Joint institutions

This is a step beyond harmonisation per se, where two or more economies jointly establish and own or govern an institution that provides regulatory functions on behalf of all the participating economies.

Those functions could include:

  • Operating a common or separate regulatory regime, including providing regulatory approvals, monitoring and enforcement
  • Joint standards development
  • Provision of conformity assessment services.

Joint institutions are a relatively uncommon form of international regulatory cooperation but could be a good option in particular cases.

Benefits and risks

Benefits include sharing scarce resources and achieving economies of scale

The benefits of joint institutions include:

  • Enabling the sharing of resources. This is particularly valuable where technical expertise is in short supply.
  • Achieving economies of scale, particularly where smaller countries club together.
  • Ensuring consistency of approach, where the joint institution operates a common regulatory regime.

Risks include differences in underlying legal frameworks and ensuring accountability

Joint institutions can pose some unique design challenges, including:

  • Differences in the underlying policy and legal frameworks in each country, even when apparently similar, can create issues around the particular policy and regulatory functions that the joint institution will carry out
  • Working through how to best apply public management disciplines and accountabilities to a joint institution, given that domestic public management systems are similar in intent but inevitably different in detail.

For more information on the design issues encountered in the New Zealand-Australia initiatives:

Views from the Inside no 1: Arrangements for facilitating trans-Tasman government institutional co-operation [PDF, 988KB](external link)

Case studies

Case study: Cooperating through the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand

This case study looks at the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ).

Cooperation through joint institutions like JAS-ANZ is rare internationally. Such organisations can be more challenging to establish and operate, given they’re accountable to more than one government. They generally require a strong and enduring commitment from the participating countries. They also require special legally binding agreements

Cooperating through the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand