Handbook of Regulatory Impact Assessment
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Handbook of Regulatory Impact Assessment

Edited by Claire A. Dunlop and Claudio M. Radaelli

This comparative Handbook provides a pioneering and comprehensive account of regulatory impact assessment – the main instrument used by governments and regulators to appraise the likely effects of their policy proposals. Renowned international scholars and practitioners describe the substance of impact assessment, situating it in its proper theoretical traditions and scrutinizing its usage across countries, policy sectors, and policy instruments. The Handbook of Regulatory Impact Assessment will undoubtedly be of great value to practitioners and also scholars with its wealth of detail and lessons to be learned.
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Chapter 29: Implementing regulatory impact assessment in the real world: practitioner stories from the field

John Howell


It is 20 years since the author first became involved, as a participant observer, in impact assessment (IA) and the development of associated administrative procedures and organizational arrangements. While other contributions to this volume provide a wealth of information on these issues from experts whose respective specialist backgrounds and orientations best qualify them to describe and comment on such matters, by way of contrast to these more academic and technical contributions, the purpose of this chapter is to offer a practitioner’s view of some of the issues and lessons learned in IA, based on projects completed over a number of years apart and including ex post review of IA processes. These points are, in consultancy-speak, the summary ‘take-aways’ that practioners have absorbed into practice illustrative of realities likely to be encountered ‘at the coal face’. Here conditions may not be, indeed rarely are, entirely as expected and the more one looks, the more one tends to find. The author also offers some views on one of the most important issues of all: what is the place for independent experts – ‘hired guns’ in the estimation of some critical observers of regulatory reforms – in a supposedly objective process such as IA?

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