By Daniel Hunter
A review of the way that appeals are handled by regulators launched today (Friday) is the first stage of a new wave of bureaucracy busting measures announced by the Government, Business Minister Michael Fallon confirmed.
Businesses and other interested parties will have a chance to take part in a review of the effectiveness of appeals mechanisms operated by national and local regulators.
The Focus on Enforcement Appeals Review will give those affected the opportunity to talk about their experiences of formal and informal appeals processes, and suggest how they could be made to work more effectively, providing a swifter route to resolution and better industry understanding.
The review will also gather examples of approaches that have successfully helped businesses understand regulators’ decisions and meet their obligations more effectively.
“We have started a bonfire of excessive red tape, but I know that it is just as important that we look at the way that regulations are enforced," Business Minister Michael Fallon said.
“There is room for far more effective enforcement which reduces the burden on business which stick to the rules. Despite best efforts, sometimes things can go wrong — that has become clear from previous Focus on Enforcement Reviews. So I want to hear views on how we can improve the way appeals currently work.
“Greater clarity and trust between regulators and businesses will lead to better enforcement of the law and higher standards across the board.”
The latest review follows a package of new measures announced at the Autumn Statement to tackle systemic problems with the way regulations are enforced and cut the unnecessary red tape and burdens that companies have to deal with. These include:
· A consultation on placing a legislative duty on non-economic regulators to have regard to growth and take into account the economic impacts of their actions;
· A new accounting system for regulators, so that in future regulators will have to publish impact assessments for prior consultation, scrutiny and challenge by industry, of the impacts of all changes in their activities that have a significant (positive and negative) financial impact on business;
· A consultation on an amended Regulators’ Compliance Code to ensure regulators are internally and geographically consistent, give consideration to earned recognition, and offer minimum service standards to those they regulate; and
· Government action to ensure regulators are transparent about the fees they charge and bear down on their costs and improve their efficiency.
Also today, as part of the package the Government announced plans to cut bureaucracy by widening the range of regulations included in the Primary Authority scheme. The plans would see the scheme covering age-related sales of gambling, the Housing Health and Safety Rating system for assessing potential hazards in dwellings, sun-bed tanning and Welsh regulations for single-use carrier bag charging.
“Primary Authority partnerships are reducing regulatory burdens for companies and allowing them to grow," Business and Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon added.
"It’s now time to extend the scope of the scheme to streamline the way regulators work with businesses, improve protections to the public and help local authorities to target their resources against rogue traders.”
Major business groups such as the CBI, British Retail Consortium and FSB are strongly in favour of Primary Authority and of its extension. The Trading Standards Institute and Chartered Institute of Environmental Health are also in favour.
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