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The Enterprise Act 2016: Primary Authority changes
BEIS has published the Government response to the consultation, Unlocking the potential of Primary Authority: Implementing the Enterprise Act 2016, the draft Statutory Instrument, the Coordination of Regulatory Enforcement Regulations 2017 and the draft Statutory Guidance for Primary Authority.
Government response to consultation
The Primary Authority consultation, held between 13 February and 7 April 2017, received 64 formal responses and feedback from around 240 stakeholders at engagement events and other meetings.
As a result of the consultation responses and wider stakeholder feedback, BEIS has amended the draft regulations. They specify the Competition and Markets Authority, the Food Standards Agency, the Gambling Commission, the Health and Safety Executive and the Secretary of State (in relation to the areas of metrology and product safety) as ‘supporting regulators’. They take a more generic approach to defining the scope of Primary Authority in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and clarify the definition of ‘enforcement action’.
Stakeholders were broadly supportive of the measures in the draft regulations. There was a wider range of views on the proposed new approach for determining the scope of partnerships with a number of questions about how this would work in practice. The new approach to defining partnership scope has been set out in the draft statutory guidance.
Draft Statutory Instrument
The draft Coordination of Regulatory Enforcement Regulations 2017, will be laid before Parliament in time to come into force on 1 October 2017. BEIS, through Regulatory Delivery, is working with all primary authorities and major businesses in existing partnerships to ensure a smooth transition. The Government is committed to reviewing the regulations within five years.
Draft Primary Authority Statutory Guidance
Revised Primary Authority Statutory Guidance has been produced to explain how the new arrangements will work in practice. This reflects the changes to the scheme introduced by the Enterprise Act 2016 and in the draft regulations. This statutory guidance is currently draft and will be finalised, taking account of any feedback, and issued on 1st October 2017.
The guidance clarifies the new approach to partnership scope, which will make an important contribution to simplifying the administration of Primary Authority. In line with feedback received during the consultation, provision has been made to agree and implement bespoke arrangements where necessary.
Since it was introduced in 2009, Primary Authority has enabled local authorities to help businesses comply with regulations by providing them with tailored, assured Primary Authority Advice that they can trust. Primary Authority improves protection, increases business confidence and reduces operational costs of local authorities. It supports the aim of the Industrial Strategy to help businesses form and grow.
The Enterprise Act 2016 includes measures to extend and simplify Primary Authority, enabling all UK businesses to benefit, including pre-start-ups. It is expected there will be 250,000 businesses in Primary Authority by 2020.
Primary Authority enables businesses to obtain consistent advice on compliance with regulation, in a tailored and cost-effective manner, from local authorities. The scheme began in April 2009 and has since been extended to include more areas of regulation and allow more businesses to participate.
Following a review of Primary Authority and public consultation, the Enterprise Act 2016 further extends and simplifies the scheme, with effect from 1 October 2017.
This consultation includes a draft statutory instrument containing the details needed to effect the changes. It also outlines proposals to replace the ‘categories’ system which determines the scope of partnerships and underpins the current administration of Primary Authority.
More information is available on Citizen Space.
It is important to note that this is not a consultation on the policy changes that are laid down in the Enterprise Act 2016.