Centralization in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia: What’s new in Ascend Magazine

Ascend Magazine’s latest content digest explores the trend of self-sabotage in regulatory board meetings, the power of centralization as a tool to streamline the work of regulation, and much more.

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All around the world, regulators in the health care field have taken notice from the pandemic that responding to public health emergencies often requires a serious top-down approach. Centralizing regulatory bodies (or creating “umbrella organizations”) can streamline decision-making and make it easier for officials to create surge workforces in times of need. 

The concept of regulatory centralization has been a common thread throughout the last month of Ascend Magazine’s coverage. In our two-part Q&A series with Ronne Hines, we discussed the purview of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) and how the organization has evolved since its formation in 1968.  

We also looked at the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the blueprint it has offered to regulators currently operating under state- and territory-based arrangements. How can governments centralize local agencies into one multi-jurisdictional body in a way that keeps public protection at the forefront? What does the process look like? 

We also heard from Harry Cayton on procedural obstacles to the work of regulation, and how some regulatory boards and committees unwittingly employ tactics from a WWII-era field manual for civilian saboteurs. We cover all this and more in the latest monthly digest from Ascend Magazine. 

A conversation with Ronne Hines

Formed in 1968, Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is an umbrella organization comprised of 10 separate divisions, over 312 board members, and over 600 professional regulatory staff. It oversees the regulation of more than 500,000 licensees, registrants, certificants, and permit holders for more than 55 professions, occupations, and businesses. 

Despite its broad scope as a regulatory agency, DORA follows one simple underlying mandate – to ensure consumer protection in many different industries throughout Colorado. Even though every profession is unique, recognizing the commonalities between different fields allows regulators to orchestrate top-down approaches that increase bureaucratic efficiency and better protect the public interest. 

In Part 1 of Paul Leavoy’s discussion with Ronne Hines, formerly from DORA, we review Hines’s work at the agency, her tenure as president of the Council on Licensure, Enforcement, and Regulation (CLEAR), the benefits and concerns of regulatory centralization, and much more. In Part 2, we look at what regulators can do to address labor shortages, digitalization in the wake of COVID-19, and what regulatory resilience may look like moving forward. Listen to the full Ascend Radio episode here. 

How boards, councils, and committees unwittingly employ the Simple Sabotage Field Manual

In 1944, the U.S.’s Office of Strategic Services created the “Simple Sabotage Field Manual” – a publication outlining subtle tactics for citizens in Nazi-occupied territories to disrupt and slow down daily processes within the German state apparatus. It attempts to teach its readers how to use strategic incompetence as a tool of sabotage. 

In Harry Cayton’s latest Voices column for Ascend, we look at the advice outlined in the Simple Sabotage Field Manual and the ways regulatory bodies and committees unwittingly follow its example despite their perhaps earnest efforts to work efficiently to protect the public interest.  

From deferring decisions to putting procedure before outcome, getting caught up over semantics, and beyond, many would do well to notice the ways progress is stifled in the day-to-day work of regulation and to avoid this disruption moving forward, writes Cayton 

From concept to community: Ascend Magazine one year later

When we founded Ascend Magazine, we sought out to create a niche in the digital publishing space to discuss the ins and outs of government regulation at the federal, state, and local levels. We looked for the thematic links that bind regulators across different fields and industries, and we sought to investigate the ever-changing role of digital technology in the public sector.  

One year later, Ascend has established itself as a trusted source of insight into the way regulators everywhere do their daily work to protect the public interest. Thanks to our hardworking team of writers and our wealth of contributions from high-level experts in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia, Ascend Magazine continues to illuminate what exactly goes on behind the scenes of regulation. 

In our one-year retrospective, Editor-in-Chief Paul Leavoy reviews Ascend Magazine’s founding ethic and the ground we’ve covered in fields like AI, cryptocurrency, cybersecurity, licensing reform, and many others. We also revisit pieces from contributors like Dr. Marie Bismark, NCSBN CEO David Benton, and U.K. regulatory leader Harry Cayton, to name a few. We also look to the future, touching on new topics and fields of coverage as well as our recently launched Week in Brief Podcast.  

Regulatory centralization in health care: What can we learn from the Australian model?

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) offers a rare example of real transformative change in the world of health care regulation. In 2010, dozens of state- and territory-based licensing arrangements throughout the country were replaced by one national health registration scheme. Professionals could now practice freely throughout Australia without applying for additional certification. 

As the world recovers from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments everywhere are considering how best to prepare themselves for the next public health emergency. There is an argument to be made that, by centralizing their systems in a similar manner, regulators could more easily create surge workforces and address pressing issues quickly, from the top down. 

In Jordan Milian’s latest piece for Ascend, we look at the trend of regulatory centralization in the field of health care around the world. We break down the high-level arguments for and against agency consolidation, exploring the push for it in the U.S. (and the stakeholders involved in this push) as well as already-existing examples of centralization in countries like the U.K.  

More from Ascend Magazine

To learn more about recent day-to-day happenings in the world of regulation and digital government, catch up on the most recent installments of our weekly regulatory briefing: 


And be sure to check our brand-new Week in Brief Podcast, in which Ascend Editor-in-Chief Paul Leavoy and Sarah Rivin, Government Affairs Manager at Thentia, offer quick weekly summaries of the biggest stories in regulation and digital government. 

Want to stay up to date on the latest developments in the world of regulation, digital government, and professional licensing? Make sure to subscribe to Ascend Magazine for news, insight, and more. 

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