Press release

Business invited to help reform enforcement of regulation

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Michael Fallon invites business to help run initiative that puts driving the reform of regulatory enforcement in the hands of business.

Business Minister Michael Fallon today (10 March 2014) invited industry bodies to bid to help run a ground breaking initiative that puts driving the reform of regulatory enforcement in the hands of business.

Business Focus on Enforcement will allow industry groups such as trade associations to challenge problems like duplicated paperwork, inconsistent advice or unhelpful guidance and present the case for change directly to regulators and ministers - who will be required to respond to the evidence industry presents.

To ensure that lack of resources does not prevent any business group with a good case from applying, groups will have the opportunity to apply for a government grant of up to £4,000 per project, to cover up to half the cost to a business group of running the 6-week reviews. Review teams will be supported throughout the process by government officials.

Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, is acting as a champion and advocate for the programme.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

We want regulators to become part of our push for growth by helping law-abiding firms meet their obligations quickly and efficiently. Putting reputable private sector experts in the driving seat to identify where reform is needed will help us achieve improvements for business without compromising standards.

Terry Scuoler said:

All good businesses understand the added value of well-thought out regulation, and experience the frustrations of badly implemented regulation and poor guidance.

Giving businesses a greater role in reviewing the impact on them of the way regulation is enforced is a significant change for the better. I’ll be encouraging business groups from all sectors to seize this opportunity to eliminate the bureaucracy, duplication and lack of clarity that still impedes growth.

The current Focus on Enforcement initiative, launched in 2012, has successfully challenged poor implementation and enforcement of regulation and secured valuable reforms for business in areas including chemicals, ports and coastal development, fire safety and small food manufacturers - but is entirely run by civil servants. Business Focus on Enforcement will test whether better results and reforms can be gained from giving industry a far greater role in identifying issues and driving reform in their sectors.

The bidding process is open from Monday 10 March 2014 and all bid applications must be received by 5pm on Monday 7 April 2014.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Business Minister, Michael Fallon will be participating in a Twitter discussion on Business Focus on Enforcement on Monday 10 March from 1 to 2pm. To join the conversation tweet @JoKaczmarekBIS on Monday between 1pm and 2pm using the #focusonenforce hashtag and put your questions and views to the minister and the team.

  2. If a Trade Association or representative business group would like more information about the Business Focus on Enforcement pilot initiative or wishes to discuss a potential bid to run a review they can contact the Focus on Enforcement team at focusonenforcement@bis.gsi.gov.uk.

  3. Focus on Enforcement reviews examine how regulation is delivered – whether through inspections, advice, and enforcement – rather than focusing on the design of the regulations themselves. For more information on the initiative, previous reviews and what they have achieved, visit Focus on Enforcement

  4. Government match-funding to support qualifying bidders is potentially available. This would take the form of a grant of up to £4,000 per project, to cover up to half the cost to a business group or Trade Association of running the review. This funding is available from the Ministerial Contestable Policy Fund. The Civil Service Reform Plan introduced the Ministerial Contestable Policy Fund to give ministers direct access to external policy advice through a centrally managed match fund. Projects funded through this fund seek to commission high quality advice from outside the Civil Service on ministers’ priority policy areas; draw directly on the thinking, evidence and insight of external experts; and achieve a potentially broader and more radical range of options than ministers would receive internally.

  5. The planned launch of Business Focus on Enforcement was announced as part of Small Business: Great Ambition in December 2013.

  6. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.