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How Data and Insight are Changing the Inspections Landscape

Friday 17 November 2017 Data Insight & Analytics

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As we approach the end of the year, I've been thinking about what’s changing – and by implication, what’s staying the same- in the world of inspections.
 
Today’s modern regulator is under pressure to provide value for the taxpayer by working smarter and driving innovation broadly. But as well as having responsibilities to the regulator on one hand and the public on the other, it’s important to remember the responsibility that inspectors also have to the institutions they are inspecting.
 
On a practical level this means careful planning and visibility to minimise inconvenience and anxiety during the inspections themselves. On a higher level, inspectors have to “raise their game” due to the disruption and fast-moving innovation that they may be seeing in the sectors they inspect. Inspectors can’t afford to let sectors or individual companies claim that they don’t fully understand the modern complexities of the sectors they inspect and are thus not fit for purpose.
 
These diverse (and often mutually antagonistic) expectations are driving regulators not only to invest in technology for its own sake but also to build their capability to support the sectors they oversee. They’re using technology to provide a better service for, and to reduce burdens on, business.

Driving innovation in inspections

 
Collaboration is key to driving innovation -one recent example of such collaboration is between the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, who are pooling resources and experience to anticipate key technology opportunities for regulators.
 
Data sharing is an obvious area for collaboration.  Matching records can allow regulators and inspection services to combine intelligence on the organisations they oversee and thereby better sequence inspection efforts to reduce the burden on business.  The Health and Safety Executive is leading work with many departments on ‘Regulatory Intelligence’, and is scoping out the development of a ‘Regulatory Intelligence Hub’. This will link and match data from various sources, resulting in an informed and accurate combined view of performance.
 
Data science -collecting and processing multiple large data sources in order to better understand the likelihood that different businesses don’t comply with the expectations set out in regulation. One example in this space is the Competition and Markets Authority, which is developing its capability around digital forensics, in order to help target cartels and monitor and assess markets.
 
Disruptive technology can bring great benefits to regulators and inspection services organisations. It may mean that inspection services come to value different skillsets from the people they recruit. Whether or not that comes to pass, continuing to explore opportunities and innovation together will lead to shared innovation and improvement.
 

The difference that makes a difference

 
Are such analytical technologies already being used by your departments? I’d love to hear your examples of what this looks like in practice, what difference it is making - leave a comment below.
 
The next blog (the last in this short series of three) will look at the bleeding-edge disruptive technologies of tomorrow – including Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things – and how they might impact on the world of inspections.
 

 

How are inspectors using technology to provide a better service for business as well as reducing the burdens on them?

How Data and Insight are Changing the Inspections Landscape

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