Expert group to reform regulation will ‘supercharge’ UK innovation

A flexible approach to UK regulation that may otherwise hinder the development of innovative technologies and services, will be the focus of a new government-backed committee in attempts to ensure that the UK is the “best place in the world to do business”.

Image by annca from Pixabay
The appointment of the committee and Ross as its chairperson, was a key recommendation from the white paper on ‘Regulation for the fourth Industrial Revolution’ – Image by annca from Pixabay

Reforms to the UK’s regulatory system that remove barriers to innovation, will be the responsibility of a new advisory body called the Regulatory Horizon Council, set up by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Its aim will be to advise the UK government on ways to ensure the swift uptake of emerging products, services and business models, through an adaptive regulatory system.

The Regulatory Horizon Council will draw on expertise from industry leaders, academics and existing data, and be led by economist and director for regulatory affairs at BT, Cathryn Ross.

In addition to scanning the business landscape for “technological innovation and trends”, the committee will produce regular reports to help “supercharge” the UK’s £184bn tech sector.

The appointment of the committee and Ross as its chairperson, was a key recommendation from the white paper on Regulation for the fourth Industrial Revolution’, set out by BEIS in June 2019.

The white paper outlines government plans to “transform the UK’s regulatory system to support innovation, while protecting citizens and the environment”.

UK regulatory practices were awarded the highest overall score of any country by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2018.

The Regulatory Horizon Council will propose further reforms to that system, so that technological breakthroughs have the space and freedom to “bolster” the UK economy.


The Regulatory Horizon Council will…

  • Advise the UK government on regulatory reforms so as to ensure the “rapid and safe” introduction and development of innovative products, services and business models in the UK
  • Harness expertise from leading experts who will “scan the business horizon” for technological innovation and trends, building on existing work and data
  • Produce a routine report to the government recommending priorities for regulatory reform


“The government is determined to make the UK the best place in the world to do business and a key part of that is getting our regulations right,” said business minister, Nadhim Zahawi.

“We already have a thriving tech sector, worth £184bn to the economy every year, and this council will help supercharge this sector through more agile regulations.

“Cathryn’s leadership of the council will help us ensure our regulatory system keeps pace in a fast-changing world.”

*Headline image courtesy of Shutterstock