OFT: The consultation draft of the OFT's Annual Plan 2008-09 has been published and the OFT is seeking comments from interested parties (by 18 February 2008) on the objectives and priorities set out in the plan.
BERR: The Chancellor has launched a major review of business health & safety laws which will look at how the H&S system can be revamped, focussing on small and low risk businesses. Many small employers have limited resources, find it difficult to work out what broad health & safety duties mean for their workplace and are unsure of when to take advice and from whom.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently published its 2007 simplification plan and has already claimed to have reduced the number of forms by 50%.
Anyone who wishes their views to be heard has until 31 January 2008to send a response. A series of events will be held around the country to allow people the opportunity to give their views in person (contact Ben.Davison@berr.gsi.gov.uk or call +44 (0)207 215 0278).
Press release ~ Improving Outcomes from Health and Safety: A Call for Evidence ~ HSE 2007 simplification plan ~ Next Steps on Regulatory Reform
DCMS: Managers of licensed premises may get a reprieve from having to apply & pay for an amended licence if they are only making a slight change to the way their business is run, as long as there is no impact on the licensing objectives, if the public supports proposals set out in a new consultation (closes 20 February 2008), which offers up three options.
Currently any small change to the way a licensed premise is run, such as small scale refurbishment, choosing to serve food in a pub or hosting an acoustic night for local musicians, can only be achieved through the full 'variation' process - at an average cost of £385 per variation.
Press release ~ Legislative Reform Order: Proposal to Introduce a Simplified Process for Minor Variations to Premises Licences and Club Premises Certificates ~ Licensing Act 2003
MoJ: Reforms to modernise the tribunals system in England & Wales have been set out in a consultation by the Ministry of Justice (closes 22 February 2008). The reform of the system began in April 2006 with the creation of the Tribunals Service, which brought together the administration of central government tribunals in a single system.
Transforming Tribunals: Implementing Part 1 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 brings the tribunal reform story up to date, explains how the tribunals system is to be organised & supported in future and seeks views on the way ahead. It also considers some of the other areas where further reforms are planned, such as in tax, and land, property & housing appeals.
Press release ~ Transforming Tribunals: Implementing Part 1 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 ~ Tribunals Service ~ Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007
HA: The Highways Agency has started a public consultation (closes on 21 February 2008) over proposals to allow Traffic Officers (TOs) to remove broken down or abandoned vehicles from the strategic road network, which includes England's motorways and major A roads. The powers that would be given to TOs would be similar to those already exercised by the police.
The proposal for the new legislation aims to:
* provide TOs with powers to request or remove vehicles causing an obstruction or danger to other road users
* provide the Sec. of State with powers to store & dispose of abandoned vehicles removed by TOs
* allow the Sec. of State to recover charges in respect of vehicles removed, stored or disposed of
Press release ~ The Removal, Storage and Disposal of Vehicles by Traffic Officers and the Secretary of State for Transport
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has launched a consultation (closes 7 March 2008) on the social values that underpin its guidance. The issues discussed in the draft range from the often controversial: ‘should social background or lifestyle choices ever influence the decisions that NICE makes?’ to matters such as: ‘what sort of recommendations should NICE make when the evidence is weak?’.
These are some of the social value judgements that NICE might need to consider when making decisions about the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of interventions.
MPS: The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) and Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) are undertaking a major improvement programme for the Metropolitan Police estate. Plans to modernise police facilities are to be published for each of the capital's 32 boroughs and will offer local communities the unique opportunity to make their voices heard in the drive to make the police service more responsive to their needs.
An Asset Management Plan (AMP) for each borough will outline the local strategy to improve facilities, including the provision of front counters, patrol bases, custody centres, Safer Neighbourhoods team bases and office accommodation, as well as ensuring the buildings are fully accessible in line with legislation.
Borough Asset Management Plans will be made available as they are completed for publication on the MPA website. They will also available under each individual borough's webpage on the MPS website.