Commitment to good regulatory practice

ARPANSA strives to implement best practice in the regulation of nuclear installations, radiation facilities and sources.

We are guided by the principles of best practice set out in the Australian National Audit Office Better Practice Guide for Administering Regulation (March 2007) as well as other key regulatory guidance documents such as those published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). We are also guided by benchmarking against our domestic and international regulatory counterparts.

International best practice in radiation protection and nuclear safety must be taken into account in any licensing decision. To fulfill this requirement ARPANSA has regard to international conventions, codes of practice, safety standards and guides developed by the IAEA and other international agencies, as well as contemporary practices around the world.

An effective regulatory body must strive to minimise regulatory burden and maximise regulatory compliance. An efficient regulatory body must manage its work load, set timeframes for decision making and inform applicants and licence holders of the progress of an issue under consideration. ARPANSA recognises the importance of such issues and these are uppermost in ARPANSA’s consideration of regulatory policy.

In January 2015, ARPANSA introduced a new Delivery Model to improve regulatory effectiveness and efficiency, including increased use of risk-based oversight and risk-informed decision-making. The document described how limited resources could be optimised whilst enhancing radiation and nuclear safety. It also detailed a rigorous approach to inspection.  The philosophy of the Delivery Model has been translated into current regulatory policy and processes.  The document (revised in December 2015) is provided here for reference purposes.

See also Policy for ARPANSA’s regulatory activities

PDF icon Regulatory Delivery Model - Regulatory Services - December 2015
Microsoft Office document icon Regulatory Delivery Model - Regulatory Services - December 2015


Regulatory processes are managed within a quality system by the Regulatory Services Branch. This provides assurance to stakeholders that regulatory processes are open and accountable and services are provided in an effective and efficient manner and subject to continuous improvement. The quality system is consistent with ARPANSA’s Quality System which is being updated to meet the requirements of AS/NZS ISO 9001:2015.  ARPANSA’s inspection policy, procedures and program are consistent with ISO/IEC 17020 Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection (2012).   

Regulator Performance Framework

In late 2014, the Australian Government introduced the Regulator Performance Framework as part of its Cutting Red Tape initiative. Commonwealth regulators that administer, monitor or enforce regulation are required to implement the Framework. Regulators are required to report on the outcomes of their efforts to administer regulation fairly, effectively and efficiently. It allows them to identify opportunities for improvement, to reduce compliance costs and better target resources for greater impact.

Under the Framework, ARPANSA is required to undertake an annual self-assessment against the following six key performance indicators:

  1. Regulators do not unnecessarily impede the efficient operation of regulated entities
  2. Communication with regulated entities is clear, targeted and effective
  3. Actions undertaken by regulators are proportionate to the risk being managed
  4. Compliance and monitoring approaches are streamlined and coordinated
  5. Regulators are open and transparent in their dealings with regulated entities
  6. Regulators actively contribute to the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks.

ARPANSA is required to publish a report on the outcomes of each annual self-assessment and any external reviews of its performance. These reports will identify the extent to which ARPANSA is achieving the performance indicators in the Framework and highlight areas for improvement. The performance indicator evidence metrics ARPANSA will use to undertake this self-assessment can be found at Evidence metrics in the Regulator Performance Framework.

For more information on our annual self-assessments of regulatory performance, see Regulator Performance Framework.