Origins, Challenges and Evolutions in Regulatory Inspections
Chapter 5: Conclusion
This book is an attempt to try and bridge the gap between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’, to bring together perspectives issued from decades of research on enforcement methods, compliance drivers and risk regulation – with knowledge, experience and data coming from practitioners of regulation and regulatory reform. It was designed as an investigation into whether risk-based inspections, and more broadly what one could call ‘smarter’ approaches to inspections and enforcement, appeared to live up to their promises – a ‘win-win’ result of effectiveness, efficiency and economic results. It was also an opportunity to examine inspections as a specific and distinct object, to present some of the main variations in inspections practices, and to define more precisely what risk-based, ‘smarter’ inspections consisted of – and what exactly was to be understood under the word ‘risk’. It also incidentally looked at the issue of trust (between market actors, in the regulatory system), and the extent to which different inspection methods may influence the trust level. Finally, concluding this investigation required outcomes to be considered – how they are defined and measured, how differently formulated goals may influence actions and results, and what measurement challenges exist in order to assess the impact of inspection practices. It appears clear, considering both their history and their effects (as evidenced e.g. by the comparison in OSH outcomes between European countries with similar regulations), that inspections are a distinct object with their own range of effects, distinct from that of the regulations they aim at implementing.
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