Better Regulation Delivery Office
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'Help us help you' plea from the red tape cutters
Businesses are being urged to do more to help themselves when it comes to cutting red tape after a national survey revealed that many firms are finding it harder going than ever.
The call comes from the public body responsible for simpler local regulation, LBRO, following research that found over a third of businesses (37 per cent) believe it’s taking more time than ever to comply with the rules.
According to the survey by the National Audit Office (NAO), although some aspects of complying with regulation have become less burdensome over the last year, few regard it as having become easier or less time-consuming.
LBRO Chair Clive Grace said: “Local and national Government is making genuine and determined efforts to simplify regulation and reduce the costs of compliance across a broad swathe of areas such as health and safety, environmental health and trading standards.
"We think business people can also do their bit to help themselves by engaging with a number of initiatives that will improve their relationships with local regulators, and make a significant reduction in the time and costs associated with compliance."
Businesses can take part in Primary Authority agreements, which bring together firms with multiple sites into partnership with a single local authority to handle all their regulatory responsibilities, saving duplication of effort between different authorities; time and money.
They can also take part in Trading Places, a kind of ‘get to know you’ project that encourages closer contact between businesses and their local regulators, and gives enforcement officers the opportunity to see the impact of their decisions by spending time with local companies.
Dr Grace said: "While there are undoubtedly grounds for simpler regulations and systems, the NAO’s report is about perceptions. If more businesses were to engage more fully with their regulators and get involved with these initiatives, I think some would see a big improvement in their experience.
"They should look on their local authority regulators as a source of help and advice. Honest businesses welcome good straightforward regulatory systems because they allow them to set themselves apart from that tiny number of operators who have no regard for safety, consumer protection or the environment."
The NAO survey found improvements since 2007 in businesses’ perceptions of individual aspects of complying with regulation. Fewer now find completing the relevant paperwork a burden, compared with 2007. However, the majority of businesses surveyed (over 60 per cent) thought the administration needed to demonstrate compliance was an obstacle - only one per cent felt that the effort of complying had become less time consuming in the last year.
Notes to Editors
1. The Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) helps local authorities improve their environmental health, trading standards, fire safety and licensing services – reducing burdens on businesses that comply with the law while targeting those who flout it. It was incorporated as a government-owned limited company in May 2007. Following the commencement of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 on 1 October 2008, it now operates as an executive non-departmental public body, accountable to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills through the Better Regulation Executive. LBRO is governed by an independent Board, has a staff of around 25 and is based in central Birmingham. Our remit covers the whole of the UK and we liaise closely with the devolved administrations to ensure our work in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is appropriate. For further information please visit www.lbro.org.uk
2. The LBRO Conference - ‘Working together for better local regulation’ will take place on the 19 November 2009 at the Hilton, London Metropole Hotel. This essential conference will explore national government’s vision for the future of better regulation policy. Delegates will hear from high level speakers including: Karren Brady, former Managing Director, Birmingham City Football Club; Ben Page, Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI UK and Ireland; and Geoffrey Podger, Chief Executive, Health and Safety Executive. To book your place at this event please visit: http://www.neilstewartassociates.com/sa257/
Local Better Regulation Office
Phone: 0121 226 4019
Phone: 0121 226 4038