How can we make it easier for firms that operate across digital regulatory boundaries to do business? This is a question we’ve been exploring this year by undertaking research with innovators. Below, we set out the findings from our recent research and how we will be working with the UK government to put our learnings into practice. We are preparing to pilot a new service, the DRCF ‘AI and Digital Hub’, to support innovators navigating multiple regulatory regimes.
This year, with funding from the Regulatory Pioneer's Fund , the DRCF commissioned research to consider how we can help innovators test their ideas. The research included engagement with a range of innovators – both new and established firms, large and small – in a variety of sectors. What we heard was consistent: innovators of cutting-edge technologies, like large language models or digital identity, want streamlined access to joined-up, tailored regulatory support to help them bring new products and services to market.
We are now keen to put the learnings from this research into practice. With support from the UK government, as part of its plans to design and deliver an AI regulatory framework, we will pilot a new multi-regulator service to support innovators seeking responses to their complex, cross-regulatory questions: the DRCF 'AI and Digital Hub'. We expect to launch this pilot in the first half of 2024 for a 12-month pilot.
The service will address questions that cross multiple regulatory remits. Successful applicants will be able to direct their questions to DRCF regulators through a single point of access and receive tailored support.
Our aim is that this service will increase innovators’ confidence to launch innovative digital and AI products in a safe way and reduce the time that it takes for innovators to bring products and services to market. All firms will be able to benefit from the support that we provide through an accompanying case study archive. This will comprise anonymised examples of support provided to individual firms and other relevant material from across the DRCF members that innovators might find useful.
We’ll be providing more information, including details of how to apply to the hub, later this year.
About the DRCF
The Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF) supports cooperation between the CMA, FCA, ICO and Ofcom on digital regulation. It facilitates coherence where there is interplay between regulatory regimes, collaboration to meet shared challenges, and shared development of capabilities in digital regulation.
The DRCF helps resolve potential or existing issues and coordination concerns across regulators’ different digital remits, creating a more joined-up, efficient and agile regulatory landscape. This benefits businesses by ensuring that regulation is simplified and coherent, while consumers can have confidence that innovative digital products and services are underpinned by strong and effective regulatory regimes.
The DRCF is a voluntary cooperation forum that facilitates engagement between regulators on digital policy areas of mutual interest. It is not a statutory or incorporated entity and does not provide formal advice or direction to member regulators, who remain individually accountable for the delivery of their functions.
 This project has been made possible by a grant from the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund launched by the former Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in November 2022.