The Treasury

Global Navigation

Personal tools

You are here: Home > Regulation > Regulatory Impact Statements


Regulatory Impact Statements

Page updated 21 Sep 2015

This page explains and provides guidance on the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) - the document that summarises Regulatory Impact Analysis.

The sub page Independent Quality Assurance of RISs covers the quality assurance criteria and the quality of RISs over the past few years.

Cabinet requires a RIS to be produced for any policy proposal that:

  • considers options that involve creating, amending or repealing legislation (either primary legislation or disallowable instruments for the purposes of the Legislation Act 2012); and
  • is expected to result in a Cabinet paper.

The RIS is a government agency document, as distinct from a Cabinet paper which is a Ministers document. The RIS summarises the agency's best advice to their Minister and to Cabinet. A RIS on a policy proposal should contain:

  • agency disclosure statement;
  • a problem definition;
  • objectives;
  • identification and analysis of the full range of practical options;
  • information on implementation arrangements; and
  • how the impact of the proposal will be monitored.

See The RIA Framework and what information a RIS contains for a visual representation.

The purpose of the RIS is to:

  • provide the basis for consultation with stakeholders, and with other government agencies;
  • provide the basis for engagement with Ministers and therefore help to inform and influence the policy discussion and Ministers' decisions;
  • inform Cabinet about the range of feasible options and the benefits, costs and risks of the preferred option(s); and
  • enhance transparency and accountability for decision making through public disclosure once decisions are taken.

Some policy proposals may not require a RIS if they meet one of the exemptions. It is important that agencies check with their relevant policy contacts at Treasury or RIAT if an exemption may be claimed. This is often best done through a PIRA, but some discussion might also be required - particularly about the potential magnitude of impacts.


The RIA Handbook is the best source of information about RIA and the RIS. The Handbook contains extensive guidance on when the RIA requirements don’t apply and on "How to write a RIS" that will meet Cabinet's RIA requirements.

RIS Template

RIS Publication Guidance

Cabinet requires RISs to be published on the authoring department's and the Treasury’s website.  Publication needs to be done before the introduction of a Bill, the tabling of a supplementary order paper, or the gazetting of regulations.

Agencies need to send a Microsoft Word copy of the RIS to the RIAT email address: when the RIS is ready to be published on the Treasury website.

See also RISs at Publications > Information Releases > Regulatory Impact Statements

Page top