Addressing the Local & National Regulators annual conference, Mark Prisk highlighted the importance of regulation in creating economic growth and set out a number of proposals for improving the regulatory landscape, building on the relationship between business and regulators, including:
More use of co-regulation, where business shares a degree of regulatory responsibility, for example through industry bodies setting professional and working standards
Greater ‘earned recognition’ – where regulators recognise business activities that support compliance and reduce intervention, creating a stronger incentive for private sector led compliance
A role for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to improve the transparency and accountability of local regulation – bringing business and regulators together to look for ways to reduce unnecessary burdens
Clearer, more straightforward guidance – so that businesses, particularly SMEs, have greater access to clear guidance on what they need to do to comply.
Mark Prisk said: “We understand that Britain’s businesses need to concentrate on what they do best – growing their business, creating jobs and driving forward economic recovery. We have made good progress already, reducing the impact of red tape on businesses through the radical system of One-In, One-Out, the three-year micro-business moratorium and the Red Tape Challenge – a wholesale review of the entire stock of regulation.
“But when regulation becomes heavy-handed, inefficient, prescriptive and risk-averse it drags down the ability of businesses to grow, prosper and create jobs.
“It is nonsense to say that there must be a trade-off between protection and growth. That is a simplistic way of looking at a complex issue. The challenge is to transform the regulatory landscape so that the system delivers essential protections whilst avoiding unnecessary interference in the day to day work of hard-working business people seeking to innovate and grow and thereby delivering the jobs and wealth we need.”
For its role in delivering better local regulation, Mark Prisk praised the Primary Authority Scheme, which allows businesses spanning local authority boundaries to nominate a particular authority under whose regulatory regime they will operate. He said he would like it to be extended to cover more businesses, more policy areas and deliver more earned recognition for businesses.
The Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO), which administers the scheme, will also be replaced by a new organisation within the Department for Business, which will retain LBRO’s independence and draw on LBRO’s staff and their expertise.