Regulation and Risk in the New Scotland

University of Glasgow
September 2001

CARR's Outreach programme was launched in September 2001 with Tony Prosser's Glasgow Conference on 'Regulation and Risk in the New Scotland.' Around thirty attendees from universities, pressure groups and government explored a series of issues relating to risk management and regulation within devolved government. Baldwin and Power started proceedings with an outline of CARR's Outreach policy and the CARR research programme.

The Water Industry Commissioner for Scotland, Alan Sutherland, looked at the future of his regulatory sector and focused on its potential for efficiency gains. Trisha McAuley, Head of Corporate Resources, Scottish Consumer Council spoke about the consumer role in Scotland, arguing the case for placing a duty on regulators to justify not following the advice of their consumer bodies.

The search for better regulation in Scotland was the theme of Alisdair Meldrum, Head of Business Environment and Consumer Affairs, Scottish Executive Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Department. His talk concentrated on the work of the Improving Regulation in Scotland (IRIS) Unit. Kevin Taylor of Shepherd and Wedderburn Solicitors, gave a presentation on Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) and pointed out that the ultimate regulating force within PFI was the need to convince banks of viability.

Moving to constitutional issues and regulation within a devolved Scotland, Professor Alan Page of the University of Dundee focused on the tendency of regulatory devolution to drive policy-making deep into the layers of government. The final talk of the day was given by Professor Joyce Tait of SUPRA - the Scottish Universities Policy Research and Advice Network, University of Edinburgh - who warned that precautionary approaches to regulation opened the gates to fundamental, ideological positions which were difficult to deal with through processes of negotiation.