BIS: Transforming Regulatory Enforcement: Freeing Up Business Growth
We recognise that the proposed priorities address the need for greater accountability, the recognition and promotion of good practice and greater transparency. The one area of the consultation where we have greatest experience is that of co-regulation. We perceive in particular, the use of in-company laboratories to perform regulatory testing as a potential way-forward where there is demonstrable competence and an onward mechanism to resolve any disputes that might arise (for example through the use of a technically qualified referee). Certification to BS EN:ISO9000 and accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 from BSI and UKAS respectively has shown the value of third-party accreditation as a means of demonstrating competence. The potential use of professional standards is also interesting in this respect. For example, the appellation “Chartered Chemist (CChem)” or “Chartered Scientist (CSci)” indicates a professional person who has satisfied a number of educational and professional requirements to receive the qualification. The use of such professionals could be made better use of to reduce unnecessary regulation. However, professional standards such as this, although awarded on merit, are maintained through subscription. Some organizations, including LGC, cover the subscription fee for professionals who have gained these qualifications; this should be encouraged in order to remove potential barriers and ensure good take-up. Such schemes do not reduce the value of, and need for, sound analytical science to solve measurement problems, but can ensure that regulators have a further benchmark to easily assess the competence of a laboratory and its staff.
We therefore strongly recommend the use of third-party assessments and professional standards/qualifications as a means of ensuring compliance of organisations with regulations. This approach would be both consistent and transparent, calling on independent, professional judgements about organisations and individuals within those organisations.