The Swiss Federal Council has created a number of tools and committees to simplify dealings with public administration. Here is an overview.
New regulations sometimes hurt companies by increasing their administrative burden. Switzerland has set up an efficient system for analyzing its laws to ensure that SMEs are not slowed down by a cumbersome legal framework. All draft laws and orders are reviewed before being adopted to ensure that they do not increase the administrative burden for companies. Will a new directive create excessive bureaucracy and costs for SMEs? Will it hinder the course of business in any way? Once the Federal Council and Parliament have this analysis, they use it to guide them in their decision-making.
Tools for assessing administrative burden
Switzerland uses a number of different tools to assess the potential administrative burden a new regulation will create:
- Analysis of the Regulation's Impact (ARI). The ARI is used to assess the economic consequences of a new directive and to predict its impact on the administrative burden for companies. The analysis is carried out for draft laws and orders. It is performed by the federal office in charge of the draft legislation and is an important decision-making tool for the Federal Council and Parliament.
- SME compatibility test. The SME Test is an additional tool for assessing how a new law will affect SMEs. It is a qualitative survey conducted by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) among a pool of about ten SMEs. The idea is to observe on the ground how the future law will affect companies' day-to-day operations. Over the past few years, SECO has conducted several dozen SME Tests in a number of areas, from waste reduction to salary statements.
- Measuring administrative burden. Measuring administrative burden involves estimating the costs that a new regulation will create for companies. It also gives an indication as to the number of companies affected by the law. The results are based on extrapolations from company responses and estimates by specialists.
In the 2012 and 2014 editions of SECO's bureaucracy survey, companies were asked what they thought of the administrative burden created by regulations in different fields. In all fields combined, 54.2% of the companies surveyed in 2014 said the administrative burden was either high or very high. In 2012, however, that figure was 50.5%. The difference is not statistically significant, but just a trend. Companies feel the administrative burden has gotten more cumbersome globally over the past three years.