Auditing regulatory frameworks for urban development and housing: A new service in strengthening institutional effectiveness in developing countries

Action based on international regulatory frameworks research

Geoffrey Payne and Associates is pleased to announce a new service to help central and local government agencies responsible for urban development and housing policies to strengthen their effectiveness and reduce the need for future slums and informal settlements.

Extensive international research conducted over the last four years in six countries has shown that a major factor in the growth of informal settlements is the way in which urban planning regulations, standards and administrative practices make it difficult for many households, especially the poor, to conform to legal requirements.

The research confirms that audits of the regulatory frameworks for urban housing and planning can identify specific constraints. The removal or relaxation of these constraints can increase public sector influence over urban development, reduce poverty and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

We are pleased to offer a range of options to government agencies interested in carrying out regulatory audits of official requirements for urban planning and housing provision. These include:

Workshops to show how to undertake a regulatory audit based on local conditions and resources
Carrying out a regulatory audit together with local professionals
Providing a monitoring and evaluation service to assess the impact of changes to existing regulatory regimes
Providing specially designed training programmes for urban development and housing agencies
Providing a cost effective back-up service

The benefits of the workshops for government agencies include:

Increased efficiency and effectiveness of urban management structures
Learning how to attract and guide inward and local investment and maximise public revenues through regulatory reform
Identify options for dealing with, and reducing the future need for, unauthorised settlements
Identify options for facilitating efficient housing delivery and land management systems
Help the poor access improved housing, services and credit
Creating an opportunity for informal discussions between public, private and community sector groups on constraints and options for change in local regulatory regimes
Providing training for staff in urban development and housing agencies so that they can train others in methods for reviewing, transforming and monitoring regulatory regimes
Advice on finding and securing funding from international donors

Regulatory audits include:

  • Training local partners in how to undertake a regulatory audit
  • Reviewing all aspects of the local regulatory frameworks including standards, regulations, administrative procedures and institutional structures
  • Evaluating the costs of and constraints to accessing legal housing represented by the regulatory framework
  • Identifying areas in which the regulatory framework can be made more inclusive, efficient and effective in order to reduce the need for unauthorised settlements
  • Generating policy recommendations on reducing constraints in the regulatory framework to accessing affordable legal housing
  • Providing training and capacity building for local partners to implement policy recommendations


Workshop programmes

In addition to being able to carry out regulatory audits with local teams we can provide a range of training workshops and monitoring programmes tailored to individual client needs

Introductory 2 day workshop:

  • Presentation and discussion on key roles for regulatory frameworks – The Pros and Cons
  • The impacts of regulatory frameworks on urban and national development, land and housing markets, and investment
  • The social implications of regulatory frameworks, particularly for the poor, women and other vulnerable groups
  • Key lessons from the international projects on options to improve efficiency of land and housing markets
  • Training in principles and procedures of regulatory audits
  • Presentation and discussion on the roles of different agencies and groups in reviews of regulatory regimes
  • Methods training – What, Why and How
  • A discussion on what information needs to be collected

Training and briefing on;

– Identifying stakeholders
– Secondary data and cataloguing regulations, standards and procedures
– Household surveys and profiling
– Interviews
– Focus group discussions
– Workshops
– Other Tools
– How to catalogue, present and analyse the data

Review policy implications and options

Full 4 day workshop

The 4 day workshop includes the activities outlined in the introductory workshop. Additional activities could include:

  • Visits to informal settlements by workshop participants
  • Practical training using simulation exercises and pilot reviews
  • Designing and implementing a questionnaire or focus group discussion in selected settlements
  • Completing a regulatory matrix using information collected locally
  • Preparing reports and presentations on findings
  • Reviewing policy implications


All workshops and training programmes will be tailor-made to suit local needs and conditions.

Geoffrey Payne and Associates have extensive international experience on undertaking regulatory audits and providing professional training courses and workshops.

To discuss any of these options in more detail or if you wish to receive more information about other services provided by Geoffrey Payne and Associates, please get in touch via our contact page.