The irony of the many regulators yet to embrace RegTech

Deborah Young

There are many high-profile case histories that demonstrate the huge benefits for regulated entities and their customers of the effective use of technology and data in the regulatory sphere.

So it is a huge irony that there is a low adoption of RegTech solutions by regulators, and a narrow application of digital strategies in most regulatory authorities. It is an issue that the RegTech Association has sought to highlight, addressing the information gap and lack of strategic collaboration between public, regulatory and technology sectors.

These are two of the insights from a new report “Scratching the Surface. The Government Regulatory Technology report 2022” by Objective Corporation. The report’s findings are drawn from a survey of more than 80 government agencies with regulatory responsibilities across Australia and New Zealand.

It found that regulators understand that the effective use of technology and data is critical to them discharging their mandates, but a lack of technical IT capacity and funding, as well as fear of failure, are barriers to RegTech adoption.

RegTech Association chief executive Deborah Young

That said, the use of RegTech is nonetheless on the rise, particularly with those regulators whose work is critical to areas like public safety. For example, earlier this year, Objective was awarded a five-year contract to manage the end-to-end regulation of registration and licensing for firearms in New Zealand. The new system is a secure digital platform designed to manage all information related to firearms licensing, plus any activities associated with the possession and use of firearms.

In Australia, RegTech firm One Blink has developed a system to allow workers and visitors to worksites to confidentially report any health and safety concerns to Safework NSW. Using One Blink’s Low-Code app development tool, people can easily alert the regulator to potential breaches without the fear of repercussions.

One Blink also won a major contract from NSW Food Authority to automate and streamline the work of its 50 dedicated field workers, whose job it is to oversee some 14,000 licensed food businesses, across 78 different licencing requirements involving a paper-based process.

These case histories illuminate the fact that the number one benefit regulators get from RegTech is streamlining. No surprise therefore that 65 per cent of the respondents to Objective’s survey (and who have adopted RegTech) cited streamlining as a key benefit. Half of respondents cited supporting improved compliance as a key benefit and 32 per cent pointed to improved efficiency and better support for field staff.

The report found there remains a fair way to go in achieving these benefits, with just a quarter of respondents laying claim to web-based portals or mobile apps that allow regulated entities to lodge applications and submit information directly. And just 14 per cent of regulated entities have systems that allow regulated entities – which are generally either small businesses or individuals – to provide online updates to or track the status of their applications.

The RegTech Association will bring government, regulators and RegTech companies together to present examples of successfully implemented regulatory technology programs at the RegTech for Better Government forum. You can register here.

Deborah Young is Chief Executive Officer at The RegTech Association.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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