COVID-19 has transformed many of the operational settings for regulators as well as the context and market environment for our duty holders. This shift has raised questions regarding the way regulators approach their compliance tasks and whether regulatory burden shirking has occurred.
An ANZSOG/NRCoP (National Regulators Community of Practice) facilitated conversation on 20 October 2020 brought a group of senior regulators from a range of jurisdictions and sectors together to discuss Regulatory Laggards in the third and final of the NRCoP’s series of facilitated conversations.
Their surprising conclusion? Duty holder behaviour has not noticeably shifted in a negative direction.
Bad actors have stayed true to form, or worsened, but in most cases, both regulators and duty holders have legitimately been adapting and recalibrating their behaviours in response to COVID-driven circumstances.
COVID-19 has brought the benefits of regulators learning from each other into sharp focus and, as facilitator Adam Beaumont explained to the group, the initiative responds to long-standing requests by NRCoP participants for the opportunity for deeper engagement with their regulatory peers on common challenges and innovations.
The first two facilitated conversations focused on Windows of opportunity in a crisis and Compliance in a crisis. Regulatory laggards canvassed three key questions in small groups:
Several broader issues emerged over the course of discussion, which are outlined below. In many cases these reflected common themes in the earlier conversations, particularly in relation to the challenges of managing dispersed regulatory workforces, the enforced shift to a more digital and dispersed operating model and expanded collaboration and information-sharing with regulatory peers, partners and duty holders.
Regulators are thinking differently about preventing non-compliance, promoting compliance and engaging with duty holders and their representative bodies. Findings included:
Regulators are improving their capacity to detect opportunistic non-compliers through a variety of means
The risk profile of duty holders needs to be under constant review and re-alignment
Regulators have been adapting their risk-based targeting models to identify new or known regulatory laggards
Participants rated the workshop and this report at an excellent 4.7 out of a possible 5.0 on the question of its value in exploring the topic and capturing key insights for the broader NRCoP. Qualitative comments included:
Great workshop and useful to get the diverse and current perspectives on the state of play – well done!
Very well run and facilitated and a lot of value hearing from others’ experiences. Very keen to be involved again if the opportunity arises.