Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Better Regulation Reviews Into Companies House And Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate.

New reports from the Better Regulation Executive have found that Companies House and the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate (EAS) have made, or are taking, positive steps in putting better regulation principles into practice.

The reports, part of a series of reviews of national regulators, examined how Companies House and EAS matched up to the principles of effective regulation set out by Philip Hampton in 2005.

Companies House, which collects and disseminates information on registered companies in the UK, is considered a leader in terms of the provision of clear, accessible, authoritative and user-friendly guidance. Its report found that it had set a good standard of compliance with Hampton’s principles, offering examples of best practice in a number of areas. The report team considered it a highly transparent organisation with a clear sense of purpose and of the outcomes it is working to achieve.

EAS, which regulates around 17,000 employment and recruitment agencies, has emerged from a period of well managed and focused change, the report found. The organisation has a clear sense of purpose that is understood well by staff and stakeholders alike. It faces a number of challenges but is moving in the right direction, developing risk-based practices to address sectors that cause persistent problems, such as model and entertainment agencies.

Notes for editors

The Better Regulation Executive’s full reports on Companies House and EAS can be found at www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/bre/inspection-enforcement/implementing-principles/reviewing-regulators/HIR%20Reports/page52313.html 
Companies House was created following the 1844 Companies Act and became an Executive Agency of the then DTI in 1988. Its core remit is the registration and provision of company information.
The Employment Agency Standards inspectorate was created in 1976 with the aim of raising standards in the industry and ensuring compliance with employment rights, especially for vulnerable agency workers.
The review teams were drawn from the Better Regulation Executive within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and from government and the regulatory sector, including the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Drinking Water Inspectorate and Natural England.
The Hampton Implementation Review process, that will examine a total of 31 national regulators, follow two independent reports by Sir Philip Hampton and Professor Richard Macrory on making inspection and enforcement of regulation more effective.
The Hampton Review in 2005 - led by Sir Philip Hampton - recommended an end to the one size fits all approach to regulation and that regulators should take a risk-based approach to enforcement and information gathering. Among its findings were that regulators should carry out inspections only when needed and avoid unnecessary form-filling and duplication of effort or information.

In 2006 Professor Richard Macrory's review of penalties for failure to comply with regulatory obligations recommended that regulators should focus on outcomes, rather than action. He recommended that sanctions should be aimed at changing the behaviour of non-compliant businesses and eliminating any financial gain from non-compliance.

Examples of how individuals and businesses are benefiting from changes to regulation can be found on www.betterregulation.gov.uk. The site also invites suggestions for what else can be done to reduce red tape.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


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