The Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) of the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) has published Professor Christopher Hodges’ paper Ethical Business Regulation: Understanding the Evidence. The paper was commissioned by BRDO after they considered the extensive materials in Prof Hodges’ recent book Law and Corporate Behaviour: Integrating Theories of Regulation, Enforcement, Compliance and Ethics (Hart Publishing, 2015).

Professor Hodges has been working for some time with BRDO, the Scottish Government, and a large number of regulators and enforcers in different sectors in the UK, both in researching the book and in taking ideas further. The new paper sets out his understanding of how the findings of behavioural psychology, widely supported by socio-legal research into responsive regulation and the policies and activities of many (but not all) regulators, suggest an approach to regulation and enforcement that offers significant potential in maximising compliance and supporting economic performance. A particular idea is to encourage the moves of many businesses towards Ethical Business Practice by recognising this in regulatory arrangements and enforcement actions. More detail on such matters is planned to be published in a further official document in a few months. Ongoing discussions, facilitated from Oxford, continue with regulators and businesses, and with various foreign governments.