In the spring of 2017 the Danish Business Authority and MindLab, a Danish policy lab, developed a methodology to quickly identify costly regulations and how they could be improved, by combining the Standard Cost Model (SCM) method (a quantitative methodology that can measure the compliance costs of laws and legislation) with design anthropology, which takes in situ interaction as the starting point for policy design. This strategy was honed in a rapid, iterative process in the Danish road freight industry, focusing on safety regulations.
The combination of SCM and design anthropology has three main strengths. Firstly, the combination makes for a cheap and fast way to identify costly regulation. Instead of laboriously mapping the costs of all relevant laws with the SCM, it specifically identifies laws that are costly in practice and could be improved. Secondly, looking at the compliance process from the company’s perspective gave us new ideas for how to improve regulation – not from a distance, but from within the context where the regulation is intended to work efficiently. And finally, the SCM let us quantify both the cost associated with a given regulation, and any potential savings an adjustment to it could make.
The article describes two pivotal – and potentially transformative – actions to take if civil servants are serious about designing better regulation.
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