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Primary Authority to cover more businesses, have wider regulatory scope PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 12 December 2011 15:16

The Primary Authority scheme is to be expanded to involve more businesses and cover a wider regulatory area, the Local Better Regulation Office has announced.

Primary Authority, which was launched on 6 April 2009, gives companies the right to form a statutory partnership with a single local authority. Some 71 local authorities already operate the scheme, covering 400 businesses, 46,400 premises and 1,190,000 employees.

The government’s proposals, which follow its Transforming Regulatory Enforcement consultation, will see age-restricted products – such as knives and gambling – brought within scope for the first time. It will also see a shake-up of the scheme regarding inspection plans.

LBRO Chief Executive Graham Russell said: "Primary Authority has come a long way, delivering tangible results for better regulation in a relatively short time.

"We welcome the government's decision to make these changes and anticipate that more businesses and local authorities will wish to be involved in Primary Authority partnerships as regulators seek to offer the benefits of consistent and cost-effective advice to a wider range of businesses."

The LBRO said the shake-up of inspection plans would offer business “the scope for better targeted and better quality inspections, and in some cases a significant reduction in the number of inspections”.

It also claimed that this would free up local authorities to target scarce resources on high-risk organisations.

The LBRO said it was working with policy departments and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills on extension of the legislative scope of Primary Authority, as well as talking with national regulators on earned recognition.

LBRO Director Sarah Smith said: "In the context of challenging times for business as well as the public sector, we welcome the recognition of good work by some regulators to support business growth whilst protecting citizens.

"Our work with the professional bodies to produce a common framework for competency, which is highlighted in the government response, provides the means to promote the professional standards that lie at the heart of good regulation.”


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