Right-touch regulation describes the approach we adopt in the work we do. It is the approach that we encourage the health professional regulators to work towards. It frames the contributions we make to wider debates about the quality and safety of healthcare.
Right-touch regulation means always asking what risk we are trying to regulate, being proportionate and targeted in regulating that risk or finding ways other than regulation to promote good practice and high quality healthcare. It is the minimum regulatory force required to achieve the desired result.
The concept has developed through our oversight role of the health professional regulators. It builds upon the principles of good regulation, identified by the Better Regulation Executive: proportionate, consistent, targeted, transparent, accountable. To these we added a sixth principle of agility. Agility in regulation means looking forward to anticipate change rather than looking back to prevent the last crisis from happening again.
In practice, we have identified the following eight elements that sit at the heart of right-touch regulation:
- Identify the problem before the solution
- Quantify the risks
- Get as close to the problem as possible
- Focus on the outcome
- Use regulation only when necessary
- Keep it simple
- Check for unintended consequences
- Review and respond to change.
In our view, the benefit of this approach is ensuring that regulation has its most efficient impact on the problem being tackled. It also enables all parts of the system to play their full part in providing a more appropriate response to a problem. In healthcare, this includes the contribution of employers, educators, professionals and patients. The consequences of this approach may be less regulation or may be more regulation, but will certainly mean better regulation.
Further information on Right-touch regulation may be found here