The Professional Regulator
John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Overview

How to be a risk-based regulator


This Executive Forum with Professor Malcolm K. Sparrow examines the role of the "Professional Regulator", focusing on the practical and operational challenges which are common across regulatory, enforcement, compliance or disciplinary functions of government, regardless of the specific industries being regulated.

Regulatory scholarship has traditionally paid much more attention to regulatory policy (the content of the law) than to regulatory practice, and this forum seeks to redress that imbalance.

Professor Sparrow has worked closely with professional regulators for more than 25 years, focusing on the strategic and operational dilemmas that are distinctive to harm-reduction or risk-control tasks of government (as distinct from “customer service” roles), and which may involve the use of coercive power and associated discretion.


Key themes to be address:
  • What does it mean to be “risk-based” in enforcement, regulatory, or compliance roles
  • What would it take to institutionalize an operational risk-management (or “harm-reduction”) approach as a framework for carrying out tasks and reporting accomplishments
  • How do we measure an agency’s contributions to risk reduction?
  • What is regulatory craftsmanship, and how might we as an agency deliver it
  • What is the relationship between enforcement discretion and effective risk control?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of alternative regulatory structures (e.g. prescriptive regulation, performance-based regulation, self-regulation, co-regulation, etc.)
  • What types of risks ("wicked problems") present special challenges for regulatory operations, and how can those challenges best be met?
What will you take away?
Participants will come away with a heightened appreciation of the importance and complexity of the role of the Professional Regulator. They will understand the variety of pressures currently acting on regulatory, enforcement, and security agencies around the world, and the various adaptations available to them as they strive to enhance their effectiveness.

Who will attend?
This course is designed for upper level regulatory and enforcement practitioners, for members of professional boards with oversight responsibilities (e.g. medical boards), and for politicians with regulatory portfolios.

Attend to learn:

  • What it means to be “risk-based” in enforcement, regulatory & compliance roles
  • Regulatory craftsmanship & how to deliver it
  • The harm-reduction approach as a framework for carrying out tasks
  • How to measure your agency’s contributions to risk reduction

Key Speakers

Professor Malcolm K. Sparrow
John F Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University

Blog

  • Date: 19 Jul 2018  By: Murray Smith

    The use of enforcement tools by regulators can be a difficult and unforgiving process. Recently in Canberra the territory’s gambling regulator brought court proceedings against a licensed party and then decided not to continue in favour of a negotiated outcome. The outcome indicated that the regulated party would pay $60,000 to an anti-gambling foundation, put …

  • Date: 13 Jul 2018  By: Professor Malcolm Sparrow

    We hear the phrase “risk-based regulation” quite frequently.  Yet there seems to be much greater clarity about what it means for the regulations themselves to be risk-based, and much less clarity about what it means to be a risk-based regulator at the operational level. Regulators, and others with risk-control responsibilities, face a unique set of …

  • Date: 22 May 2018  By: Josephine O'Brien

    Inconsistency surrounding the implementation and enforcement of regulation is a challenge that permeates across local government jurisdictions as well as between state and local governments. Common issues include a lack of guidance and resources from state government when implementing new regulations, as well as a lack of standardised enforcement approaches across local jurisdictions. The result …

  • Date: 2 May 2018  By: Sean Hodgson

    The challenge of regulating growing populations with increasingly diverse cultures, languages and economic constraints is a common challenge across local government. Barriers exist between sections of the community and council’s efforts to regulate effectively and consistently. To succeed within these communities, local government approaches to regulation need to be relevant and strategic. Brisbane City Council’s …