Who needs to carry out an impact assessment and when should it be carried out?
An impact assessment shall be carried out by regulators when drafting new or amended legislative proposals as well as general advice. The Swedish regulatory system is structured on different levels where laws adopted by the Swedish Parliament are on the top of the pyramid. Laws are followed by government ordinances which the Swedish Government can adopt. Further down in the hierarchy regulations adopted by government agencies are found. The requirement to conduct an impacts assessment applies to all three levels meaning that proposals for new or amended laws, ordinances or regulations should be accompanied by an impact assessment.
The Ordinance on Impact Analysis of Regulation (pdf 1 MB) sets out that government agencies shall carry out an impact assessment, when this has to be done as well as the requirements for what it shall contain.
For committees of inquiry, The Committees Ordinance (pdf 1 MB) (in Swedish) sets out when an impact assessment should be carried out and the requirements for what it shall contain. Regarding the specific requirements on what the impact assessment carried out by a committee of inquiry shall include, the Committees Ordinance refers back to the requirements set out in the Ordinance on Regulatory Impact Assessment.
For legislative work within the Government Offices, the Guidelines for work on regulatory impact assessments in the Government Offices (pdf 1 MB) sets out when an impact assessment should be carried out and what it shall contain. The guidelines refer back to The Ordinance on Regulatory Impact Assessment regarding the specific requirements for what the impact assessment shall include.
What are the requirements on an impact assessment report?
The fact that the Committees Ordinance and the government guidelines both refer back to Sections 6 and 7 in the Ordinance on Regulatory Impact Assessment means that in principle the same requirements apply for all regulators.
The requirements in the Ordinance on Regulatory Impact Assessment can be summarized as follows:
According to section 6 of the Ordinance on Regulatory Impact Assessment, the report must contain a description of
- The existing problem and what is to be achieved by the proposed legislation,
- The alternative solutions that exist to achieve the desired result and the consequences if no regulation takes place,
- who will be affected by the regulation,
- the economic and other impacts of the regulation and a comparison of the impacts of the considered regulatory options,
- whether the regulation complies with or goes beyond the obligations arising from Sweden’s membership in the EU,
- whether particular account needs to be taken with regard to the date of entry into force and whether there is a need for special informational measures.
Section 7 of the Ordinance on Regulatory Impact Assessment states that if the proposed regulation may have effects on businesses’ working conditions, competitiveness or conditions in general, then the impact assessment must also, to the extent possible, contain a description of
- the companies affected with regard to quantity, size and sector
- what the regulation involves for the expenditure of time and the administrative costs of these businesses,
- what the regulation involves for the compliance costs and changes in the activities of these businesses
- what effects the regulation has on competition conditions for the businesses.
- the way in which the regulation may affect businesses in other respects
- Whether special account of small businesses must be taken when formulating the regulation.
Referral of the impact assessment to the Swedish Better Regulation Council
Government ministries and government agencies are required to submit all proposed statutes that may impact on businesses along with the accompanying impact assessment to the Swedish Better Regulation Council for review. That there is a legal obligation to refer to the Swedish Better Regulation Council is of great importance. As a minimum, the Council shall have 14 days to review the impact assessment and present its opinion.
The two legal documents regulating the referral to the Council are
The committee report including a legislative proposal and an accompanying impact assessment brought forward by a committee of inquiry is handed to the responsible ministry who is in charge of the referral to the Council.
Please note that the English documents and texts available are not official translations.