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About the National Regulators Community of Practice

What's the NRCoP

The National Regulators Community of Practice (NRCoP) is an active network of public sector regulators from all three levels of government and from every regulatory sector, professional background, role and level of seniority, who are keen to learn from and with each other.

Its objectives are to support participants and agencies to become more professional and capable regulators and to promote the public value and importance of regulation as a key task of government and thereby, to deliver better citizen outcomes.

The NRCoP also welcomes regulatory policymakers and others with a scholarly or professional interest in regulation but its primary focus is on inspiring, connecting and building the professionalism of practising regulators.

As of 1 May 2020, the NRCoP is connecting with almost 4000 regulators and other interested people through face to face and online learning events, an annual forum, a LinkedIn group, regular newsletters including a resource collection on the Analysis and Policy Observatory (APO), with active chapters to date in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, ACT, South Australia and Western Australia.

History of NRCoP

The community of practice began as an informal network of Victorian regulators inspired by Harvard Professor Malcolm Sparrow’s ANZSOG workshops. A similar network drawing on Queensland Government regulators was also meeting in Brisbane.

Since 2018 and buoyed by the strong interest from around Australia, the community of practice has gone national under ANZSOG’s auspice, with active chapters to date in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.

Each chapter has its own committee in addition to at least two representatives on the national steering group, with the Victorian members of the latter also taking on the role of the chapter committee.

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About us

Who we are

The National Regulators Community of Practice (NRCoP) is an active network of public sector regulators from all levels of government in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand and from every regulatory sector, professional background, role and level of seniority, who are keen to learn from and with each other.

Its objectives are to support participants to become more professional and capable regulators and to promote the public value and importance of regulation as a key function of government and thereby, to deliver better citizen outcomes.

The NRCoP also welcomes regulatory policy makers and others with a scholarly or professional interest in regulation but its primary focus is on inspiring, connecting and building the professionalism of practising regulators.

But who we are not

The NRCoP is a non-partisan community of practitioners which straddles two countries and all three levels of Australian government in support of the regulatory craft. As a consequence, the NRCoP cannot become a platform for dissemination and promotion of, or engagement with, the regulatory policy settings of individual governments. The NRCoP would lose its focus, credibility and support if it were seen by its practitioner subscribers to be captive to, or the mouthpiece of, a particular government’s approach.

The NRCoP is also not able to represent or speak for regulators in the design or implementation of regulatory policy settings. Governance committees (see below) are chosen for their individual knowledge, broad experience and enthusiasm to advance high quality regulation. The committees are not constituted to act as a representative body and have no mandate to do so.

The NRCoP as a corporate membership body

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on the previous business model of the NRCoP, from July 2020 the NRCoP pivoted to a corporate membership model of funding. As of February 2021, 50 departments and regulatory agencies had accepted the invitation to become corporate members, making contributions of $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 (plus GST) depending on the number of their staff previously benefiting from NRCoP activities.

Although this change in the business model of the NRCoP was not planned, it has had a number of favourable consequences. These include increasing departments’ and regulatory agencies’ sense of ownership and engagement, redressing the historical dominance of Victoria, better matching the resources of the NRCoP to the growing appetite amongst regulators for its deliveries, and reducing its vulnerability to a single source of income (the annual paying forum in Melbourne).

Consequently it has been agreed between the NRCoP and ANZSOG that the corporate membership model will remain in place for as long as sufficient departments and regulatory agencies are willing to fund it.

The NRCoP is auspiced by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). ANZSOG is responsible for:

  • Providing access to its international and trans Tasman network of leading regulatory scholars, public intellectuals and senior practitioners.
  • Bringing its professional expertise in specifying, curating, promoting, delivering and evaluating face to face and online learning events to NRCoP events.
  • Conducting an annual survey of NRCoP participants in order to gauge the contemporary and high profile issues of importance to practising regulators
  • Evaluating and reporting on the activities, achievements and impact of the NRCoP.
  • Building and maintaining a knowledge base for practising regulators, including resources from previous events, an engaging website and through the NRCoP Regulation Policy and Practice collection on APO, access to reports of interest and relevance to Australasian regulators.
  • Building and maintaining a confidential, up to date data base of NRCoP participants.
  • Where feasible in a post-pandemic environment, utilising ANZSOG’s curatorial, pedagogic, logistical and communications expertise to design and support an annual paying forum(s).
  • Ensuring the governance of the NRCoP operates in accordance with these terms of reference and procedures.
  • Providing the secretariat to the NRCoP Steering Group and any sub committees and virtually attending chapter committee meetings in order to provide direct liaison between chapters and the NRCoP.

The NRCoP is governed by a Steering Group.

The role of the Steering Group is to:

  • Bring members’ regulatory expertise and enthusiasm to the task of turning the vision of the NRCoP into concrete activities which advance regulatory professionalism and inspire, connect and motivate practising regulators.
  • Individually and collectively act as ambassadors for the NRCoP, encouraging their regulatory colleagues to engage with NRCoP national activities and any offered face-to-face in their jurisdiction.
  • Actively engage with corporate member organisations on ANZSOG and the NRCoP’s behalf to ensure they are gaining full benefit from their NRCoP membership and with regulatory agencies outside the NRCoP to encourage their membership.
  • Advise on a program of free online and face to face learning events for regulators which are engaging and responsive to the priority issues raised by participants in the annual survey.
  • Support ANZSOG in designing a thought provoking, timely and effective program for any annual forums.
  • Attend, facilitate and/or present at events themselves as appropriate.
  • Advise on membership of the NRCoP’s chapter committees and from time to time on new members of the Steering Group, in consultation with ANZSOG and where appropriate with the relevant chapter.
  • Attend Steering Group meetings (5-6 per annum) by teleconference and respond to out of session issues raised through email by ANZSOG and other steering group members.
  • Act as intermediary between ANZSOG and the NRCoP’s corporate members on matters of accountability, including collective half year and annual reporting back to the membership on deliverables and achievements.
  • Monitor and advise on the expenditure of the NRCoP’s funding envelope in accordance with a 12-18 month forward plan developed and agreed with ANZSOG’s Dean.
  • Contribute to the sustainability of the NRCoP by collaborating with ANZSOG on the selection, direction and support to the ANZSOG staff dedicated to its work.

The Steering Group is led by a Chair, appointed by ANZSOG. The role of the Chair is to:

  • Convene and chair the meetings of the Steering Group.
  • Act as the face of, and principal source of authority for, the NRCoP in all external dealings.
  • Work closely with ANZSOG in the exercise of ANZSOG’s responsibilities on behalf of the NRCoP.
  • Lead the process of appointments to the Steering Group and chapter committees and the appointment or removal of chapter convenors, consistent with the attached terms of reference and desiderata for Steering Group and committee membership.
  • Provide an authoritative source of advice on NRCoP priorities, current developments in regulatory practice around Australia and the NRCoP’s governance and operating procedures.

The work of the Steering Group is supported by chapter committees which are part of the unified national governance structure of the NRCoP.

The person exercising leadership on behalf of the chapter shall be known as the ‘convenor’, to reduce any confusion with the Chair of the NRCoP.

The role of chapter committees is to:

  • Provide at least three representatives to the NRCoP Steering Group, the chapter convenor and two others.
  • Utilise their networks to locate and profile innovative regulatory practices, programs and experiences from which other regulators across Australia can learn; and bring these to the attention of the Steering Group and ANZSOG.
  • Help build enthusiasm, engagement and momentum for the NRCoP through their agencies and networks, and lead by example in attending and promoting NRCoP learning events.
  • If they so wish, identify and implement opportunities for small, informal chapter-specific activities which do not duplicate the NRCoP or lead to confusion on the part of participants. Possible examples might include offering a safe space for practising regulators to test out work in progress to a small, constructive audience of their peers or to share confidential challenges.
  • Attend committee meetings (3-4 per annum) in person or by teleconference and respond to out of session issues raised through email.

The responsibilities of the convenor are to:

  • Report regularly to the Steering Group on chapter activities and issues emerging from local regulators of interest to others across the network.
  • Ensure prompt, comprehensive two way communication between the chapter committee, ANZSOG and the Steering Group.
  • Convene and preside over 3-4 committee meetings per annum.
  • Work closely with ANZSOG and the NRCoP Steering Group in relation to appointments to the committee consequent upon vacancies.
  • Lead or co-ordinate development and delivery of any chapter-specific activities.

  • The Chair of the NRCoP Steering Group and ANZSOG have sole authority to enter into agreements or relationships on behalf of the NRCoP, or commit ANZSOG and/or the NRCoP to particular actions, or indicate endorsement of any proposal, policy or recommendation.
  • The NRCoP Steering Group recommends appointments to vacancies on the Steering Group in consultation with ANZSOG, and to chapter committees, in consultation with both ANZSOG and the chapter.
  • Appointment to the Steering Group and chapter committees is by formal letter signed on behalf of the NRCoP by ANZSOG It is ANZSOG’s responsibility to ensure an up to date list of Steering Group, chapter convenors and chapter committee members is placed on the NRCoP webpage alongside these terms of reference.
  • The chair of the NRCoP has sole authority to appoint and remove convenors of chapter committees.
  • ANZSOG has sole authority to appoint and remove the Chair of the NRCoP Steering Group.

The Steering Group comprises the Chair, an academic advisor, a pracademic advisor, the ANZSOG staff supporting the NRCoP and at least three representatives from each of the chapter committees, including the convenor of each chapter. The committee may co-opt additional members as appropriate and desirable.

There is no fixed membership size for either the Steering Committee or chapter committees and no quorum is required for meetings. However, it is desirable that each committee have at least 12-15 members to ensure appropriate diversity, to facilitate adequate attendance at meetings and to cover vacancies.

Membership of the Steering Group or chapter committees is entirely voluntary and no sitting fees or out of pocket reimbursements are payable. The exception is where ANZSOG requests a Steering Group member to represent it and the NRCoP at any out of state face-to-face event, in which case all reasonable travel expenses will be covered.

Membership of the Steering Group and chapter committees should reflect the diversity of regulatory experience, sector and role as well as gender and other markers of demographic diversity

The Steering Group and each chapter committee should desirably include members from Commonwealth, State and local government regulators.

The term of office of all persons involved in NRCoP governance is 2 years in the first instance. The term of office may be extended by mutual consent between the individual and the NRCoP Steering Group or in the case of the Chair, between the individual and ANZSOG.

Chapters

Register for the New SA Chapter

The South Australian Chapter will be launching in March 2022. Register now to join and benefit from the new South Australian Chapter and continue this important work with Martyn Campbell, Work Health & Safety Regulator for South Australia.

Register now

Australian National Carillon, Canberra

Register for the New ACT Chapter

The Australian Capital Territory Chapter will be launching in May 2022. Register now to join and benefit from the new Australian Capital Territory Chapter and continue this important work with Derise Cubin, Executive Branch Manager Licensing and Registrations, Access Canberra

Register now

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Why we matter

The objectives of NRCoP are twofold:

  • We support participants to become more professional and capable regulators; and
  • We promote the public value and importance of regulation as a key function of government and thereby, to deliver better citizen outcomes.

The NRCoP supports practising regulators across Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand to share and better manage their operational and implementation challenges, based on what they all have in common.

Our learning focus is first, on connecting around the successes and failures, experiences and challenges which affect regulators in their daily work and secondly, on inspiring practising regulators about their public value.

In its emotional dimension, the NRCoP works to give heart to regulators who find themselves constantly in the crosshairs of some or all of government, media, the community and duty holders.

Consistent with these objectives, the NRCoP cannot be a platform for dissemination and promotion of, or engagement with, the policy settings of individual governments. Many governments have Better Regulation teams and strategies which already do this important work.

The NRCoP also does not represent or speak for regulators in the design or implementation of regulatory policy settings.

What we offer

To inspire and connect regulators, the community of practice offers practicing regulators the opportunity to share successes and failures, experiences and challenges in their daily work and to work collectively to advance the regulatory craft.

Read the NRCoP annual report to corporate members – July 2020-June 2021

(accessible version)

Events

In non-pandemic times, the NRCoP offers free and open access to thought-provoking, inspiring learning events in each chapter, providing opportunities for regulators from all three levels of government and the full spectrum of regulatory agencies to learn with and from each other.

While drawing on the collective wisdom and experience of its committees and ANZSOG’s network of local and international scholars, the main source of topics for learning events are regulators themselves. These are identified through an annual participant survey.

Browse your top issues of interest for future events, drawn from the 2019 participant survey.

As a result of COVID-19 and the likelihood of ongoing restrictions on travel and assembly, we are offering a regular program of webinars. See upcoming events or watch past events on our Regulators resource page.

Annual forum

The highlight of the NRCoP program is the annual forum. Held in Melbourne since 2014 on a topic of critical importance to all regulators, the forum is anchored by a leading international speaker. The program overall is designed to support regulators to showcase innovations, expand their horizons about what is being achieved by others and help lift thinking out of domain and jurisdictional silos.

It provides a unique opportunity for regulators to share their experiences and lessons learned in interactive and engaging formats and in a non-commercial national and trans-Tasman context.

Read about the 2019 forum, The Intelligent Regulator, or watch the 2019 keynote address presented by Bill Eggers.

Networking

One of the key objectives of the NRCoP is to create and promote opportunities for regulators to network with each other.

The large free learning events held regularly in each chapter are a key means for this to occur, with time set aside before formal proceedings begin for this purpose.

During COVID-19 restrictions on assembly, work is underway on a program of ‘facilitated conversations’. These will allow smaller groups of regulators from different jurisdictions and sectors to engage more deeply with shared issues and challenges, in a safe and supportive environment.

Newsletter

On behalf of the NRCoP, ANZSOG produces a monthly newsletter featuring the latest regulatory news, media, event summaries and information on upcoming NRCoP events.

Joining NCRoP automatically puts you on our mailing list.

The regulation policy and practice collection on APO (Analysis and Policy Observatory)

From 12 May the NRCoP is launching a new regulation policy and practice collection on APO, accompanied by a monthly newsletter delivered directly to NRCoP members’ inboxes.

The regulation collection brings together a range of non-academic resources from national, local and state/territory Australasian governments, regulatory agencies and external institutions conducting monitoring, inquiries and reviews, as well as form international bodies such as the OECD, the World Bank and more. It is designed to assist practising regulators across Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand to understand the context in which they operate, provide timely, curated access to immediately relevant resources and support learning from other regulators’ successes, failures, challenges and innovations.

The monthly newsletter will be headed by a plain English explainer on an important regulatory topic and include summaries of recent releases, a look back at important previous resources and links to the NRCoP’s upcoming activities.

Connect to the APO/NRCoP collection here.

Tell us your issues and challenges

The NRCoP provides an opportunity for regulators to connect with their fellows in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Give a shout out about a success, seek help with a challenge or recommend some useful research.

Contact us at regulators@anzsog.edu.au

In early 2022, 189 individual NRCoP members gave generously of their time and insights to help us plan our future offerings. Thank you to everyone who responded. Here are the most important things we learned about our participants and your learning needs and preferences.

Survey Highlights

  • 80% of respondents found our webinars to be ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ useful
  • 67% of respondents have ‘applied insights’ gained from the NRCoP resources to their work as regulators
  • 45% of respondents recommended specific topics to be covered in upcoming webinars
  • 61% of respondents reported that participating in the NRCoP has been ‘extremely valuable’ or ‘definitely valuable’ in developing capability and professionalism as a regulator (a further 29% stated this was ‘somewhat valuable’)
  • 80% of respondents said they would recommend joining the NRCoP to their colleagues
  • The 3 most popular webinar topics proposed for 2022 were:
  1. Regulators toolkit: “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” why we don’t need to reinvent the wheel
  2. Best Practice, Better Practice: Striving for improvement
  3. Near misses: creating a culture of owning mistakes and embedding continuous regulatory improvement

Read the report of the 2021 survey

Review

These terms of reference and operating procedures apply from 1/1/2020-31/12/2021.

They will be reviewed for relevance and effectiveness prior to expiry, in consultation with the Chair and NRCoP Steering Committee.