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Conference notes: the changing role of regulators

A conference on the changing role of regulators highlighted the need for more openness from regulators about their processes.

25 September 2019

Earlier this month, we sent Simon Laxton, Workpro’s Business Relationship Manager, along to a conference in Edinburgh on the changing Role of Regulators. Here’s what he found.

During a thought-provoking day at the conference, one word came up time and again: transparency. Listening to a wide range of speakers, it was clear that regulators and public service providers must build trust with the public by being more open about their processes.

To maintain and grow public confidence, regulators will need to place user outcomes – not their own procedures – at the heart of service delivery. And be more open at every step of the process.

Aspiring to transparency

The day kicked off with an address from keynote speaker Rosemary Agnew, Ombudsman at SPSO. She examined the role of regulators in a landscape of legislative change, growing expectations from consumers, and tighter constraints on resources. The big question: how can regulators rise above this constant flux?

Put simply, regulators must offer the same level of transparency as the services they scrutinise. It’s essential that they become more accountable and open to citizen participation at all levels. They must ensure good regulatory practice, prioritise social welfare and sustainability, and provide justice for citizens. All in a way that is honest and open.

This was a theme that occurred throughout the day, with a range of speakers bringing their own unique perspective to the issues.

 The key speakers

·     Antony Clark from Audit Scotland discussed Scottish government finances and the changing perception of auditors. He explained the need for integrity, honesty and accountability to be at the heart of any public service – and reiterated the need for openness to reinforce public trust in the services.

·        Maureen Falconer of the English ICO discussed the tsunami of breach reporting in the wake of the GDPR legislation – 14,000 this year, compared to around 3,000 per year previously – and how this is being regulated.

·        Saskia Kearns of Scottish Government explained the Open Government programme she leads. The aim: for Scottish Government to lead the way in transparency, accountability and openness, as an exemplar for Scottish public services to follow.

·        Darren Fitzhenry of the Scottish Information Commission discussed the challenges around information, rights and regulation. He explained how a proactive information publishing policy could help in handling FOI requests more efficiently. 

·        Neil Stevenson, CEO at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, illuminated the challenges of keeping legislation up to date. One such challenge – the time it takes to respond to changes affecting the regulatory community, such as the growing public use of voice services. Public services will be expected to react to these developments, despite the technology available to them struggling to keep up.

The support challenge

For service providers, the major challenge is how to support these major shifts in a robust way. With the prospect of reduced resources and development budgets, it’s clear that providing greater transparency without sacrificing data security or mandatory processes, will require innovation.

How Workpro can help

Workpro case management software provides process technology to support openness and accountability. Clear process workflows, with templates and reminders ensure every case is handled consistently and professionally. Everyone knows exactly what has been done and is to be done next, and by whom. Audit trails, various caseviews and extensive reporting provide the monitoring and transparency capabilities you need. And Workpro is very flexible, capable of adapting over time to meet the challenges of a changing world.

Book a free online demo today. Or contact us to find out how Workpro software supports transparency in complaints management.

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