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Building more generative relationships around regulation in the UK

Through a Community of Practice with national and local regulators, and local public sector organisations and charities in the UK, we are co-creating spaces for building generative relationships, shared learning, and ways of working differently around regulation.

Why do we need to build generative relationships around regulation?

In their current form, clear, stable rules and regulations are important in a system that delivers the best outcomes possible for people. However, unless carefully nurtured, regulation can be understood in ways that distort culture, create tense relationships and shift the focus away from people’s safety and their needs. Both regulators and regulated organisations have vital roles in ensuring regulation helps create better outcomes.

Unless there is a generative relationship around regulation, the system may only promote compliance against prescribed metrics, rather than promoting the underlying purpose and value behind establishing those measures.

Moving away from score-keeping to sense-making

By building generative relationships around regulation, we move away from score-keeping to sense-making, where regulators and regulated organisations work together to build a culture of honesty, trust, open disclosure and shared discovery.

Through this they are able to prioritise learning and can reflect more accurately on the complexities of practice, for the delivery of better outcomes for people and places.

What will the Community of Practice do?

The Community of Practice comprises national and local regulators and local public sector organisations and charities across the UK. We wanted to bring together those on both sides of regulation - those who ensure it is being upheld and those whose work is guided by it - to explore how to work together in a different way.

CPI and Easier Inc. are supporting the learning journey of the Community of Practice, by:

Shared language

Helping to build a shared language that embeds enablement and learning into current narratives around evaluation and accountability.


Enabling sense-making and learning from the successes and challenges of diverse regulatory relationships across the world.


Facilitating the co-creation of local experiments that challenge the current regulatory paradigm, by enabling generative relationship-building between regulator and regulated organisations.

What members of the Community of Practice had to say

Many of the organisations in the community of practice joined because they saw a need to explore how to build more generative relationships around regulation and a change in behaviour needed from both sides. Many made strides in this direction but are keen to explore how to work in a different way:

“There is a notion that regulation is an adversarial relationship. We need to break that down. The real problem is in the narrative. We want to move to a world where we can inspire people to be better, over and above achieving compliance”

A regulator

“Regulatory relationships should be about mutual reinforcement of improvement; not just bringing everyone up to a certain level, but forging new ground collaboratively.”

A regulated organisation

“We have changed our inspection frameworks to be about professional dialogue and a less adversarial process. And we always stress it's not about compliance but about assurance that things are going ok. We want people to be comfortable with us being part of a peer group”. 

A regulator

“At the moment it is a summative process where you pass or fail, it would be good to have a formative process with discussions around what could be better, what works in other places - dialogue around moving forward rather than getting stuck on acceptability”. 

A regulated organisation

“We need to approach regulation more holistically, and from the point of view of those receiving services, because it is often the links between services where things fail, even if each service performs very well independently?”

A regulator

Interested in joining us?

If you work in a regulatory or regulated organisation, and are interested in joining us as we explore and experiment with relationships and roles around regulation, please complete the form below to register your interest.