LETTER:Who regulates the regulators?

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From Sir Peter Kemp

Sir: The Government may well be right to think that various regulators need to be more closely under parliamentary supervision ("Ministers consider regulator forum", 24 July). But it is surely wrong to consider putting them all under one single select committee.

The industries that are regulated are not homogeneous. In all sorts of ways, water is differentfrom telecommunications, which is different from gas, which is different from the National Lottery, which is different from electricity. The actions of the regulators need to be seen in the context of the particular job that the industry they regulate is there to do.

What this means is that the water regulator should be accountable to the Environment select committee, the gas, electricity and telecommunications regulators to the Trade and Industry select committee, the National Lottery regulator to whoever looks after the Department of National Heritage's business, and so on.

It may be that there are some common lessons to be learnt across the board as to the manner in which the regulators operate, and possibly even some economies of scale to be found. But that is all machinery. To brigade the regulators together for all purposes is to fall into the old trap of confusing process with results, and to lose track of what the regulators are really there to do.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Kemp

London, SE26

24 July