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Regulation in Crisis?


Funded by the ESRC, the seminar series ‘Regulation in Crisis?’ reflected on the most pressing problems in contemporary society, namely how to rebalance the relationship between democratic governance and markets in the context of the early 21st century. The seminar series focused on how regulation itself was in crisis in view of failures over the past decade, how regulation is essential for dealing with cases of crisis, and whether regulation as a field of study in crisis. A longer outline of the themes of this seminar series is available here. 


This seminar series will:

  • represent a high-level interdisciplinary and international forum for established and early career academics and practitioners to consider the multi-level, multi-problem setting of regulation
  • advance scholarly inquiry by probing into and advancing the foundations of existing research agendas in regulation
  • run a series of seminars on leading-edge and strategic themes in the field of regulation

See article in the winter 2014 issue of Risk & Regulation on ‘Regulation in Crisis?’

Seminar 1: Regulation in Crisis?

The first seminar was structured around the three key themes of the seminar series: Regulation in Sectors in Crisis, Regulatory Instruments in Crisis?, and Regulation as a Field of Study in Crisis?. The seminar brought together international practitioners and academic perspectives from different disciplines and sectors to consider the key questions and concerns in the contemporary debate. To facilitate free-flowing discussion and a forward-looking perspective, the workshop featured short, informal interventions rather than informal papers. A programme of the seminar can be found here.

One Day Conference: Regulating Higher Education

This one day event, organised jointly with the Higher Education Commission, brought together academic and practitioner perspectives on the future regulation of higher education, especially in the context of England. The debate focused in particular on the challenges of risk-based regulation and the wider regulatory framework for higher education. A report on the conference can be found here. Contributions to the event can be found in the CARR Discussion Paper.  

Seminar 2: Regulation of Standards in Public Life

This seminar considered the challenges of regulating standards in public life in the context of scandal-driven regulatory responses, the evolution of regulation regimes, and the unintended consequences emerging from different regulatory responses. The event included a public roundtable involving Lord Paul Bew (Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards), Richard Painter (University of Minnesota), Gillian Peele (University of Oxford), Denis Saint Martin (University of Montreal) and Walt Shaub (Director, US Office of Government Ethics). Further information can be found here.

Seminar 3: Regulatory Agencies under Challenge

One of the key defining features of contemporary regulation is the independent agency. This workshop, partly funded by the promotion programme for research into the Western Balkans (RRPP), focused on key themes in the study of regulatory agencies, namely accountability, inde-pendence, co-ordination and expertise. More information can be found here.

Seminar 4: Customer Engagement in Regulation

The roundtable brought together participants from across the regulated sectors in the UK to discuss their experience with customer engagement processes. Speakers included Stephen Littlechild, Trisha McAuley, Sharon Darcy, Sebastian Eyre, Cosmo Graham and Richard Moriarty. Eva Heims and Martin Lodge presented their findings on their research on customer engagement in water regulation in England/Wales and Scotland.

Discussion Paper: Customer Engagement in Regulation

Discussion Paper: Innovation through customer engagement and negotiated settlements in water regulation: Towards a transformed regulatory state?

Eva Heims and Martin Lodge: ‘Consumers on tap?

Eva Heims and Martin Lodge: ‘Running out of capacity?’

Seminar 5: Regulation of Homeland Security

This workshop brought together leading international practitioners and academics to discuss the changing nature of oversight over intelligence services.

Robert Rizzi and Charles E Borden ‘Security clearances and the regulation of national and domestic security personnel’

Martin Lodge, ‘Regulating in the dark: oversight over intelligence services’

Seminar 6: Regulation Scholarship in Crisis?

This workshop discussed how scholarship on regulation had been shaped by the financial crisis, how theories of regulation required reconsideration, and how new fields of regulation were posing challenges for existing theories. Participants included Edward Balleisen (Duke), Caelesta Braun (Leiden), Madalina Busuioc (Exeter), Cary Coglianese (Pennsylvania), Diogo Coutinho (São Paulo), Flavia Donadelli (LSE),  Hanan Haber (LSE), Eva Heims (LSE), Will Jennings (Southampton), Christel Koop (KCL), David Levi-Faur (Jerusalem), John McEldowney (Warwick), Fabiana Di Porto (Salento), Henry Rothstein (KCL), Colin Scott (UCD), Lindsay Stirton (Sussex), Andy Whitford (Georgia) and Karen Yeung (KCL)

Discussion Paper: Regulation Scholarship in Crisis?

Seminar 7: The Future of Economic Regulators

In this workshop, Faisal Naru and Filippo Cavasini (OECD) presented their latest work on regulatory agencies.

Filippo Cavassini, Faisal Naru and Bill Below, ‘Are regulators the new Men in Black? Not when it comes to independence…’

Seminar 8: Better Regulation – the Business Impact Target and the way ahead

This panel discussion was jointly organised with the National Audit Office (NAO) to discuss the NAO’s study on the UK government’s ‘Business Impact Target’ in the context of the wider better regulation in an age of austerity and Brexit. Speakers included Anne-Marie O’Riordan and Richard Davis (National Audit Office), Steve Darling (Department for Enviornment, Food and Rural Affairs), Henry Demaria (Department for Communities and Local Government), Claudio Radaelli (Exeter), Graham Turnock (Better Regulation Executive)

National Audit Report ‘The Business Impact Target: cutting the cost of regulation’

Seminar 9: Regulation Inside Government

This international workshop returned to a theme that has been at the heart of CARR's research since the early 2000s. The discussion focused in particular on changes over the past two decades, involving contributions from Barbara Fredericks (Montgomery County Ethics Commission), Christopher Hood (Oxford), Steve Linick (Inspector General, US State Department) and Richard Thomas (Which?, and former UK Information Commissioner).

Seminar 10: The Future of Independent Economic Regulation

CARR hosted Cathryn Ross, then chief executive of Ofwat, for this lecture. In this talk, Cathryn Ross highlighted the challenges facing economic regulation in the UK and also suggested that further consideration should be given to greater cross-sectoral regulation.

Lecture: Link 

Podcast: Link 

Seminar 11: Algorithmic Regulation

This international workshop was jointly held with King’s College London’s Centre for Technology, Ethics, Law & Society. Keynote speaker was Helen Nissenbaum from New York University. Other contributors included Leighton Andrews (Cardiff), Lee Bygrave (Oslo), Nello Cristianini (Bristol), David Demortain (Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Sciences Innovations Sociétés),  Mireille Hidelbrandt (VU Brussels), and Michael Veale (UCL).

Discussion Paper: Algorithmic Regulation 

Seminar 12: Higher Education Roundtable

In March 2018, CARR launched its ‘Higher Education Roundtable’, a biannual informal discussion series about themes in the regulation and governance of contemporary higher education. Keynote speaker was Sir Michael Barber, chair of the new Office for Students.

Seminar 13: Expertise and Advice in Executive Government

This international seminar focused on academic and practitioner perspectives regarding the challenge of understanding contemporary demands on expertise and advice in executive government, especially in a context of party polarisation, reliance on contractors and specific crisis-related expertise. Contributors includes Walt Schaub (Campaign Legal Centre), Karl Thompson (Jones Day), Richard Banks (UK Government Policy Profession Unit) and Arthur Petersen (UCL).