The formal approach of departments to the assessment of the regulatory impact (RIA) of regulations casts doubt on the success of the control and supervisory reform and the work of evidence-based government regulation. It follows from the report of the Center for Advanced Management Decisions (CPMD) that agencies do not bother themselves with high-quality preparation of reports on RIA, the procedure for public discussions is effective, but poorly spread, and the success of projects largely depends on the administrative weight of their developers.
In a recent report “The quality of regulatory impact assessment in Russia: what the continuous analysis of textual data shows”, experts from the CPDD (the center is engaged in research on public administration issues) stated the ineffectiveness of the RIA procedure in Russia. After the adoption of the law on mandatory requirements within the framework of the control and supervisory reform, the importance of RIA has increased – the procedure has become an instrument of not only regulatory, but also evidence-based policy: not only the possible consequences of regulation, but also its results must go through it, but so far this procedure is carried out formally.
The authors of the report studied the operation of the RIA mechanism in 2015–2021, assessing the quality of preparation of summary reports on RDS, the status of the conclusion of the Ministry of Economy and the relationship of these documents with the fate of the project – its refusal to develop it or submission to the State Duma. Thus, the level of filling out reports by departments is about 70–90%, while it is lower for projects with a higher degree of regulatory impact. The share of meaningful reports is much lower: 17% and 16% for projects with medium and high levels of regulation. If you believe the developers, then in 99% of cases the new regulation does not threaten the government and business with new costs, although in fact 70% of projects initially assume such an increase. A formal approach to filling out reports may be due to the fact that it does not affect the prospects for the introduction and adoption of projects by the State Duma, experts suggest.
The second stage of RIA – public discussion of the project – turned out to be more significant: a negative reaction increases the likelihood of refusal from its further development and receiving a negative opinion from the Ministry of Economy. However, the discussion cannot compensate for the low quality of the preparation of summary reports due to insufficient and unequal public interest in the draft laws and regulations. For getting into the State Duma, as well as for obtaining a positive opinion from the Ministry of Economy, the administrative weight of the developer department is more important. So, according to the first parameter, the initiatives of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice are in the lead, according to the second – the projects of the Ministry of Economy itself, as well as the Federal Tax Service and the FSB, while negative conclusions are more often received by the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Natural Resources, Rostekhnadzor. However, the authors do not exclude that the conclusions of the Ministry of Economy are also influenced by the area of its responsibility: the probability of a negative conclusion is directly related to the degree of the project’s regulatory impact.
The Ministry of Economy itself told Kommersant that they are working to encourage developers to improve the quality of materials for ODS – in particular, by sending summary reports for revision. The department also notes an increase in the involvement of the addressees of regulation in the discussion of draft acts at the stage of development.
The CPDD notes that the existing practice of RIA will not be able to ensure the normal operation of the system for monitoring the quality of state regulation. “If at the stage of preparation of the draft regulation no forecasts were made about incomes, expenses and criteria for the success of the projected regulation were not formulated, then it will be impossible to assess the effectiveness,” the experts point out. At the same time, as Olga Shepeleva, the head of the Digital Law department of the CPDD, explained to Kommersant, a quantitative study allows us to see that there are problems with ODS, but does not answer the question about their sources. “It is necessary to further study the practice of preparing new NLA in order to understand what resources are lacking, what factors affect the implementation of the requirements for ODS. Without this, you can make mistakes in decisions, ”she adds.