The Rules Council should be terminated
Geir Pollestad (Centre Party) has found reality’s answers to the Soup Council. And in this case reality surpasses the parody, he believes.
The Leader of the Norwegian business and industry Committee in the Norwegian Parliament does not hesitate to describe the Rules council as a “crazy comedy”. Since the establishment in 2015, the Council has issued 66 consultation statements. Since then NOK 26 million has been allocated to operation, according to the Ministry of Finance.
– It amounts to a cost of almost NOK 400,000 per document to do a job that essentially does not lead to anything but more bureaucratic paperwork in public studies, says Pollestad to NTB.
The bureaucrats for the bureaucrats
The Government established the Rules Council to ensure that businesses are not subject to unnecessary burdens when new rules are imposed or when current ones are altered.
The purpose is In other words that a horde of bureaucrats are checking whether other bureaucrats have done their job properly. The statements are to boot followed by green, yellow or red cards. The Ministries are however not obliged to follow the advice, says Pollestad.
Surpasses the Supper Council
Pollestad believes that the Rules Council surpasses the legendary TV sketch the Supper Council.
In this case the parody the Soup Council is overshadowed by reality, he says.
The Soup Council from 1969 with the duo Wesensteen (Harald Heide-Steen Jr. and Rolv Wesenlund) first appeared in the NRK series “And thanks for that” (Og takk for det) – has remained as a unparalleled parody of unnecessary bureaucracy.
Pollestad emphasizes that, despite his flippant tone, he is dead serious:
– The Rules Council should be disbanded. The tasks they perform should be a bone marrow reflex for any Government Council and all the others in the ministries, says Pollestad.
Leader of the Rules Council, Sandra Riise, believes that they perform a necessary service.
– Pollestad has got it right that everyone should have this as a bone marrow reflex. The Auditor General, the Directorate for Administration and ICT (Difi) and the OECD have however all documented that the decision base is too weak in Norway. And this is the basis for decisions thare are to be made at the very topmost levels, Riise tells NTB.
– The Rules Council has been established after the OECD pointed out that Norway ought to consider introducing measures for better and more systematic control. The Rules Council is one such measure, she adds.
Pollestad maintains that a price of NOK 400,000 for each statement is a “mad missuse of public funds”. Riise does not agree that it is expensive. She indicates that there has been a cost related to establishing of a new organization, and that the Rules Council in addition to issuing statements also provides guidance, and that they must keep up with regulatory developments.
– There are a number of quality control systems in the Norwegian society, both in the private and public sectors. I would say few are as cheap as the Rules Council, Riise says.
The Grocery Portal
– Pollestad asks for tangible examples of statements that have been followed.
– An example is the Grocery Portal that was to compare prices and keep track of price development. We gave that a red card because we thought it would not achieve the goals and would cost a lot of money to establish. The portal was established nevertheless. Quite recently it was however discontinued because it did not function, says Riise.
After reading through the interview, Riise wishes to mention the following:
- Proposal for a ban on heating using mineral oil in agriculture and temporary buildings was reissued.
- A proposal to establish a landline owner’s register was postponed pending the forthcoming Broadband Development Act.
- The Rules Council’s input was taken into consideration in the proposal of the requirements for ships using fuel with a ignition point below 60 degrees Centigrade.
The Soup Council
In a market flooded by an infinite range of products, it may not be strange that the need for business councils is apparent. A visit is made to the Information Consultant Balle Clorin in the Norwegian Soup Council.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today