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Previous conferences and workshops

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  • Wither Inspection? The Changing Face of Regulatory Enforcement
    25 June 2015
    This workshop will bring together an international group of academics and representatives from UK regulatory agencies to discuss transformations in enforcement. A variety of trends observable across countries and regulatory areas will be examined from empirical and theoretical perspectives.
  • Regulatory Agencies under Challenge
    11 June 2015
    This workshop will bring together international practitioner and academic perspectives on the future of the regulatory agency model. The workshop will feature on a number of cross-cutting challenges, namely questions of how to establish regulatory agencies in transition contexts, how understandings regarding regulatory independence may have changed over time, how regulatory agencies handle demands regarding their expertise, and how regulatory agencies negotiate jurisdictional and other boundaries.
  • Regulation of Standards in Public Life – A Roundtable
    28 May 2015
    This Roundtable will bring together international academic and practitioner reflections on the challenges of regulating standards in public life.
  • Regulating Higher Education Conference
    24 March 2015
    The regulation of higher education is facing considerable challenges, and this event is to consider the contemporary context in the UK in particular. This one-day workshop will bring together contributions from the worlds of practice and research.


  • "The British Regulation Model: Beyond Competition and Incentive Regulation?"
    31 March 2014
    The one-day conference considered the impact of the Littlechild Report on thinking about the regulation of telecommunications, electricity, water and other utility industries.
  • ‘Riskwork’
    8-9 May 2014
  • New Perspectives on Accountability
    30 May 2014
    This workshop will explore new theoretical, methodological and empirical perspectives on the study of accountability in the field of risk and regulation.
  • Civil Service Capacity: Adapting to an Uncertain Future 
    A Roundtable Discussion

    10 June 2014
    This roundtable will consider the notion of ‘administrative capacity’ - what kind of administrative capacities are required to foster innovation in governance, and how can such administrative capacities be facilitated and sustained?
  • Existential Risks - A Challenge to Risk Regulation?
    27 June 2014
    This workshop will consider the limitations that tools of risk assessment and risk management face when it comes to dealing with existential risks, i.e. those risks whose realisation threaten the survival of systems at large, if not of civilisation as we know it.


Working Across Boundaries: Analyzing Risk & Regulation

ESRC Centre for Risk & Regulation

One-day conference

Date: 25 June 2010
: Whitehall, London

The ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) is holding a one-day conference at Whitehall on 25 June 2010. This event will mark the end of the ESRC Centre Grant to CARR. The aim of the conference is to mark CARR's achievements as an ESRC Centre and to thank all of our sponsors.

CARR's core intellectual work focuses on a multidisciplinary and comparative research programme on the organizational and institutional aspects of risk management and regulation. Over the past decade the area has become increasingly prominent with the growth of risk based approaches and dramatic risk events which have challenged public and private sector organizations across the globe.

CARR research has asked: How can we explain variety in the understanding and implementation of risk-based approaches to regulation? In what sense are regulatory bodies simply organizations like any others concerned with legitimacy and blame-avoidance? How is regulatory and risk management practice in many different fields becoming standardized? What are the side effects on performance as organizations and individuals react to efforts to regulate them? How do countries borrow regulatory practice and institutional designs from each other and from perceived practice leaders? These are all questions which span the public, private and voluntary sectors and address the way risk is encountered, conceptualized, processed and regulated by a variety of bodies.

Engaging practitioners in our work has been central, as has capacity building and outreaching to other national and international research centres. We are therefore delighted that leading commentators from academia and practice will contribute to panels and debate. We also have a distinguished audience spanning the wide range of public and private sector audiences CARR engages with, and leading academics from the UK and abroad.

Among the confirmed programme speakers are:

Dr Hugo Banziger, Chief Risk Officer, Deutsche Bank
Professor Arjen Boin, Louisiana State University
Professor John Braithwaite, Australian Research Council Federation Fellow and founder of RegNet (the Regulatory Institutions Network)
Sir Bill Callaghan, Chair of the Legal Services Commission and former Chair of the Health and Safety Commission
Jason R. El Koubi, Director of State Economic Competitiveness, Louisiana Economic Development
Professor George Gaskell, LSE Pro-Director
Professor Lord Anthony Giddens, former LSE Director and sponsor of CARR
Dr Alan Gillespie, Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council
Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair of the Civil Aviation Authority, former Chair of the Food Standards Authority and National Consumer Council
Will Hutton, Executive Vice-Chair of The Work Foundation and former Editor-in-Chief of The Observer
Jeremy Lonsdale, Director General, Value for Money Audit at the National Audit Office
Professor Nick Pidgeon, School of Psychology, Cardiff University


Close Calls: Organizations, Near-Misses and Alarms

Can we improve our capacity to foresee crises and disasters? Can corporations and states get smarter at reading and acting on warning signs? What are the dangers of reacting to every 'weak signal' and whistleblower? This conference explores how organizations of all kinds, particularly regulatory bodies and states, define and deal with errors, near misses and close calls as part of their management and regulation of risk.

Near miss analysis is normally associated with high reliability organizations, specifically safety management in the nuclear, chemical and airline industries. In theory, tolerances are specified and designed into technological infrastructures, and investigations are required when these tolerances are breached. But what is the potential reach and applicability of this kind of analysis beyond these specific contexts? For example: how do financial institutions and their regulators develop early warning capacities? What would constitute a 'near miss' for a food retailer or an energy company? Do organizational and system-wide management information systems trigger remedial actions at the right time?

These questions are of fundamental importance to 2009's bruised risk management agendas in both public and private organizations.  They are especially salient for regulatory bodies seeking to develop 'early warning' intelligence and foresight capacity at the inter-organizational and systemic level. From 'signals passed at speed' in the case of railways, to 'clinical error' in medicine and 'internal control weaknesses' in financial institutions, this conference will address a wide range of 'near miss' phenomena and practices in different fields with a view to illuminating this most challenging area for intelligent action.

The programme ranges across a variety of business fields and academic disciplines. It includes a practitioner panel session entitled: 'Organizations under stress - what are the warning signs?', which will emphasize risk and early warnings in the financial sector.

Please click here to download the draft programme.

More details about the nature of the conference can be obtained directly from to Michael Power ( or John Downer ( at CARR, London School of Economics and Political Science.


CARR Graduate Colloquium 2008

The ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) will hold a one day colloquium on risk regulation at the LSE on Tuesday 23 September. This will be a one day intensive workshop for graduates working on risk regulation issues. Places will be strictly limited and all participants will give papers which will have been pre-circulated to faculty and other participants.

Applications are invited from graduates beyond their second year of graduate studies before 23rd May 2008. Applicants should provide an A4 page containing a summary of their proposed paper and an indication of the methods they have used in their research. They should also provide a one page CV. These will be used as the basis for selecting participants for the workshop.

There will be no charge for this event.

Please email your applications to




  • Risk and Regulation 2006: Student conference
    Abstracts Booklet (PDF)
    21 and 22 September 2006

    The ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) welcomes paper proposals and expressions of interest for its Fifth Annual Research Student Conference.

    CARR is an interdisciplinary group of social scientists researching the organisational, political and legal aspects of risk regulation. We are organising this Conference for students whose research focuses on a topic related to CARR's agenda.

    We welcome both expressions of interest in attending the conference and proposals for papers to be considered for presentation.

    We encourage PhD students, especially those at an advanced stage in their research or writing, to present their work in progress, including conceptual issues regarding risk and regulation, empirical findings, methodological issues, or research strategies.

    The conference is intended as a forum for intense and constructive discussion and debate between research students and is designed to help students improve their research projects.

    In addition to students' presentations, the Conference will include keynote speeches and a series of 'Master Classes', led by members of CARR.

    "A great chance to meet fellow researchers working with risk regulation issues in a variety of different fields."

    "I really enjoyed this conference and will definitely be looking for opportunities to come back in the future!"

  • Risk Regulation: BSE ... Ten Years On
    Public lecture on risk regulation and food safety
    21 March 2006

    Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, London School of Economics & Political Science
    Chair: Professor Bridget Hutter

    This event is free and open to all with no ticket required.  For further information, please contact Stephanie Harris or telephone 020 7849 4635.


    Professor Hugh Pennington (University of Aberdeen)


    Dame Deidre Hutton CBE (Chair, Food Standards Agency)


    In 1996, a possible link between BSE and vCJD was announced in the House of Commons, the biggest British E.coli O157 food poisoning outbreak occurred in central Scotland, and influenza H5N1 emerged as a lethal bird virus in geese in Guandong. In my lecture I will consider risk regulation in the light of these and subsequent events. Striking similarities make my job easier; all three pathogens are new, and while all have been difficult for us to catch, in the sense that their abundance in their natural hosts (ruminants or birds) contrasts with the number of human victims, which has been small, infections by them have had very bad consequences for those individuals. The big public impact of the pathogens has been matched by their influence on the regulatory scene. The topicality of my subject comes, of course, only in part from an anniversary timing; E.coli O157 in Wales in 2005 and the continued spread of H5N1 signifies unfinished business, which I will also consider.


    Professor Hugh Pennington is Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology at Aberdeen University. He chaired the Pennington Group enquiry into the 1996 outbreak of E.coli O157 infection in central Scotland. He is a member of the Scottish Food Advisory Committee (Food Standards Agency), BBC Rural Affairs Advisory Committee, Vice-Chair of the Broadcasting Council for Scotland, and Director of the Rowett and Moredun Research Institutes. He is also the author When Food Kills (2003) on the topic of BSE, vCJD and E.coli 0157.

    Dame Deirdre Hutton CBE is Chair of the Food Standards Agency. She has served on a number of public bodies and has considerable experience of corporate governance, risk-based regulation and consumer policy. She is Vice-Chair of the European Food Safety Authority Management Board and Deputy Chair of the Financial Services Authority. For five years, she was Chair of the National Consumer Council, having formerly chaired the Scottish Consumer Council. Prior to her appointment at the Food Standards Agency, she was a member of the Better Regulation Task Force.

  • Outbreak? Pandemic Risk and Risk Management in the 21st Century
    Public Debate hosted by CARR.
    14 March 2006

    Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, London School of Economics & Political Science
    Chair: Professor Bridget Hutter

    This event is free and open to all with no ticket required.  For further information, please contact Stephanie Harris or telephone 020 7849 4635.


    • Professor Peter Baldwin (History, UCLA; author of Contagion and the State in Europe, 1830-1930 and Disease and Democracy: The Industrialized World Faces AIDS)
    • Professor Thomas Abraham (Director of Public Health Media Project, University of Hong Kong; author of Twenty-first Century Plague: The Story of SARS)
    • Professor John Oxford (Scientific Director, Retroscreen Virology Ltd; Barts; Centre for Infectious Disease, London Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry).
    • David Frediani (Executive Director of MMC International, a unit of  Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC)).

    Bubonic Plague, Cholera, Spanish Flu, SARS, HIV, Avian Flu. Pandemics - past, present and future? The catastrophic threats presented by pandemic scenarios periodically attract the prediction that it is "...not a matter of if, but when" society will confront yet another catastrophe. There is a distinct air of inevitability to pandemic risk. Is now the time to ask some hard questions?

    The debate is to provide a public forum for open and forward-looking discussion of the pandemic risks and contingencies that modern societies and governments face.  This represents a unique setting for discussion of the contemporary significance and nature of risk management and regulatory practices.


    Peter Baldwin is professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of Disease and Democracy: the industrialized world faces AIDS (University of California Press, 2005), Contagion and the State in Europe, 1830-1930 (Cambridge, 1999), and The Politics of Social Solidarity: class bases of the European welfare state, 1875-1975 (Cambridge, 1990).

    Professor Thomas Abraham is director of Public Health Media Project, University of Hong Kong. He is a former editor of the South China Morning Post (SCMP). Prior to joining the SCMP, he spent 13 years as a foreign correspondent based in Sri Lanka, the United Nations Office in Geneva, and London for one of India's leading newspapers, The Hindu. Thomas Abraham has worked for the United Nations in Geneva and been a regular commentator on South Asian issues for BBC World Service Television. He is the author of Twenty-first Century Plague: the story of SARS (Hong Kong University Press, 2004).

    Professor John Oxford is professor of virology at St Bartholomew's and the Royal London Hospital, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, and also the scientific director of Retroscreen Virology Ltd. He has co-authored two standard texts: Influenza, the Viruses and the Disease with Sir Charles Stuart-Harris and GC Schild and most recently Human Virology, a Text for Students of Medicine, Dentistry and Microbiology published by Oxford University Press. Professor Oxford has also published 250 scientific papers. His research interest is the pathogenicity of influenza, in particular the 1918 Spanish Influenza strain. This research has been featured on Science TV programmes recently in the UK, USA, Germany and Holland.

    Mr David Frediani is executive director of MMC International, a unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC).  During his 25 years with the company, he has held numerous positions in management, client service, industry practices and business development.  MMC is a global professional services firm with annual revenues exceeding $12 billion. It is the parent company of Marsh, the world's leading risk and insurance services firm; Guy Carpenter, the world's leading risk and reinsurance specialist; Kroll, the world's leading risk consulting company; Mercer, a major global provider of human resource and specialty consulting services; and Putnam Investments, one of the largest investment management companies in the United States.


  • Taking Stock of Trust
    Hosted by: ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (LSE) and the the ESRC Social Contexts and Responses to Risk Network (SCARR)
    12 December 2005
    Trust enables people to collaborate, negotiate and trade under conditions of uncertainty. The demands placed on trust in a more complex and globalised economy, where people live more flexible and diverse lives, are growing, at a time when trust in experts, public authorities and other institutions is increasingly questioned. This one-day conference will analyse developments and discuss future directions in trust research.

    Speakers include:
    Professor Lord Layard, LSE: Trust and social progress
    Professor John Urry, University of Lancaster: Trust, travel and proximity
    Professor Richard Eiser, University of Sheffield and Dr Matthew White, University of Jena: A psychological approach to understanding how trust is built and lost
  • Risk and Regulation 2005 - Fourth Annual Research Student Conference
    15-16 September 2005
    Final Programme

  • Financial Innovation: markets, cultures and politics
    in association with the Social Studies of Finance Group (University of Edinburgh)

    Date:     16-17 June 2005
    :   LSE

    Financial innovation is a key influence on the world economy, and has important consequences for the management of risk, for societies and for political systems. Yet it remains little studied outside of economics and business studies. The purpose of this meeting was to broaden our understanding of financial innovation by bringing to bear the wider perspectives of "social studies of finance," especially work based in the sociology of science and technology and in international political economy.

    Donald MacKenzie kicked off the workshop with a paper arguing that finance theory has been an important catalyst of financial innovation (just as science is an important resource for technological innovation). Papers by Fabian Muniesa, Alex Preda, Daniel Beunza and Karin Knorr Cetina focused directly on the physical, technological, cultural and regulatory setting of financial innovation.

    Mike Power, Boris Holzer and Yuval Millo explored innovation in risk management (including its unintended consequences), while Raghu Garud and Daniel Beunza examine the role of securities analysts as "frame makers." Layna Mosley and Iain Hardie broadened the discussion by looking at the interaction of financial markets, regulation, and political systems.

    Daniel Beunza, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
    Karin Knorr Cetina, University of Chicago
    Raghu Garud, New York University
    Iain Hardie, University of Edinburgh
    Donald MacKenzie, University of Edinburgh
    Yuval Millo, University of Essex
    Layna Mosley, University of North Carolina
    Fabian Muniesa, CSI, Ecole de Mines de Paris
    Mike Power, CARR, LSE
    Alex Preda, University of Edinburgh

    Fernando Elichirigoity, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Andrea Mennicken, LSE
    Tom Skwarek, Swiss Re
    Yuval P Yonay, University of Haifa

  • The Regulation of Genetics Outside the State
    Joint Workshop with the ESRC Centre for Genomics in Society (University of Exeter)

    Date: 10- 11 March 2005
    : University of Exeter 

    How effective are non-state actors in managing the challenges and risks posed by advances in genetics? The societal impacts of increasing genetic knowledge and technologies are of increasing significance, whether it be the social and psychological consequences of genetic testing, the development of so called 'dual use' technologies that are as applicable to biowarfare as to human well-being, or the 'privatization' of genetic knowledges by bio-business. Yet in many of these cases the state has opted to take a regulatory back-seat, preferring to 'outsource' regulation to private actors in the form of civil society organizations, corporations and health care professionals and scientists.

    A workshop jointly hosted by CARR and EGENIS at Exeter University, set out to explore the possibilities and limits for governance through non-state actors in this important domain. The workshop brought together fifty academics and practitioners to discuss these issues over two days and included presentations on the failure of self-regulation for dual-use biomedical technologies by Dr. Filippa Corneliussen (LSE); the ethical, psychological and regulatory challenges of genetic testing by Dr Carlos Novas (LSE), Dr Paula Saukko (Egenis), and Stuart Hogarth (Cambridge); the factors shaping research agendas and funding in the biosciences by Dr Alf Game (BBSRC) and Dr Christophe Bonneuil (CNRS); and the disputed status of intellectual property rights over biotechnology products by Dr Jane Calvert (Egenis) and Dr Alain Pottage (LSE).

  • Governance and NGOs of the Future
    European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels
    12 January 2005

    In association with The European Policy Forum and the European Economic and Social Committee

    This meeting brought together international organisations, academics and NGOs to discuss trends in governance and their implications for NGOs of the future. It explored the principles of a code of conduct that might help NGOs adapt to the changes in governance that are predicted.



  • Global Governance and the Role of Non-State Actors
    Conference in conjunction with the Social Science Center, Berlin, Alfred Herrhausen Society for International Dialogue and CARR, LSE
    4 - 5 November 2004

    Bankside House, LSE

    Non-State Actors (NSAs) are now established as integral players in the architecture of global governance. With the globalisation of many contemporary policy issues, transcending national boundaries - from the environment to terrorism, from financial risk to local conflict - global governance is increasingly a contested process; opening up new space for political action by state and non-state actors. This makes processes of global governance both highly salient, as well as problematic. The conference examined how the regulatory capacity of non-state actors is a resource increasingly drawn upon by the state; in policy domains where it is either unwilling - or unable - to act itself.

    The event included contributions from David Held (LSE), Michael Zurn (WZB/Hertie School of Governance), and Bill Emmott (Editor-in-Chief, The Economist). The capacity of non-state actors to provide policy solutions to the problems of global governance is confronted with a new wave of demands for improved representation, transparency, and accountability. In this regard, the conference considered if the rise of the non-state actor is resulting in a legitimacy crisis for global governance - or alternatively if it offers the solution as well as the problem. For future research, this raised the problem of whether new "democratic" forms of global governance should be unilaterally imposed upon civil society.

  • Food, Risk and Regulation
    BRASS, Cardiff University, October 2004

    In collaboration with the ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability & Society (BRASS), CARR held a conference on food risks and their regulation. The event brought together academic researchers, industry representatives and other stakeholders, to discuss current issues and experiences in the governance of food. Three major themes were addressed: communication and public attitudes, governance and reform (in the UK and Europe), and new forms of management for the supply chain. Speakers included Sue Dibb, from the National Consumer Council, Christine Majewski, from the European Food Safety Agency, Anna Jung, from the European Food Information Council, as well as researchers from CARR, BRASS, City University, Exeter, Cambridge and Amsterdam.

  • Risk and Regulation Research Student Conference 2004
    CARR, LSE, September 2004

    CARR hosted its third annual international research student conference in September. The conference has rapidly become established as a major risk and regulation event for research students from across the world. This year the conference attracted 100 participants from Europe, North America, Africa, Australia and Israel, with over 50 presentations on subjects as diverse as independent regulators, GMOs, utility regulation, bird flu and money laundering.

    The two day event provided a unique opportunity for students to develop and present their own ideas, consider problems through different pairs of theoretical spectacles, to get an insiders perspective on regulation in a keynote speech from Howard Davies (LSE Director and past chairman of the Financial Services Authority) and attend sessions on getting into print and masterclasses on risk and regulation. The hugely positive feedback from the participants shows that the conference is truly helping define the boundaries of this important new research field for the next generation of scholars across the world.

    Final Programme

  • Regulatory Creep 
    London, July 2004
  • Joint one day CARR/SCORE workshop
    CARR, LSE, June 2004

    in association with the Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE)

    Colleagues from the Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE) visited CARR for a one day workshop and exchange of ideas in the summer. SCORE is very much a sister research centre to CARR with a special focus on governance issues in the public sector and on regulation and standardisation. Julia Black (CARR) opened proceedings with an account of the work of the regulatory innovation group. Göran Ahrne and Nils Brunsson (SCORE) presented a paper on meta-organisations (organisations whose members are themselves organisations) and argued that such entities have increased in size and significance for regulatory processes. Javier Lezaun (CARR) spoke on experimentalism in regulatory organisations, specifically in the context of GM foodstuffs. Finally, Ulrika Mörth (SCORE) discussed the role of so-called 'soft law' and modes of regulation in EU. The event resonated with common interests across the two groups and it was hoped that this meeting would help to strengthen links for the future.

  • The Accountability of Regulators
    London, May 2004

    European Policy Forum, London

    The House of Lords report on the accountability of regulators was examined at a CARR/EPF seminar on 11 May 2004 when Deirdre Hutton, Chairman of the National Consumer Council and of the Better Regulation Task Force group on independent regulators, and Lord Holme of Cheltenham, a member of the House of Lords Constitution Committee, discussed the new report. The Chairs of Ofcom, the Financial Services Authority, the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, the Rail Regulator and leaders of other regulatory bodies took part in the discussions.

  • Business History and Regulation 2004
    University of Southampton, March 2004

    CARR, in association with the University of Southampton's Centre for Research in Accounting, Accountability and Governance, held a workshop on 'Business History and Regulation' on 3 March 2004. This third and last of the business history interdisciplinary workshops was led by business historian Terry Gourvish; it brought together economists, political scientists, management scientists, accountants and historians to debate regulatory processes.

    Peter Casson, University of Southampton, opened the workshop with a paper on 'A Study of Institutional Change: the Finance Act 1989 and Employee Share Ownership Plans'. Examining experience in both the US and UK, Casson showed how the incentives offered by the institutional structure can lead to outcomes other than those intended by the legislators. Gerald Burke (University of Oregon), spoke on Organising Economic Diversity: Antitrust, Associations and Accounting in the United States, 1906-25. Burke was concerned with the efforts of Louis Brandeis and others to encourage 'associational antitrust' and improved methods of cost accounting in the United States in the name of 'regulated competition'. He offered some interesting data to support his contention that these interventions had a positive impact in terms of higher productivity.

    Among several provocative issues was the question: does capitalism function more responsibly with high or low information flows? Tony Arnold (University of Exeter) and Sean McCartney (University of Essex) examined 'Regulation and Strategic Policy Formulation in the British Railway Industry, 1870-14'. In an innovative contribution that provided new data on railway profits and concentration levels, they examined the impact of the regulation of Britain's private railway companies before the First World War. Key themes were the fluctuations of public policy towards mergers, and the response of the private sector towards these fluctuations.

    Finally, Forrest Capie (City University) offered a provocative interpretation of financial regulation in Britain over the last three centuries. Extensive regulation in the 18th century gave way, first to deregulation in the 19th century, and then to self-regulation in the 20th. Capie pointed out that the age of 'neo-liberalism' has seen extensive additions to the regulatory framework. He highlighted the role of financial crises in encouraging change.

  • Auditing in Action
    CARR, LSE, February 2004


    The ESRC workshop Auditing in Action, organised by Michael Power and Christopher Humphrey (University of Manchester), brought academics and practitioners together to discuss a range of issues about the audit process, particularly pertinent in the wake of the apparent failure to detect a large fraud at Parmalat. 

    The papers presented were all field studies of auditing, and two contributions dealt specifically with the business risk audit (BRA) model. Christopher Humphrey (with Rihab Khalifa (LSE) and Keith Robson (UMIST) argued that BRA was much more than a technical innovation and was part of a repositioning of the professional identity of auditors as advisers and consultants; a process which was undermined by the collapse of Enron. Robert Knechel (University of Florida) traced the history of risk-based auditing, arguing that it was born in a climate of cost pressures on auditors. 

    There was a lively panel session discussing the future of auditing, led by Jonathan Hayward (Independent Audit), Martyn Jones (Deloitte), and David York (ACCA). Auditing is an essential resource for regulatory systems and in the wake of Enron and Parmalat pressures for the reform of auditing have been great. However, the technical dimension of auditing has always been relatively immune from these pressures, changing slowly, and often regarded as a 'black box' by regulators. It was argued that this was set to change with the development of new standards by the International Federation of Accountants. Some practitioners expressed concern that new regulatory arrangements could change the incentives to audit, leading to an undersupply of good auditing; but this market failure scenario was doubted by others. 

    This discussion was followed by two detailed studies of the audit decision process in Scandinavia (Stig Westerdahl, Mid Sweden University; Peter Ohman and colleagues from Mid Sweden University, Lulea University of Technology and the University of Oslo). Finally, Jean Bedard (Laval University) presented empirical work on how audit committees construct themselves as effective and credible bodies in organisations.

  • Soft Risks, Hard Lessons: using corporate governance to manage legal, ethical and reputational uncertainties
    University of Cambridge, January 2004

    This one-day event on corporate governance and related ethical issues featured keynote addresses by Onora O'Neill, Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge and 2002 Reith Lecturer, and Charles Fombrun, formerly professor of management at the Stern School, New York and currently executive director of the Reputation Institute.

    Professor O'Neill gave a talk entitled 'Intelligent Trust and Intelligent Accountability'. She argued that the extensive use of managerial methods for accountability purposes has damaged and distracted professional cultures, and that defensiveness has come to dominate at the expense of informed judgement. Managerial conceptions of accountability have also deflected attention from the need to define the primary, substantive obligations of agents to right bearing principals. Defining accountability primarily as 'answerability', O'Neill suggested a form of more intelligent accountability grounded primarily in dialogue with right holders.

    In his talk on corporate reputation and risk, Professor Fombrun argued that it is not only our society that is obsessed with celebrity: 'the star system has also happened to our companies.' The era of deregulation and liberalisation of markets fostered enormous forces of competition between companies and products, and competition for money, talent, knowledge and attention. While this has generated significant wealth creation and business growth, the more negative consequence has been a 'winner takes all' mentality in both society and business, in which all the attention is focused on a few individuals. As a result a few companies are making huge incomes while many others are barely surviving.

    This was the reason for the series of business scandals over the last two years that have engulfed corporates such as Enron, Tyco, Adelphia and WorldCom. Fombrun went on to consider how reputation could be used to regulate corporate misbehaviour. Companies' reputations, he said, were valued far more by the markets than by accountants; therefore companies put a lot of emphasis on branding and marketing themselves in order to gain the support of investors.

    Amongst the participants were Adrian Cadbury, father of the modern corporate governance movement, and representatives from the Foundation for Independent Directors, Reuters, accountants BDO Stoy Hayward, and The Change Partnership.


  • Challenging Insurability. Flood Management and Insurance Regulation
    CARR, LSE, December 2003

    in association with Aon

    Currently, the insurance sector is under severe pressure from weather-induced risks. The safest response to such unknown risks seems to involve the state as insurer of last resort. Political involvement often takes the form of regulation: defining and clarifying the responsibilities and limitations of insurance. Many would argue that this is not enough and the state should take a more active role in the coverage against hazards. Focusing on current flood insurance it was observed that these state-industry co-operations vary across nations.

    In this conference, different combinations of private-public flood insurance regimes were discussed. Focusing on the German system which operates state-run flood management schemes and the private English flood insurance, contrasting cases indicated mechanisms, strategies and regulatory decisions on insurability. But as floods cannot be dealt within national borders alone, international and supranational actors - specifically due to the reference of climate change - also start to intervene in national flood regimes.

    This conference critically reviewed the still-fragmented work in these different areas and professional contexts on flood insurance management, contributing to a more comprehensive view on flood issues.

  • Regulation After Delegation 
    UCL, October 2003
  • Risk and Regulation: Research Student Conference
    CARR, LSE, September 2003

    The Second Annual Research Student Conference on risk and regulation, organised by the ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR), was held on 18-19 September 2003. The conference, part of CARR's outreach programme, was supported by funding from Deutsche Bank. Some 60 participants from the UK, Finland, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal and the US attended, to hear 33 presentations from students representing 15 different institutions. Dr Michael Spackman (CARR and National Economic Research Associates (NERA)) presented the keynote address on the variability of regulatory policy making in the UK.

    The substance of the conference comprised the research students' presentations of work in progress. Topics covered in the 12 sessions included financial markets, airline flight safety, environmental issues, regulation of utilities across several European countries, and issues of risk perception. Cross-cutting themes were uncovered relating to conceptual innovations such as the idea of 'regulatory regime', issues of complexity management and the role of agencies.

    Four 'research seminars' were also held this year, on economic and financial regulation, regulation and regulatory regimes, organisational aspects of risk and regulation and issues of risk management. These sessions were led by senior academic CARR staff, experts in the respective fields, and allowed the participants to discuss in greater detail issues of common interest in smaller groups.

    The students actively engaged in discussions throughout the two days, readily exchanging conceptual ideas and practical experiences in spite of their assorted disciplinary backgrounds. Whilst traditional disciplinary frameworks still play a role, they do not hinder engaged debate and a common language for the field of risk and regulation studies is starting to emerge.

    CARR will hold its Third Research Student Conference in autumn 2004. Interested students should consult the CARR website during the summer of 2004 for more details.

    Final Programme

  • Risk, Regulation and Good Governance
    Queen's University Belfast, September 2003

    Joint workshop organised by the Institute of Governance, Queen's University Belfast and CARR.

    This joint two-day workshop focused on debates concerning public and private governance, in particular on the nature of governance ethics as well as on instruments and technologies of regulating governance. The workshop brought together participants from across the UK, from both academic and practitioner backgrounds. Among the recurring themes were issues of how to set appropriate standards and what type of status they should enjoy. A further key theme was the contested nature of the appropriate means of enforcement and by what type of organisations. The first day was devoted to themes of public and private governance, ranging from debates over corporate citizenship to the nature and constitution of ethical principles in public life. The debate centred on how to establish codes that would offer sufficient flexibility for responsible activity, while being of sufficient substance in order to alter behaviour. The second day turned to technologies of regulation - such as the rise of audit within government and the informatisation of public services. In international perspective, there was no universal 'audit explosion', although audit has been increasingly used within the devolved regions of the UK. Similarly, informatisation has challenged the capacity of governments to act as 'intelligent customers'. Finally, the discussion turned to issues of standard-setting in multi-level governance settings, highlighting issues motivating governments' activity in such contexts across a variety of domains.

  • Risk Regulation, Accountability and Development
    University of Manchester, June 2003

    Joint Workshop organised by ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation, LSE; Centre for Regulation and Competition, University of Manchester, and Aston Business School.

    This conference was an attempt to bring together cross-disciplinary perspectives on risk regulation - financial, social and economic - particularly with reference to the developing world. As part of the ESRC's Social Science week, a public session was held in which panellists from within the development studies community responded to the points made in earlier sessions on Governance; Accounting; and Economic and Social Regulation

    Key insights:

    • Using examples from Australia, John Braithwaite (Australian National University) highlighted the empirical case for 'responsive regulation' or 'meta risk management' - that compliance may be easier to secure where procedures are devolved to regulatees, especially where the threat of tighter oversight can be used as a motivation for compliance; in short where the regulator has poor information but high 'leverage'.
    • John Stern (London Business School) argued that utilities regulation - here focussing on electricity supply - involves high fixed and level costs, which are regressive in relation to developing countries. The correct response may be the cultivation of economies of scale through cross-sectoral or supra-national regulation.

    • Christopher May (University of the West of England) suggested that the history of intellectual property (IP) is one of balancing public access to innovation with the private rewards necessary to allow it to flourish. By contrast, a growing tendency to see IP solely in terms of knowledge owners' rights may prevent developing countries from successfully exploiting ideas, in order to build their domestic industries up to the level of the West.
    • Trevor Hopper (University of Manchester) presented research undertaken with Shazad Uddin (Queen's University, Belfast) on Bangladesh which contradicted the World Bank's claims for privatisation. These - it was argued - rely on a 'trickledown' theory to bring social benefits. In Bangladesh, not only did firms perform badly in profitability terms, post-privatisation, but social returns, transparency and employment conditions also suffered.
    • The case of Jamaican telecommunications was highlighted in two papers, by Martin Lodge and Lindsay Stirton (CARR/LSE), and by the Jamaican Cabinet Secretary Carlton Davis. In Jamaica, where liberalisation had followed privatisation by about 10 years, time to allow regulatory commitment to bed down, had forestalled concerns about the 'predatory state' once liberalisation began.

    Key messages for policy-makers

    • While World Trade Organisation procedures may be used to benefit the interests of developed countries, they can also act as a brake against the economic power, which such countries could exploit if acting unilaterally. Developing countries therefore have much to gain from free trade enforcement, even if they do not face a 'level playing field'.
    • There is only a weak relationship between regulatory structures and corruption reduction, because for each potential positive consequence of regulation or deregulation, there is a countervailing negative. Instead of seeking to alter regulatory structures to reduce corruption, therefore, there is an argument for seeking to mitigate the effects of corruption, the social and economic costs that arise from it (Anthony Ogus, University of Manchester).
    • Since institutions and path-dependency shape behaviour, observers such as David Wield (Open University) made the point that regulation must be tailored to take account of a state's particular political and administrative legacy. While this does not preclude learning and policy transfer, it does argue against a 'one size fits all' assumption.
    • Indeed - according to Helen O'Neill (University College, Dublin) - instead of seeing developing countries as a problem to be addressed, they might also be seen as providing a rich source of novel regulatory solutions in their own right.

    Key research questions

    • What regulatory solutions can be found in the indigenous regulatory arrangements of developing nations?
    • How can governments in developing countries strike a balance between the need to take account of existing institutions and arrangements and the danger of becoming hidebound by inappropriate or inefficient political structures?
    • Under what circumstances do anti-corruption strategies work?
    • How might meta risk strategies be used in states with low leverage and low regulatory capacity?
  • Managing Risk: Unifying the Two Worlds of Strategy and Finance
    CARR, LSE, May 2003

    in association with BP

    Risk&Regulation article on this event (pdf)

  • NGOs, Democratisation and the Regulatory State
    European Policy Forum, London, April 2003

    In April and September, CARR hosted a two-stage conference with the European Policy Forum (EPF), the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Future Governance Programme of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), on the role and regulation of civil society in national and European governance. The conference began in London with participants responding to a paper by Frank Vibert, director of EPF. Vibert cautiously recognised the benefits of the growing public role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), but criticised the conventional notion that these organisations are necessarily 'schools for democracy'. He went on to outline proposals for their internal regulation and external accountability. Most respondents to Vibert's paper agreed that NGOs may not actually meet democratic criteria in their own activities. Thus NGOs become not just a regulatory force in their own right but also potential regulatory subjects. The debate turned to regulatory tools that might protect the potentially beneficial initiatives of formally independent civic groups, and that have the capacity to preserve the innovative and flexible character of the NGO sector. 

    The debate continued in Brussels where the European Commission's current implementation of new standards for the consultation of civil society organisations provided the backdrop to an exciting exchange of views on the nature and conditions of a European public sphere, and on the representation and regulation of NGOs at the European level. Contributions from a number of civic groups, including Amnesty, Solidar, and the Permanent Forum of Civil Society provided a more empirical, and somewhat optimistic, counterweight to Beate Kohle Koch's and Claudio Raedelli's theoretical work on the limitations of current European democratic systems. Kohle Koch and Raedelli's concern was with the isolation of European political spaces from a European wide political debate and the failure of European citizens to identify themselves as European political actors with the capacity and will to affect outputs. Some NGO speakers urged stronger recognition for NGOs in the proposals from the Convention now being considered by the Inter-Governmental Conference. Yet, the NGOs present spoke in broadly positive terms of the pattern of exchange between the Commission and interest groups. What was also apparent was that NGOs were now accepting the need to take on board the debate on governance and were aware that with NGO influence went NGO accountability. The question for them was the framework. 

    The meetings benefited from a regulator's perspective provided by Rosie Chapman and Nancy North of the UK Charity Commission. Both speakers pointed to the voluntary efforts of UK charities to improve transparency and accountability, but also argued the need for some international standards for NGOs, such as the international accountancy standards currently being developed for commercial entities and the public sector; as yet, there is no equivalent for the civic organisation. John Roberts outlined the relevance of the debate on the higher standards of corporate governance in the business and its application to debates about higher standards of NGO governance. 

    The September meeting closed with a contribution by David O'Sullivan, Secretary- General, General Secretariat, European Commission. Mr O'Sullivan cautioned against the dangers of funding a Brussels-based system of NGOs out of kilter with national-based civic groups, and opposed suggestions for an NGO accreditation system which he argued the Commission was unable to develop.


    Please follow the links to view the Programme and the Report for the proceedings.

  • Environmental Risk: corporate responsibility, corporate responsiveness
    University of Aberdeen, March 2003

    in collaboration with the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (CSEAR) at the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen

    CARR, in collaboration with the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (CSEAR) at the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen, organised a fascinating 2-day workshop on the new public dimensions of environmental governance. The workshop focussed in particular on the perception, assessment, management and accounting aspects of the environmental risks associated with industrial activity. Focusing on the structures for corporate environmental governance, the workshop addressed issues of environmental risk from the outside in - by examining the evolving nature of social, market and government regulations relating to environmental risk. The workshop also addressed these issues from the inside out - by examining the ways in which different businesses have accounted for environmental risk and engaged with the range of external stakeholders who have an interest in their performance. The workshop brought together a range of senior academic experts from around the UK to discuss contemporary trends and issues in environmental risk management and finished with a practitioner roundtable.

  • Business History and Risk 2003
    University of Nottingham, March 2003

    CARR, in association with the University of Nottingham Business History Institute, held a successful workshop on 'Corporate Governance' in March. The second of a series of interdisciplinary discussions, it brought together business historians, economists, accountants, management theorists and risk analysts to develop a broader and deeper understanding of a concept which has engaged the attention of policy makers, regulators and academics since the Cadbury report in the early 1990s. Michael Mayer (University of Glasgow) addressed the issue of corporate ownership, highlighting new developments in the pattern of ownership in European businesses. Mike Wright (University of Nottingham) examined new research on MBOs, focussing on the relationship between regulatory and entrepreneurial responses. Nick Tiratsoo (LSE) turned to British manufacturing since the Second World War, revealing a significant gap between the theoretical and the real in the management of such companies. Finally, Stefan Szymanski (Imperial College) spoke on the corporate governance issue in the professional football industry. Plumbing the murkier depths of the Premiership à la Tom Bower, he concluded that governance needs to be enhanced if it is to be effective in an industry where normal business rules are often suspended. The workshop concluded that meanings of 'corporate governance' can vary widely according to context. 'Corporate governance', therefore, requires precise definition if it is to be effective as an analytical tool.
  • Organisational Management of Complex Risk
    London, February 2003

    A grant from the BP Complex Risk programme allowed CARR researchers to spend part of the last two years working with organisations facing challenging risk management problems. The distinctive feature of this work has been the combined deployment of ethnographic and problem structuring methods. With the project now complete, the workshop provided an opportunity to discuss a number of developing themes with academics from social and management science backgrounds, and risk management practitioners. As the first stage of the post-project dissemination programme, the focus of the workshop was on the identification of risk handling practices within organisational settings, and the design and deployment of group-based soft modelling support for associated planning and decision-making processes. The team's provisional findings provoked lively discussion amongst the participants.


  • Watchful Eyes, Oversight Explosions and Fire Alarms? Cross-National Perspectives on Control over Government Workshop
    CARR, LSE, December 2002

    Is there are general 'audit explosion' over public services taking place worldwide? Fifteen scholars from eight countries (Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, UK, USA) met to explore how controls over government had developed over a generation in three policy sectors - prisons, universities and the higher civil service. Prisons and universities show markedly different patterns, with the higher civil service somewhere in the middle. The workshop is the third in a series and it will result in a book edited by Christopher Hood, Oliver James, Guy Peters and Colin Scott, to be published by Edward Elgar next year.
  • New Governance of Markets: Regulation by Non-Majoritarian Institutions Workshop
    CARR, LSE, December 2002

    The 1980s and 1990s saw the spread of non-majoritarian regulatory organisations at the national, European and international levels. Powers were delegated to independent national regulatory agencies, courts, self-regulatory bodies and supra-national organisations such as the EC Commission and WTO. The workshop examined how these non-majoritarian organisations have behaved and affected regulatory politics. It looked at how they have altered the distribution of power and relationships between state and private actors, and within the state, between government, independent regulatory agencies and courts. It raised issues of how non-majoritarian regulators gain accountability and legitimacy through new decision-making processes and transparency.
  • Public Management Policy Change Research Workshop
    CARR, LSE, November 2002

    In November 2002 CARR held a major workshop on the theme of Public Management Policy Change. The purpose was to examine the process by which decisions are made to change government-wide institutional rules and routines that comprise public management policies. Such policies reflect political authorities' and central agencies' approaches and instruments to regulate the core public sector as a whole. The focus of the seminar was on the change process. Public management policy change is poorly understood as a process, most prominently outside the English-speaking countries. For that reason, participants were brought together to present papers on Germany, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Thailand. The revised papers are scheduled for publication in a symposium issue of the International Public Management Journal at the end of 2003.
  • Risk and Regulation: Research Student Conference
    CARR, LSE, September 2002

    On 19/20 September, the ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) held its first Research Student Conference on the theme of risk and regulation. The conference was part of CARR's outreach programme and was supported by funding from Deutsche Bank. Scholarly interest in this emerging interdisciplinary area was evidenced by a level of international involvement exceeding the expectations of the organisers, Dr Michael Huber (Aon Senior Research Fellow, CARR) and Professor George Gaskell. Some 50 participants from across the UK, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Estonia and the US attended the conference, to hear 24 presentations from students representing 14 different institutions.

    CARR Co-Director Bridget Hutter opened the conference by mapping out the intellectual space researchers at the conference were aiming to develop. She considered the different origins of research on risk and regulation and their more recent integration. In the second lecture, Dr Henry Rothstein (ESRC Research Fellow, CARR) outlined contemporary work on risk regulation regimes, drawing together work from across the two fields of risk and regulation.

    The substance of the conference comprised the research students' presentations of work in progress. Topics covered in the six sessions included audit regulation and financial markets; airline flight safety, Y2K and the regulation of risk at the Los Alamos National Lab; regulation of IT, telecoms, electricity supply and pharmaceutical, and risks and related issues around new technologies including genetically modified foods.

    The research highlighted the complexity of the social scientific study of risk and regulation. A notable feature was the heterogeneity of disciplinary backgrounds including sociology, political science, law, psychology and socio-legal studies; of research designs including case studies, experiments and ethnographic approaches, and both qualitative and quantitative data sources including media coverage, documentary and archival sources, public opinion surveys and in-depth interviews. With these resources, the research students brought both conceptual and methodological sophistication to the study of their particular risk/regulation issue. Moreover, the group showed an enthusiasm for engaging in discussion with others working within differing disciplinary frameworks.

    The presentations from this new generation of risk and regulation researchers show that the area offers many exciting opportunities for work at the intersection between social sciences and issues of contemporary relevance in the public domain. CARR will hold a Research Student Conference annually and the quality of the work presented at the conference suggests that the field will not only expand, but will do so in safe hands.

  • Competency and the Civil Service 
    CARR, LSE, May 2002
  • Organisational Encounters with Risk
    CARR, LSE, May 2002

    In May CARR held a major workshop within programme 1, organisations and risk, with the theme of 'organisational encounters with risk'. The purpose was to address aspects of risk management in organisational settings which are not easily captured by technocratic or engineering disciplines. While these approaches work well for stable environments and routine errors events, they work less well in situations where there is radical uncertainty, where risk description, interpretation and communication are ambiguous but vital, and where actors incentives may be problematic. In these contexts, the smooth re-production of institutional facts and ways of doing things can be shattered. The discussions were inevitably punctuated by many references to September 11th and Enron as examples, although Bhopal, Challenger and Barings were also evident as important reference points.

    Papers were presented by an internationally distinguished group of speakers: Diane Vaughan (Boston College), author of The Challenger Launch Decision spoke on her latest work on air traffic control under the title 'Organisational rituals of risk and error'; Donald Mackenzie (Edinburgh) addressed the co-production of markets and pricing tools from a science and technology studies perspective in 'Models, risk and crises: the global financial system in 1998 and 2001'; Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard) analysed aspects of public processes of explanation in the face of risk, what she terms 'civic epistemology', in 'Restoring reason: good explanations for bad events'; Howard Kunreuther (Wharton School) addressed the possibility of 'tipping points' for organisational investments in risk management systems in 'Risk management in an uncertain world'; and Carol Heimer (Northwestern) examined the diverse sources of legalism in the management of medical risk in: 'Risk and Rules: the 'legalisation' of medicine in AIDS treatment and research.

    The proceedings of the workshop will be published as a monograph, with additional contributions from Brian Wynne (Lancaster) and the editors, Bridget Hutter and Mike Power.

  • Accountability, Accounting and Regulation
    Centre for Competition and Regulation, UEA, Norwich, April 2002

    CARR and the University of East Anglia's Centre for Competition and Regulation (CCR), with funding from the ESRC, held its first conference last month when around 50 delegates from universities, industry and regulators met to discuss accountability and regulation in the professions.

    "The main issue facing the professions - such as law, medicine and accounting - is that regulation in these areas is not perceived to be sufficiently independent," says conference speaker, Peter Russell (CCR). "There are now moves to introduce more independent regulatory schemes. The conference provided a platform for discussion of these issues, and a chance to consider models from other areas."

    Sir John Bourn, Comptroller and Auditor General and Head of the National Audit Office gave the keynote address on a new scheme of regulation for accountants. Dr Anne Davis of Oxford University continued with a discussion on regulation of the medical profession outlining various models of accountability.

    Delegates then turned their attention to regulation and accountability within the privatised utilities, such as water, gas and electricity, with a presentation by Dr Martin Lodge and Mr Lindsay Stirton from CARR on transparency in network regulation.

    Prof Stuart Ogden of UMIST focused in particular on accountability in the privatised water industry, while Peter Russell and Ian Dewing (CCR) moved on to look at who the auditors are accountable to, and the issue of providing different information to different audiences, such as regulators and shareholders.

    The event ended with a discussion by Prof Catherine Waddams and Dr Lynne Conrad (CCR) on accountability in regulation in which they explored changing concepts of public interest.

  • Regulatory Impact Analysis in Comparative Perspective
    CARR, LSE, March 2002

    In March CARR hosted an international workshop on regulatory impact assessment in association with the ESRC Future Governance programme (directed by CARR Associate, Professor Edward Page).

    Contributors to the workshop included Professor Claudio Radaelli (Bradford University/EUI Florence) who offered an OECD-wide perspective on regulatory impact assessment, while Professor Antonio La Spina (Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Italy) and Mark Courtney (UK Cabinet Office) provided overviews of Italian and British experiences. The discussion identified the problems of this emerging government activity and highlighted potential avenues for improvements and crossnational learning.

  • Business History and Risk
    University of Leeds, February 2002

    CARR, in association with the Centre for Business History, University of Leeds held a successful workshop aimed at examining the various ways in which business historians have explored issues of risk in their work. Tony Freyer (University of Alabama) surveyed national patterns of antitrust and risk regulation, focusing on divergent national consciousnesses of accountability and competition. Oliver Westall (University of Lancaster) focused on the insurance industry as a bearer of risk and highlighted the historical lack of systematic risk assessment in most traditional insurance businesses and the rather narrow fronts on which statistical risk evaluation had advanced. Jo Melling (University of Exeter) examined the risks borne by employees in industrial employment, focusing on the history of industrial silicosis. He challenged the view that trade unions, by campaigning for compensation, have hindered prevention and regulation. Finally, Philip Augar (author of The Death of Gentlemanly Capitalism), discussed the City of London and the management and changing cultures of risk before and after the 'Big Bang'.

    The workshop, attended by historians, economists, accountants and risk analysts from 11 institutions, highlighted the fact that although 'risk' is a recurrent issue in business history and in many of the theories that it draws on, little work focuses directly on understanding the nature of risk itself.


  • New Crafts for an Old Machine: civil service competence in economic policy-making
    German Historical Institute, London, October 2001
  • The Comparative Dimension of Regulation Inside Government
    Second international workshop, University of Oxford, October 2001

    On 5-6th October 2001 , the second two-day international workshop on the Comparative Dimension of Regulation Inside Government was held in Oxford.

    This conference discussed changing patterns of control and regulation of the public sector across a range of state traditions and within thee different institutional and policy domains.

    Papers were presented on Japan (Katsuya Hirose (Hosei University) and Tak Nishio (International Christian University), US (Guy Peters, Pittsburgh), Norway ( Per Laegreid, Bergen), Germany (Hans Ulrich Derlien, Bamberg) and France (Nicole de Montricher, CNRS Paris) as well as thematic papers on higher education (Theo Toonen, Leiden) and prisons (Oliver James, Exeter).

  • Glasgow Conference Regulation and Risk in the New Scotland
    The Centre for Regulatory Studies at The 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.

  • Risk Forum 3: Risk Awareness through Strategic Planning: A Methodology for Creating Foresight and Assessing Risks of Technological Incrementalism  
    PricewaterhouseCoopers, June 2001


    Michael Barzelay led the third Risk Forum on the relationship between risk analysis and long-range strategic planning. He argued that whilst both practices are concerned with rational organisational decision-making under uncertainty, long-range strategic planning is better suited to formulating and evaluating beliefs about the future within complex organisations.

    Michael Barzelay examined the organisational processes involved in such planning, using the example of 'future games'- a variant on war-gaming used to detect weaknesses in the US Air Force's then-extant strategic vision, known as 'Global Engagement'. He examined how strategic planners made process decisions given that their prime audience was the Air Force Chief of Staff and how planners ensured that the Chief of Staff 'bought into' the future games' approach. Without that 'buy-in', the Chief was unlikely to be influenced by the conclusions drawn from the game. Furthermore, Michael Barzelay examined the complex organisational process of preparing a 'futures game', which involved multiple stakeholders from inside and outside the Air Force. Planners used a process that dealt with a typical function of long-range strategic planning: reducing ignorance about the future by externalising and combining the limited knowledge possessed by multiple units that would not otherwise be linked together.  Two major points emerged from the forum. First, this particular method's strength is in mobilising knowledge about one major type of perceived risk, rather than about a range of risks. The value of the effort, however, is dependent upon which risks are chosen for analysis (a point underscored by the recent attack on the Pentagon). Second, a futures game approach is unlikely to provide a general template for corporate strategic planning, which some forum participants envisioned as an ongoing, dialogical process involving the full top echelon. Nevertheless, strategic planning is clearly an important field of risk analysis and management and more attention needs to be paid to designing processes for creating knowledge, challenging current strategies and achieving consensus.

    As a result of this project Michael Barzelay and Colin Campbell published Preparing for the Future: strategic planning in the US Air Force, more information on this publication can be found at CARR Books.

  • The Europeanisation of National Economic Orders: comparing competition and utility regulation
    LSE, June 2001

    The aim of the workshop was to bring together an interdisciplinary group of academics and practitioners to consider the effects of Europeanisation on various policy domains and issues. Three general themes, competition policy, utility regulation and accountability, structured the discussions and a total of nine papers were presented.

    Europeanisation of national competition law has been noticeable not only across the EU member states, but on a global scale. Nick Sitter (BI School of Management, Oslo) provided an analysis of the Europeanisation of Scandinavian competition policies, noticing a trend characterised by noticeable differences. Thus, national regimes were Europeanised but national in content. Stefan Enchelmaier (Oxford) provided an overview of the different Europeanisation stages, starting from the provisions of the Treaty, the passing of Regulation 17/62, the wave of national adaptation and the recent 'fourth' wave of Commission-initiated reforms.

    Similarly noticeable has been the Europeanisation of national regulatory reforms. David Levy-Faur (Oxford/Haifa) highlighted the diffusion of liberalisation and regulatory reform across the EU member states and Latin America to point to potential linkages and commonalities, Ian Bartle (Exeter) and David Coen (LBS) offered Anglo-German comparisons, highlighting the differences in the institutional arrangements of the national regulatory regimes. While Mark Thatcher (LSE) pointed to the importance of national, non-EU factors in explaining regulatory reform in European telecommunications, Peter Humphreys (Manchester) on broadcasting and Imelda Maher (LSE) on postal liberalisation offered conceptual perspectives on Europeanisation processes.

    The issue of accountability remains a key challenge in the regulatory state. Catherine Waddams (East Anglia) illustrated the changing concept of 'accountability' throughout the ages of British utility regulation and suggested different European alternatives of structuring regulatory accountability. The workshop offered distinct views on Europeanisation processes, highlighting its diverse character and impact across sectors. Europeanisation was diagnosed to partly lead to renewed national diversity, conflicts concerning the legitimacy of decision-making by non-majoritarian institutions, increasing interaction and potentially contestation between concepts of economic orders.

  • Risk Forum 2: Corporate Risk Appetite and Risk Regulation
    LSE, February 2001

    Robert Baldwin and Bridget Hutter led the Risk Research Institute's second risk forum in February 2001 on the links between managerial and regulatory responses to risk. They argued that managerial and regulatory responses routinely interact or overlap and also that 'risks' often comprise clusters of sub-risks. Moreover, in designing corporate and regulatory risk management systems it is helpful to break down 'risks', 'risk clusters', 'risk management' and 'risk regulation' into their elements or 'dimensions'. Doing so highlights the complex issues facing managers and regulators, including: the point of intervention for risk management and whether to pursue specific, general or incidental responses; the need to co-ordinate informational, standard-setting and enforcement activities; how to cope with dynamic and complex risk management and regulatory contexts; how to apply accountability mechanisms; and whether to target individuals, groups or organisations and how to keep their incentives consistent.  The suggested approach poses formidable challenges insofar as it exposes multiple and simultaneous problems. Identifiable 'short cuts', however, are available to managers and regulators. Many challenges can be met simultaneously - for example, actions to increase an organisation's reputational pride might also enhance the risk management of individuals.  A further 'short cut' to better risk management involves weeding out 'omissions' and 'obsessions'. 'Omissions' are instances where insufficient attention has been paid to one risk dimension (eg, a lack of information on individual risk-taking). In contrast, 'obsessions' arise when managerial or regulatory approaches are shaped by excessive attention to just one aspect of a risk, such as a firm's resilience to the impact, rather than the prevention, of a risk.  Robert Baldwin and Bridget Hutter argued that analysis should transcend divisions between 'manager' and 'regulator' or 'corporation' and 'government agency'. The multi-dimensional nature of risk control and risk appetite has to be confronted head-on, if clear thinking about the design of responses is to be advanced.


  • Risk Forum 1: Two Cultures of Risk 
    PricewaterhouseCoopers, November 2000

    Michael Power (Co-Director, CARR) chaired the forum and the discussion was led by George Gaskell (Professor of Social Psychology, LSE) who drew attention to the 'two cultures of risk' in risk management thinking. Drawing on the recent history of the GM foods controversy, Gaskell argued that, while risk experts, like scientists, lament public ignorance, the public are increasingly sceptical of expert assurances about risks. The impacts and implications of these two cultures are nontrivial for risk management. They are evident in the impasse over the testing of applications of gene technology, the commercial food sector seeking competitive advantage at the cost of public anxieties and substantial financial losses amongst US and European seed companies. The general implications are that more inclusive models for corporate risk assessment are necessary to secure public trust and a sustainable future for new technologies.  The practitioner viewpoint was provided by Richard Anderson of PricewaterhouseCoopers who questioned the safety of the risk maps currently being used by corporations and how the 'two culture problem' can be addressed within them. He also suggested that the traditional axes of risk maps - impact and likelihood - need to be refined to reflect issues to do with timing and risk definition. Finally, he raised the general question as to whether and how corporations can successfully manage public perceptions.  Further commentary was provided by Bridget Hutter (Co-Director of CARR) who suggested that given the diverse and culturally-relative meanings of risk in the corporate environment, companies would need to design risk management systems which were explicitly outward looking and sensitive to these differences. There followed an extensive and lively discussion and feedback from participants has been positive and supportive.

    The full version of George Gaskell's discussion paper and a summary of the discussion is available: Two Cultures of Risk

  • The Comparative Dimension of Regulation Inside Government
    First international workshop, LSE, October 2000 

    A conference was held at the LSE on 13-14 October 2000 on the theme 'The Comparative Dimension of Regulation Inside Government'. This event was funded by CARR and the British Academy, and attracted speakers from North America, Australia, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK. Thirty-two scholars were brought together from political science, law, sociology and accounting for an intensive examination of the prospects for comparing the nature and development of regulatory functions over the public sector. The conference provided the occasion for the publication of CARR's first discussion paper, which Professor Christopher Hood presented at the conference and additionally there were nine presentations and seven separate commentaries. The academic presentations were complemented by presentations from the UK Comptroller and Auditor General, Sir John Bourn, on public sector audit, and from Mike Tomlinson (then Director of Inspection at OFSTED and subsequently made Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools) on the regulation of schools.

    Professor Katsuya Hirose offered a perspective on the place of arms-length oversight in Japanese government, arguing that for the high bureaucracy an earlier style of informal control based on mutuality had partly broken down, but that breakdown had not resulted in increased formal oversight, but rather a directionless 'doughnut' style. The school education sector had also not followed the UK or Dutch pattern because of its high politicisation, but there were more parallels in the university sector.

    Professor Guy Peters presented a paper exploring how well the idea of regulation in the form of arms-length oversight over executive government 'travelled' to the US context. The picture he painted was a mixed one, showing how the different institutional context affected forms of arms-length oversight, but arguing that a trend towards increased arms-length oversight was observable and that the study of the working of arms-length oversight agencies helped to reveal how far (or how little) managerialism had developed in the public sector.

    Central conclusions drawn from the discussion were that the changes in public administration mapped out in a UK study by Hood, Scott and others were of sufficient importance internationally to merit a substantial comparative investigation. Conference participants were doubtful that the regulation concept, which proved so fruitful as the basis for analysis of the UK experience, would 'travel' sufficiently well to provide the basis for comparative research between countries with patterns of public administration as diverse as those of the United States, Japan and France. For a more substantial project to be viable a more generic concept of control, intended to capture the diverse ways in which control over the public sector is exercised, would have to be developed.

    There was considerable enthusiasm for taking the work forward with further conceptual analysis and more sustained country studies. Hood, Scott and Travers will be following this up with other participants at the event with a view to creating a long term programme of study leading to the publication of an edited book.