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Guide to Cabinet's Impact Analysis Requirements

11. Guidance for Quality Assurance assessors

This section contains advice on providing independent Quality Assurance of Regulatory Impact Assessments. Much of the advice also applies to reviewing other forms of policy documentation, such as discussion documents.

11.1.  Why independent Quality Assurance is done

Cabinet requires that independent Quality Assurance is undertaken on all Regulatory Impact Assessments.

The purpose of independent Quality Assurance is to advise Cabinet on whether it is making decisions on the basis of the best possible advice. It does this by requiring that an appropriate person (someone who is not responsible for producing the Regulatory Impact Assessment) has considered whether the analysis and information summarised in the Regulatory Impact Assessment are of a sufficient standard to properly inform the decisions being taken. This independent assessment is summarised in a formal Quality Assurance statement that is included in the Cabinet paper accompanying the Regulatory Impact Assessment.

11.2.  Who should undertake independent Quality Assurance

The Regulatory Quality Team will determine whether the authoring agency or Treasury must arrange independent Quality Assurance of the Regulatory Impact Assessment.

If Quality Assurance is provided by the agency, it must be done by a person or group not directly involved with the preparation of the Regulatory Impact Assessment and nominated by the agency's Chief Executive. This means:

  • the Quality Assurance assessor/s should have suitable capability - including a thorough understanding of Cabinet's Impact Analysis Requirements, and sufficient experience and expertise in policy analysis
  • internal assessors should be sufficiently senior as to have sign-out authority on behalf of the agency
  • a certain level of independence is required.[3]

Many agencies have standing Quality Assurance panels from which individuals may be assigned to take on responsibility for specific cases. Some do not have such capability themselves but may have an arrangement with a larger agency for help in such cases.

If your agency does not have such capability, you can contact the Regulatory Quality Team (copied to your Treasury policy team) for assistance with individual cases. However, if your agency is likely to produce more than a handful of Regulatory Impact Assessments per year you should consider a more permanent arrangement. The Regulatory Quality Team can help arrange this with you.

11.3.  Support for Effective Quality Assurance arrangements

Senior management buy-in and support is essential to the credibility and effectiveness of a robust Quality Assurance process.

A high-level of awareness throughout the agency about Cabinet's Impact Analysis Requirements and the Quality Assurance process is important in ensuring that all Regulatory Impact Assessments obtain the required Quality Assurance and are assessed to a consistent and robust standard.

Widespread understanding of the role of Quality Assurance assessors and the Quality Assurance process is also needed. The Quality Assurance process should be documented and communicated across the agency.

Having the Impact Analysis framework embedded early as part of the generic policy development process will help lift the quality of analysis more generally and enable the requirements to be met.

Note

  • [3]The person providing the Quality Assurance should not be a member of the same team that has prepared the Regulatory Impact Assessment. In smaller agencies where this is not possible, the Quality Assurance may need to be outsourced in order to ensure independence (see Table 1 for options).
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