury and BIS for the Government, with the support of the five economic regulators in scope – namely the CAA, Ofcom, Ofgem, ORR and Ofwat. Details of the Study were announced in the National Infrastructure Plan published on 4 December, and in the Autumn Statement on 5 December.

A wider group of the UK economic regulators is developing a collaborative programme of work on cross-sectoral issues, which will be announced in the spring. This group includes the CAA, Ofcom, Ofgem, the Financial Conduct Authority, Monitor, ORR, the Utility Regulator for Northern Ireland Ofwat and the Water Industry Commission for Scotland.