This section provides further information on a subject introduced earlier in this module, namely the selection process for applicants for individual licences.
To increase confidence in the licensing process, it is important to build as much transparency and certainty as possible into the selection process. There are a number of ways that regulators can enhance transparency and certainty.
To build transparency and certainty, the guide to the licensing process should describe the selection mechanism that will be used. It should also outline the selection criteria and the weight given to each criterion. The guide should include a coherent and complete set of selection procedures that will be followed in the selection process. All steps of the process should be outlined and any required action of applicants at each step should be noted.
The guide to the licensing process should also address various contingencies that are frequently encountered. For example, it is helpful if the guide specifies the procedures that will be followed if there is a tie in the selection process. Understandably, not all contingencies can be addressed. If the selection process takes an unexpected turn, transparency and certainty can be maintained by consulting openly with applicants about the unanticipated circumstances and communicating clearly the proposed course of action.
The major steps in the selection process should be clearly identified. These may include: if there is a qualification phase, the announcement of the decision on which applicants have successfully qualified to advance to the selection phase of the process; the deadline for submitting questions about the licensing process; the date on which the regulator’s questions of clarification regarding submitted applications will be issued; the deadline for replying to questions of clarification; the date on which the successful applicant will be announced; the deadline for the successful applicant to confirm acceptance of the licence; and date on which the licence will be issued. A Practice Note in this module discusses the steps of selection processes in a comparative perspective.
Transparency and certainty may also be fostered by specifying to applicants all the materials that must be submitted for review during the selection process, as well as the acceptable form for submission of these materials. It is helpful to provide applicants with a “compliance list” that summarizes all the required materials to be submitted, cross-referenced to the relevant portion of the guide to the licensing process. The regulator may require that the applicant submit this list with its application in a form that identifies where each of the required materials may be found in the application package.
The selection process concludes with the award of licence. It is a good practice to specify when and where the award of licence will be announced. It is also good practice to require the successful applicant to confirm its acceptance of the award of licence in writing within a prescribed amount of time. If the successful applicant is required to comply with any conditions before the licence is issued (e.g., the payment of a licence fee), such requirements should be clearly identified.