20 February 2015
Better regulation enforcement is saving business £40 million each year.
The Focus on Enforcement review programme, which asks firms to identify poor enforcement practices that hold them back, has benefited around one million businesses and boosted growth in nine vital sectors of the economy from coastal developments to childcare, according to the government.
In addition, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) states that this builds on government action to scrap or reform regulatory rules – saving firms some £10 billion over this Parliament.
Regulators including the Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency and Food Standards Agency responded to ‘Focus on Enforcement’ reviews with major reforms which have been welcomed by trade bodies across the country. Problems they have addressed include the following:
Smaller chemicals companies were being advised by some trade associations not to grow due to the increased regulatory burdens this would entail. Clearer advice from regulators is now encouraging growth and joined-up planning between regulators is reducing burdens on business.
Law-abiding businesses had to spend up to six hours with a fire inspector ticking boxes. Now audits for premises with a good record have been significantly shortened (typically lasting only 45 minutes) enabling managers to get back to the day job.
Many providers of childcare believed they were required to grapple with over 1,100 pages of guidance. They are now being efficiently directed to just 33 pages of need-to-know advice.
Chemicals companies were asked to foot the bill for inspections, without knowing what they were paying for – now the regulator has set out what they can expect for their money, like any paying customer.
Coastal developments were delayed as investors were bogged down in dealing with multiple public authorities. They are now able to deal with a single point of contact offering a faster, streamlined service which is enabling them to invest.
Community volunteers were getting put off by guidance which focused on problems not solutions. A new ‘Can Do’ guide to what the law actually says, along with a new Department for Communities and Local Government guide to street parties is making it easier for communities to carry on their good work without wasting time and money.
Vince Cable, Secretary of State for BIS, said: ‘By working with businesses to clear away costly and time-consuming bureaucracy, we are making it easier for firms to focus on what really matters and to plan for the long term, creating stronger growth and more jobs.’