Hertford College Bridge of Sighs
Forthcoming events
Hertford Seminar in Regulation
18 March 2019
Shepherd & Wedderburn LLP, 1 Exchange Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 8UL

Chair: Kersti Berge, Director for Energy and Climate Change, Scottish Government, with remarks from Professor George Yarrow, Chairman Emeritus and founder, RPI

There is no charge for this seminar; however booking is essential. To book your place please see www.rpi-events.org or email Events Co-ordinator Kerry Whitelegg

Annual Westminster Conference
2 May 2019
One Great George Street, London
The new social licence to operate – is this needed and what could it be?

Our Westminster Conference will bring these themes together to examine the central question of the new social licence to operate. The conference will include contributions from international experience as well as policy makers, regulated companies and advisors across the utility sector

We are delighted to confirm that Jonson Cox, Chair, Ofwat, will be the keynote speaker.

Preliminary programme to follow. Membership, academic, and student discounts available.

To register your interest, please go to www.rpi-events.org or email Events Co-ordinator Kerry Whitelegg

Hertford Seminar in Regulation
3 July 2019
Frontier Economics Ltd, 71 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6DA
18:30 for 19:00

Further details to follow. Please save the date.

Annual Competition and Regulation Conference
Tuesday 17 September and Wednesday 18 September
Merton College, Oxford

A two day, residential conference in Oxford, including the Distinguished Fellows Dinner in Hall. Programme and details to follow.

Recent events
22 January 2019
Hertford Seminar in Regulation

‘Investing in utility networks with less reliance on markets and more uncertainty: how do we deliver security and efficiency?’
Chair: Dr Tony Ballance, Director, Strategy & Regulation, Severn Trent Water
Contributions from:

  • Jason Mann, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting;
  • Emily Clark, Chief Economist, BT Group (speech)
  • Lewis Dale, National Grid
28 November 2018
Hertford Seminar in Regulation

'Aligning public ownership with customer interests. Is this as easy as it sounds?'
Chair: Ed Humpherson (UK Statistics Authority)
Contributions from:

  • Siobhan Carty (ORR);
  • David Black (Ofwat); and
  • Jason Dorsett Chief Finance Officer Oxford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
24 & 25 September 2018
Merton College, Oxford
Competition and Regulation Conference
The discovery, assessment and use of evidence in regulatory and competition law decision making

This year’s conference had a single theme: the use of evidence in decisions taken by regulatory agencies and competition law enforcement bodies. It is motivated by an apparent paradox. We likely have greater detailed knowledge that ever before about the cognitive processes at work in decision making, at each of individual, group and organisation levels. Yet there is a general sense that actual policy decisions are less and less influenced by solid evidence.

The conference sessions did not address this paradox in general, but rather focussed on the state of play for those entrusted with regulatory or competition law enforcement powers, engaged in and affected by the relevant processes, or specialised in analysing regulatory/competition decisions and their contexts.

Please see full programme

Presentations from the conference are available here

29 June 2018
Hertford Seminar in Regulation

'Regulation and public interest outcomes in energy and water: moving beyond compliance and towards a sustainable ‘licence to operate’ for a disrupted world'
Sharon Darcy, Director, Sustainability First

The slides and the speech for this seminar are available to download.

2 May 2018
One Great George Street, London
Annual Westminster Conference
Regulatory pathologies: diagnosis and remediation

Based on accumulated knowledge and experience, the conference examined the features of a number of the major pathologies that can have adverse effects on the functioning of regulatory processes, including the signs, causes, and potential means of remediation of recurring malfunctions.

6 November 2017
Hertford Seminar in Regulation

Customer engagement and regulation: where next?
A roundtable discussion with contributions from:

  • Professor Robert Hahn, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford
  • Cathryn Ross, Ofwat
  • Tony Ballance, Severn Trent Water
  • Maxine Frerk, Grid Edge Policy

We were very grateful to Hogan Lovells for hosting this seminar.

Competition and Regulation Conference, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
26 & 27 September 2017

This year's conference occurred in a period of great disturbance and volatility that poses multiple challenges, not only to the ways in which competition and regulatory policies are conducted, but also, more fundamentally, to the aims, principles, and institutional structures that have characterised these policies over recent decades.

Presentations from the conference are available here.

Annual Westminster Conference
3 May 2017
One Great George Street, London
Too busy to think? Entropic processes in legislation, regulatory rule-making, organisations and policy strategies

The general theme of the day was an examination of the ways in which the conduct of public policy can become disordered over time. A programme note explaining the motivation for the chosen theme, raising questions and elaborating on one or two of the issues to be covered is available here

Please also see the full programme for the day.

1 February 2017
Hertford Seminar in Regulation
Lord David Owen
“Alternative wider European structures of cooperation”
Jonathan Faull, discussant

We were very grateful to Hogan Lovells for hosting this seminar.

Other past events
Hertford Seminars in Regulation
Competition Policy Conferences
Beesley Lectures
Occasional conferences & seminars
News and publications

In December 2017 the RPI published "Brexit and the single market revisted" by George Yarrow as an Essay in Regulation, New Series.

George Yarrow's Zeeman Lecture given at the September 2017 conference has been published as Brexit and the political economy of regulation" and is available for download.

The EEA agreement explained, a new paper by Yarrow and Yarrow was published 14 March 2017: The European Economic Area Agreement: A short introduction, Studies in Regulation New Series 7.1, by Yarrow and Yarrow.

A new paper has just been published in the Letters and Notes series: Reforms to water regulation in Victoria by Euan Morton and Martin van Bueren, March 2017.

An RPI paper on Energy and Environmental Regulation by George Yarrow, assisted by Philip Davies was published on 7 March 2017 by the Australian Energy Market Commission and is available here

A new paper in the Studies in Regulation series, "The market for residency in Fabellia: a quick introduction", by George Yarrow, was published in September 2016.

The RPI has published a working paper, "Brexit and the Single Market" by George Yarrow. You can download a pdf version of the paper, **Final** here

Presentations from the 2016 Westminster conference are available here

The RPI has published a paper about NHS procurement of enteral feeds, October 2015.

Steve Smith's Zeeman Lecture The use and abuse of the notion of effective competition: Carroll, Orwell and McCarthy revisted?" is available as a pdf.

RPI submission to the CMA's energy investigation

George Yarrow has filed a short submission on the CMA's Summary of Provisional Findings Report and Notice of Possible Remedies. A pdf version of the submission is available here.

In the Letters and Notes series: Privatisation and untoward consequences in water services: the regulator's role", Ian Byatt, October 2015.

The Political Economy of Markets, George Yarrow, Essays in Regulation New Series

Banks, Monetary Policy and Competition Policy: How Do They Connect?, David Harrison, Studies in Regulation New Series

Presentations from the 2014 Competition Conference are now available.

Former energy regulators have made a joint submission to the Competition and Markets Authority in relation to its current investigation of energy markets. You can read the submission here

The Customer Forum: Customer engagement in the Scottish water sector, Stephen Littlechild, Studies in Regulation New Series

The OFT's Higher Education Report: Could do better, Suzanne Rab, and Heuristics and biases in regulatory decision making, George Yarrow, both in the Letters and Notes series.

Presentations from the recent Westminster conference, "Coherence and Stability in Regulatory Policy" are also now available.

Other recent publications:

In the Essays in Regulation new series George Yarrow considers the widespread use of over-simplified, ‘corrupted’ economics in policymaking and offers some suggestions as to how the problem might be addressed: Dysfunctions in economic policymaking Part I: simple stories, complex systems and corrupted economics

In Letters and Notes, Jon Stern addresses the tendency to continue financial support for major public projects well beyond the time at which it becomes clear that further support is highly inefficient: UK Renewables Demonstration Projects: Who Pulls the Plug?

In a new paper in the RPI's Studies in Regulation series, Professor Stephen Littlechild outlines his concerns about the proposed interpretation of the competition assessment framework for the retail energy sector.

At the end of last year the RPI published two papers in the 'Letters and Notes in Regulation' series: The impact of UK shale gas development on gas prices by George Yarrow and Why airports can face price-elastic demand: margins, lumpiness and leveraged passenger losses by David Starkie and George Yarrow.

Regina Finn and Simon Less outline different forms of regulatory capture in Capture of independent sectoral regulators, an earlier publication in the 'Letters and Notes on Regulation' series.

In Security of electricity supply: is a Capacity Market the answer?, Dr Nigel Evans assesses proposals for the introduction of a ‘Capacity Market’ into wholesale electricity trading arrangements.

See the full list of Letters and Notes in Regulation.

Legal services reform

In 2013 the RPI was commissioned by the Legal Services Board to undertake a study on "Understanding the barriers to entry, exit and changes to the structure of regulated legal firms". The final report presented to the LSB and Law Society, and the executive summary are now available.

Previously RPI chairman George Yarrow submitted brief note in response to the MoJ's call for evidence in the context of its review of legal services regulation.

In 2012 the RPI was commissioned by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) to assess the economic significance of the professional legal services sector in the European Union. The report, published in late 2012, further develops some of the material of an earlier report for the Legal Services Board, and contains a critique of existing 'econometric' work on the economic contribution of legal services. The paper was referenced in Commissioner Viviane Reding's address to the recent plenary session of the CCBE.

Alternatives to wooden headedness

The slides from George Yarrow's 2013 Beesley lecture, Alternatives to wooden headedness: (much) less costly ways of regulating carbon emissions are available here. See also background and related reading.

BIS consultation on regulatory appeals

Please see the RPI response, September 2013.

The future of independent regulation

Many presentations from last year's Westminster conference are available.

Review of appeals mechanisms for Australia’s electricity and gas networks: Final Report published

The Expert Panel final report for Australia’s Standing Council on Energy and Resources may be of interest to those concerned with issues surrounding reviews of regulatory decision making; see also the Standing Council on Energy Resources website.