Assessment of Administrative Burdens – a Step towards Better Regulation
During recent years the necessity of reducing administrative burdens has been high on the agenda as one topic of the Lisbon Strategy.
The aim of the measurement and reduction of administrative burdens is to simplify the fulfilment of reporting requirements for entrepreneurs. As a result the time spent on administrative obligations will decrease and the competitiveness of the SMEs will increase.
A standard cost model methodology was developed in the Netherlands in order to calculate how much time and money is spent on administrative procedures by businesses. At present the methodology is applied in many member states of the EU, including Estonia. Some of the countries (e.g. United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark) have measured administrative burdens for all legislative acts and determined the quantitative reduction target together with simplification plans. On the EU level, the European Commission has also proposed that member states cooperate with the Commission in the measurement of EU legislation.
Although Estonian Government has suggested that ministries find out the necessity for the administrative burden measurements, the practice has been rather modest. So far the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has conducted four studies and developed a guideline on application of standard cost model methodology in Estonia. For Estonia the main challenges are related to availability of resources – on the one hand administrative burden assessments are not systematically integrated with the process of law-drafting. On the other hand the practice on assessment of administrative burden is insufficient among officials in different ministries. Still, the improvement of the situation could be expected since the development of impact assessment system in general is included in the Government Coalition Agreement as well as in the framework of the EU structural funds.