Local Better Regulation Office
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Primary Authority scheme in line for expansion
Ministers have asked the Better Regulation Executive to work with LBRO - the technical expert on better local regulation - to prepare options for extending the Primary Authority scheme.
For companies operating under two or more local councils, Primary Authority provides reliable and consistent advice from a single source when dealing with environmental health, trading standards, health and safety, and licensing services.
Eighty-six businesses covering more than 20,000 premises currently have a primary authority partnership with a local authority, as a gateway to simpler, more successful local regulation, based on new relationships
LBRO Chairman Clive Grace said: "The scheme has more than proved itself in a wide range of sectors, particularly in retail where there has been a significant take up by large, high profile brands; Argos and Homebase, Debenhams and Selfridges among them.
"It is established in areas such as trading standards, food safety and hygiene and metrology, and now we are seeing significant demand from business to extend the scope into fire safety, alcohol sales and gambling.
"Business would also like to see strengthened inspection plans to make the system even more efficient, along with strong steps towards earned recognition. At present, the same system or products can be inspected by all 433 local authorities, even if their own procedures have been approved by the primary authority."
Businesses can run the risk of prosecution, even if they follow official advice, if local inspectors disagree about how to interpret regulations. This can also result in discrepancies in protection for consumers, workers and the environment.
The operation of Primary Authority is the statutory responsibility of LBRO, which registers partnerships, issues guidance and resolves any disputes that arise.