Research

Academic advises on ethics for regulators

Professor Ania Zalewska has taken part in an expert roundtable discussion on the ethical standards of regulators, organised by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL).

The CSPL advises the Prime Minister on ethical standards across the whole of public life in the UK. It monitors and reports on issues relating to the standards of conduct of all public office holders.

Regulators under review

It is currently leading an ‘Ethics for Regulators’ review, giving a ‘health-check’ to the way in which regulators manage ethical issues. The review is exploring how well regulators’ own governance upholds the Seven Principles of Public Life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

Professor Zalewska, Director of our School of Management’s Centre for Governance and Regulation, was one of 11 leading academics invited to join the review, and the only finance specialist.

Setting standards

Like much of the public sector, regulators face reduced expenditure and unprecedented scrutiny on how they operate. It is ever more important that regulators are robustly independent of those they regulate and demonstrate high standards with their own activities and decisions.

While regulators set high requirements and standards for numerous public bodies and organisations, there is no obvious answer on who should regulate the regulator.

Professor Zalewska was one of 11 academics invited to contribute to the review of ethics for UK regulators

The roundtable event at the Treasury (3 November 2015) was devoted to discussing ethical risks (their form, origin, intensity); working practices (those that can bring some ethical concerns as well as those that are examples of high ethical standards); and potential solutions (governance architecture, communication with the public).

An important role for research

Professor Zalewska said: “It is hard to overestimate the relevance of regulation. It’s such an everyday feature of our lives that we often take it for granted and do not even realise that it is there. Yet, it is important, whether we deal with the regulation of the financial sector or the sugar content in baby juices, that the restrictions that are imposed and implemented are in the best interest of all parties involved.

“It is very encouraging that the Committee on Standards in Public Life is taking into account the views of academics and their research findings. Academic research offers valuable input towards better understanding current practices and their potential improvements.”

Professor Zalewska has published a wealth of research on regulatory issues [link to profile:  The Centre for Governance and Regulation is a leading academic and policy research centre for cross-disciplinary research on the design and implementation of governance and regulatory structures and forms of control that ensure that organisations are run effectively, efficiently, and lawfully.

In the coming months the CSPL will meet regulators and regulatees, as well as regulatory bodies. The final report is expected in spring 2016.

The School of Management was ranked 8th in the UK in the independently-assessed Research Excellence Framework. 89% of their submitted case studies were deemed to have an outstanding or very considerable impact.

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