In November 2014, the AER launched a project to help identify the key attributes of an excellent regulator, understand how the AER can adopt these attributes, and measure our progress. To ensure it was done well, we turned to the experts at the internationally renowned Penn Program on Regulation (PPR) at the University of Pennsylvania.
In fall 2015, PPR released its final peer-reviewed report, entitled Listening, Learning, and Leading: A Framework for Regulatory Excellence. The framework provided a general model, one that had to be adapted to reflect the unique work of different regulators.
Following the release of the PPR report, AER met with Albertans, indigenous people, stakeholders, and AER employees to test our own understanding of the framework, to make sure we got it right, and to develop a made-in-Alberta version model for regulatory excellence. We discussed the model and the core attributes and asked for honest feedback on how we were performing against the existing framework and where we could improve.
We learned that specific areas in the model needed to adapt to reflect Alberta’s unique circumstances, and we heard loud and clear that we must measure our performance and deliver on outcomes to achieve excellence.
The model provides clear definitions of the AER’s attributes for excellence: utmost integrity, empathic engagement, and stellar competence. It also outlines how we can put those attributes into action as we adopt consistent processes, build a strong culture, engage indigenous people and stakeholders, and make risk-informed decisions. In turn, this will allow us to drive industry behaviour, and protect public safety and the environment, while still pursuing economic benefits.
We still have a lot of work to do to; this model will guide all of our work, starting with our internal management. The AER created the Centre of Regulatory Excellence to improve our competencies in key areas such as engagement and technical training.
We will continue to work with people across the province, both inside and outside our doors, as we put this model into action.