Conference Date
Wednesday 31 March 2021, 9:30am - 1:00pm AEDT
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During this seminar we will be discussing several different types of discretion involved in regulatory decision-making and exploring the set of values that we trust to govern such decision-making in order to protect against bias, corruption, and improper influence.

Many regulatory agencies publish “value statements” or list in their public strategy documents the values they espouse, not only as a means of guiding and governing their employees’ behaviour, but also as a standard against which the agency is prepared to be evaluated. Values nominated in this way frequently include consistency, proportionality, fairness, transparency, equity, uniformity, effectiveness, resourceefficiency, integrity, accountability and predictability.

However, professional regulators find themselves vaguely uneasy with the notion that these values are absolute, or that they necessarily align nicely with each other. Regulators must focus and target their efforts, which means sacrificing uniformity. In some areas, they need to retain the element of surprise, which means deliberately not being predictable. Transparency before the fact is quite different from accountability after the fact. Do we always expect both? Regulatory and enforcement operations sometimes involve deception, such as with covert surveillance and undercover operations. If requirements for transparency and openness were absolute, such operations would never be allowed.

This seminar is designed to allow participants to explore the range of obligations that act on them: as public officials, as professional regulators, and as individuals with their own consciences, beliefs, and loyalties. We will explore together different types of regulatory discretion and decision-making, working towards a clearer vision of the range of values that impinge, and the practical challenge of navigating the tensions and dilemmas that arise when legitimate pressures pull in different directions.

This seminar provides an opportunity for attendees to:

• Evaluate your own organisation’s practices in declaring their governing values and seeking to use them to govern operational decision making

  • Assess your agency’s ability to explain and defend the more complex and nuanced judgments that regulatory decision-making inevitably requires

Who should attend?

This course is designed for mid to upper level regulatory and enforcement practitioners from Federal, State and Local Government Agencies.

Attend to learn:

  • Understanding different forms of discretion involved in regulatory practice, and the range of values relevant to each type of discretion
  • What society fears if regulatory conduct is not properly constrained, and the ways in which those dangers are generally mitigated. The role of “positive values” in controlling deviance and shaping regulatory behaviour
  • Understanding multiple sources of obligations that act on regulatory professionals. These include (but are not limited to):
    • Commitments to “Natural Justice” (the right to advance notice, fair hearings, no bias, etc.)
    • Responsibilities that arise as stewards of significant public resources
    • The general calling of being a public servant
    • Professional ethics
    • Conscience, personal convictions, and loyalties
  • What difference it makes to the values at stake and forms of discretion being exercised when regulators turn their attention to “risk-based” strategies