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Step 1. The Focus Group

This first step consists of stakeholder or colleague consultation in order to get a comprehensive view of possible regulatory bottlenecks. These consultations will enable you to collect indications and detailed information directly from professionals. Those professionals can encounter a regulatory bottleneck in their daily work practice.


For example someone working in a waste processing plant who has to work with the waste framework directive. This person might identify several bottlenecks concerning waste.



A suggested method to identify these bottlenecks is a focus group. In this focus group, professionals from a wide range of policy area’s and different professional roles are invited. The focus group aims to collect as many examples, issues or bottlenecks as possible. It is, therefore, crucial to creating conditions during such a brainstorm which encourage candid responses from participants. There are several possibilities to structure such a focus group. In the BRIGHT-tool, we recommend two different forms of input collection:

Focus group across policy areas

The aim of a focus group across policy areas is to collect input from a diverse group of participants on several subjects which may have EU regulatory bottlenecks.

Focus group in a specific policy area

The aim of a focus group in a specific policy area is to collect bottlenecks from a particular group of participants who are knowledgeable or have experience with a specific subject but have different professional roles.


Collect and evaluate

When the focus group session has brought up an adequate amount of input, it is important to briefly discuss the main findings from the brainstorm (regardless of the format) in a plenary with all participants. During this plenary, the following questions should be asked and reflected on: Do all participants recognise the bottlenecks identified? And is it a problem that could be resolved? This concluding aspect of a brainstorm ensures that the bottlenecks brought forward are widely held, tangible, issues that warrant further investigation. This way, you can preemptively eliminate irrelevant bottlenecks.

For example, if the concluding plenary session establishes that a certain bottleneck related to a certain waste criteria is not widely-held nor recognized, it might nog be a suitable bottleneck to pursue.


To do: Host a focus group session.


Organizing collected bottlenecks

After the conclusion of the focus group, you will likely have a broad spectrum of bottlenecks. It is, however, not uncommon to organise multiple focus group sessions to extend the range and number of bottlenecks or to expand on a number of already identified bottlenecks.

This wide spectrum of bottlenecks could be related to vastly different legal texts originating from national law, EU law or other sources. As such, it essential to structure the received input and bottlenecks in such a way to get a clear outline. One approach to structure a vast number of bottlenecks and issues is to make use of framework tables. Such a table can, for example, organise bottlenecks by subject matter and related (EU) legal text. An example of an early preliminary table is added below. You are of course free to design your approach to structure the collected bottlenecks. It is essential that a preliminary structuring exercise of all accumulated input has been executed before further in-depth work on the collected bottlenecks is done. This ensures an efficient process and a measured selection of suitable bottlenecks which could be submitted in the EU Better Regulation Agenda.


To do: Structure the bottlenecks you have collected in a framework table


Categorisation and selection can achieve additional structuring of collected bottlenecks in such framework tables. This process of selection and categorisation is explained in more detail in the next steps of the BRIGHT-tool. A necessary first step in selecting is to assess whether the collected bottlenecks are appropriate for the EU Better Regulation Agenda and by extension for the BRIGHT-tool. This is explained in step 2.