Blanc, F. 2018. From Chasing Violations to Managing Risks: Origins, Challenges and Evolutions in Regulatory Inspections. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Florentin Blanc has worked for the World Bank and is now a senior policy analyst at the OECD.The author presents an evidence-based analysis of what works in regulatory inspections, what makes people change their behaviour and the factors that make people resistant to control and change. However, the author argues, although inspection is an essential element of successful regulatory delivery it remains neglected.
Discussion of inspection takes place without an understanding of what inspections actually are or how they function in practice and their impacts. Preconceptions abound analysis is scarce. (Blanc 2018, p.2).
Providing this analysis is the theme of the book. Over the last few decades inspection practice has been transformed. No longer is counting the number of violations or the number of inspections a valid measure of effectiveness – inspection strategies should be evaluated on the outcomes produced.
Utilising prominent international research on regulatory delivery and the authors experience of international inspection structures (World Bank and OECD) Blanc surveys the UK, France, Germany and Former Soviet Union States. He concludes that where countries have embraced risk-based inspection the evidence supports better outcomes. Effective Inspection is more than deterrence or burden but holds the potential to create trust and to reduce risks and hazards.
However, in regulation and inspection risk is a complex topic. Blanc summarises the relevant risk literature and identifies three types of risk used by regulators:
Probability of non-compliance with applicable regulations
Relevance of the type of establishment to a specific ‘risk type’, and
Combination of likelihood and potential magnitude of hazards, based on data analysis, experience and practical insights.
All three are in use by regulators but the most effective, he concludes, is risk as likelihood (probability) and potential severity of the hazard.
In a stimulating and readable analysis of the regulatory literature Blanc brings together the main perspectives on why firms comply. Discussing smart regulation, responsive regulation, problem-based regulation, procedural justice and ethical principles of regulation the case is made that successful inspection should be fair, include advice and be responsive to the values of those regulated.
It is not a textbook. The focused discussion sets out the evidence and rationale for improving inspection strategies. In doing so it provides sections on regulatory theory and international practice which surpass that available in most regulatory textbooks. You will find it a valuable addition to your university or work library. It is also available as an e-book.