Northern Ireland Better Regulation Strategy

Since 2001, Northern Ireland departments have been operating under the Northern Ireland Better Regulation Strategy. The strategy was introduced by the then Northern Ireland Executive to minimise the burden of red tape on business.

Requirements placed on departments

The NI Better Regulation Strategy requires departments to:

  • undertake and publish a regulatory impact assessment when considering new policy proposals, or amendments to existing policy which may impact on business
  • carry out a micro business test to assess the impact on businesses of fewer than five employees
  • provide guidance to business on new legislation at least 12 weeks before legislation comes into operation

It also introduced an enforcement concordat to serve as a blueprint for fair, practical, and consistent enforcement based on existing practice.


The NI Better Regulation Strategy was reviewed in 2006-2007 and recommended an implementation action plan for progressing the regulatory environment in Northern Ireland. The document below provides an update on progress on the actions in that implementation action plan:

Second review

A second review was carried out by DETI on the NI Better Regulation Strategy and the following report on the review was approved by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in April 2010.

Statement of intent

Statement of intent was issued by DETI, NI local councils, Local Better Regulation Office, and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Its aim was to ensure parity of enforcement practice between Northern Ireland and GB in relation to trading standards and environmental health matters in the context of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008.

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