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New inquiry launched into independence and accountability of UK regulators

19 October 2023

The Industry and Regulators Committee has today published a call for evidence into its new inquiry into UK regulators, which will examine their relationship with Government and how they are held to account. It is inviting written submissions from interested individuals and organisations.


The Industry and Regulators Committee has previously examined the work of several specific regulators, including Ofgem, Ofwat and the Office for Students. Building on these conclusions, the Committee is now launching a short and cross-cutting inquiry into UK regulators as a whole, with a specific focus on roles, remit, independence and accountability. 

The inquiry will examine whether regulators as a whole have been given a clear job to do and whether their roles and remits are sufficiently discrete from one another. The inquiry will also examine whether regulators are appropriately independent of Government, including whether the right balance is being struck between strategic and political input from government and preserving regulators’ operational independence. The inquiry will further examine how regulators should be held to account for their performance, and by whom – including the respective roles of the Government and of Parliament.

For this inquiry, the Committee is focussing specifically on regulators which have a statutory role established by Parliament and are organised as public bodies.

Chair’s comments

Lord Hollick, Chair of the Industry and Regulators Committee, said:

“The committee has recently conducted scrutiny of regulators including Ofwat, Ofgem, and the Office for Students.

A common area of concern arising from all these inquiries is the relationship between the regulator and the Government, and the level of independence and accountability regulators have. Many regulators are public bodies funded by the taxpayer and have significant powers; it is therefore vital that they are scrutinised and held to account.

This short, cross-cutting inquiry will shine a light on the UK regulatory ecosystem and how effective it is.”


  1. Are UK regulators being given a clear job to do?
  2. Is the right balance being struck between the responsibilities of regulators and those of the Government, particularly where there are political or distributional trade-offs that need to be resolved?
  3. Are regulators appropriately independent of government? Is the right balance being struck between strategic and political input from government and preserving the operational independence of the regulators?
  4. Does the Government provide too much or too little guidance to regulators in making decisions, particularly in deciding between different objectives and priorities?
  5. Are the roles and remits of different regulators sufficiently discrete, or is there overlap and duplication?
  6. How effectively do regulators co-operate with one another, and how could this be improved?
  7. Do the UK’s regulators have the necessary skills, capabilities and expertise internally to perform the roles they have been given? If they do not, how could this be improved?
  8. Who should hold the regulators accountable for their performance against their objectives? What is the appropriate role of Parliament in performing this scrutiny role?
  9. How should the Government and the regulators themselves facilitate appropriate scrutiny and accountability of regulators? Are regulators sufficiently transparent about their own performance?
  10. What mechanisms and metrics could be used to hold regulators accountable on a regular and ongoing basis and to judge whether a regulator is performing well?
  11. Do any of the UK’s international comparators address the above questions particularly well? What lessons, if any, can the UK learn from other jurisdictions on these matters?


The Committee invites contributions to its inquiry by Friday 1 December 2023. The Committee will be holding public evidence sessions between October and Christmas, and aims to report to the House in the new year.

Further information

Image: By Brian Jackson