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Red Tape Challenge asks inspectors to call

27 June 2011

Inspectors and enforcement officers from across the regulatory landscape are being asked to get involved in a new campaign aimed at improving regulation, whilst reducing burdens on businesses. The new drive is a direct result of comments already made by the public and enforcement officers as part of the Red Tape Challenge.

Mark Prisk
Mark Prisk

The Government want watchdogs to use their unique perspective to highlight where bad practice and conflicting advice is getting in the way of business and leading to wasted effort and duplication from regulators.

The new initiative asks the public and businesses:

  • Which aspects of enforcement do you find most difficult to deal with and how could things be done differently?
  • What impact do these problems have on your business?
  • Do regulators recognise where you have made efforts to comply? What more do you think could be done to ensure regulators take your efforts into account?
  • Is it easy for you to appeal or complain about the way regulations are enforced?
  • Do you have any examples of good "common sense" enforcement where you feel that a regulator has really done its best to understand and work around the realities you face as a business?
  • Is enforcement flexible enough to keep pace with the way your business is developing?

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

“Inspections and enforcement are the most noticeable ways in which business experiences regulation. The Red Tape Challenge has already been used to highlight a number of ways in which compliance problems are getting in the way of businesses, and leading to wasted effort from regulators who would like to take a more risk based approach to compliance but aren’t able to.

“I’d encourage everyone involved in enforcement to get involved in the Red Tape Challenge. You deal with these regulations and businesses who need to comply with them every day, so you’re uniquely placed to give honest and frank appraisal of where improvements can be made, without compromising the protection that the regulations were designed to provide.”

As part of the focus on enforcement, three powerful players in the business world have been appointed ‘sector champions’, encouraging businesses and regulators to get involved in the Red Tape Challenge. They are: Martin Traynor, Chief Executive of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, Simon Topman, Chief Executive of Acme Whistles and Sir William Sargent, former Chair of the Better Regulation Executive.

Sir William Sargent said:

“Between 2005 and 2009 I was Executive Chair of the Government’s Better Regulation Executive. We set in train a period of genuine change to the regulatory systems in this country, which I am pleased to see continuing via the Red Tape Challenge.

I’m hoping that our work as Sector Champions for Regulatory Enforcement will help facilitate innovative ways for regulators to improve their processes, but I will also be challenging the business community to take this project to heart and tell us how they and the regulators can build genuine partnerships.”

The Government also announced plans to cut down on bad examples of enforcement with the publication of a set of principles which all regulators should follow. The document looks to put common sense and strong communication at the centre of Government’s approach to enforcement and asks if more can be done to reduce the compliance burden on businesses.

The plans will reduce red tape and free businesses to concentrate on economic growth by recognising the efforts that businesses have made to comply. They will also encourage them to use their knowledge and experience to improve how enforcement works on the front line.

The Government also wants to encourage a new trusting relationship between regulators and businesses which will allow the regulator to target their resources on higher risk organisations where they are most needed.

Mark Prisk said:

”By creating a new relationship between regulators and businesses that is based on trust, common sense and strong communication we can improve how enforcement works on the front line: reducing bureaucracy, getting Government out of people’s way and letting businesses concentrate on economic growth.”

As part of the package the Government published its consultation on the future of the Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) and extending the Primary Authority scheme.

The plans under consultation will see the LBRO abolished as a public body and reconstituted as part of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. As well as delivering Primary Authority, the new body will provide advice to central government on its work on regulatory delivery and provide a forum for business to have their say at the heart of the regulatory system, providing an important link between businesses, central government and regulators.

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