Report: The Role of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board in Delivering Better EU Regulation with Veronica Gaffey
This lunchtime EU Committee briefing featured Veronica Gaffey
, Chair of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board. Ms Gaffey reflected on the activities and performances of the Board over the past years but also presented the current state of affairs as well as the future direction of the Board for the years to come. We were particularly pleased to welcome Ms Gaffey today as she is the first representative of the Board to speak at the chamber, and we hope to continue this positive relationship in the future.
The Regulatory Scrutiny Board was established in 2015 and replaced the Impact Assessment Board, with a new set of wider responsibilities. The Board scrutinises impact assessments and major evaluations as well as fitness check of multiple policies, but it doesn’t have any policy-making responsibilities. We learned that the impact assessments have generally improved. The Board has reviewed 189 impact assessments since 2016, and has issued 69 negative opinions (36%). In 2018, the rejection rate was 22%, which has reduced since 2015.
The RSB contributes to the better regulation agenda. Its role and functioning were explained thoroughly to our members. First, the European Commission sets priorities. The RSB will therefore be impacted by whoever the new President of the Commission is. Then, the different DGs will evaluate the priorities and draft impact assessments. The Board will then assess those draft impact assessments and give a positive or negative opinion (all opinions are public). If the opinion is negative, the draft report must be reviewed and resubmitted to the Board and the European Commission will have to explain the impact assessment publicly.
The 2018 annual report has been published and is available online. After a public consultation, the Board learned that there have been no strong demands for changes in the RSB, although some countries think that the RSB is not totally independent from the Commission. There is therefore a need for the Board to make it more widely known that they are part of the Better Regulation Agenda and better law-making.
The priorities of the Board were also put forward during the briefing. These include maintaining their rigour when scrutinising draft impact assessments but also maintaining the quality of their opinion. Good communication is key, and the Board strives to make negative opinions as clear as possible so that the DGs fully understand the reasons behind them. The Board also wants to engage more in outreach and with external stakeholders to make their work and purpose more widely known.
Chair of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board | European Commission
The European Commission nominated Veronica Gaffey as Chair of the independent Regulatory Scrutiny Board in March 2019. This Board, which is independent of the Commission services and has no policy-making responsibilities, examines the evidence base of all impact assessments for new policy proposals and most evaluations.
Veronica was Director of the Paymaster’s Office of the Commission from 2016 to 2019 and before that was Director of Resources in the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy in July 2015.
Veronica Gaffey worked in the area of evaluation for 23 years of her career. She was Head of Evaluation in the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission from 2007 to 2015. She joined the Evaluation Unit in 2000 from the ESF Evaluation Unit based in the Ministry for Enterprise and Employment in Dublin, Ireland. There she managed the unit from its inception in 1992. Before that, she worked in the Ministry for Labour from 1986. Her academic background is the study of English literature.
This event is exclusively open for members.