Press release

Electronics firms given power to drive better enforcement of regulation

As part of the Business Focus on Enforcement programme techUK has been charged with reviewing the electronics sector.

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

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Business Minister Matthew Hancock today (11 September 2014) announced he would put business in charge of improving the enforcement of regulation, and charged techUK with reviewing the electronics sector.

As part of the Business Focus on Enforcement programme, which enables business groups to collect and present evidence directly to ministers and regulators, techUK will help shape the regulatory enforcement framework to help firms thrive. The series of reviews aims to create a more robust system that upholds standards without hindering growth.

The government’s drive to reduce red tape has to date saved UK businesses some £1.5 billion per annum. Reforms include freeing responsible employers from being held liable for workplace accidents where they have taken all reasonable steps to protect their employees, simplifying the mandatory reporting of workplace injuries, and freeing thousands of small firms from unnecessary health and safety inspections. Today’s review builds on successful reforms to improve how regulation is enforced, benefitting sectors including the chemical manufacturing, coastal development and childcare sectors.

Building on this, techUK’s review will examine business perceptions that:

  • other countries apply less demanding export controls to electronic products and that common standards would help create a level playing field for UK firms
  • comparatively lengthy UK timeframes for obtaining export licences could be leading to the unnecessary loss of valuable contracts and the cancellation of orders for UK firms

Business Minister Matthew Hancock said:

We’re committed to making Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

That’s why we’re ripping out the burdensome regulation that stands in their way. By putting employers in the driving seat they can create the regulatory and enforcement landscape that works for them, fostering growth and aiding record job creation since 2010.

This is all part of our long term economic plan to build a prosperous Britain, bolster our record jobs recovery and make sure households across the UK are better off.

Ashley Evans, Director of Electronics, techUK said:

The UK’s capabilities in the electronics sector have great potential to drive UK exports, however companies have to be able to move quickly to win new business and they need a level playing field. Enabling an efficient, fast process from the regulator and getting the evidence on whether everyone is applying the rules in the same way will help UK exporters in the electronics systems supply chain. techUK is committed to working with BIS on this important project to make sure that we continue to grow the export market for UK electronics companies.

Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, acts as a champion and advocate for Business Focus on Enforcement.

Terry Scuoler said:

The way that regulation is enforced and applied can often be more time-consuming for business than the regulation itself. Asking businesses to produce and oversee the evidence base for future change means that the operation of enforcement regimes will be informed by the invaluable first-hand experience of the impact of different rules upon industry.

The period of evidence-gathering will run until November 2014, after which techUK will report their findings direct to ministers and regulators. The reviewer is tasked with undertaking research and providing evidence and factual information. They are explicitly not permitted to make any recommendations for change to the UK’s strict vetting and licensing system for military or dual use products.

Business Focus on Enforcement builds on the successful Focus on Enforcement programme by giving trade associations and representative business groups the dominant role in identifying enforcement issues and gathering evidence.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Business Focus on Enforcement reviews are funded through the Ministerial Contestable Policy Fund, set up to inject greater ambition, expertise, or a more creative range of options into the policy development process than would otherwise be available to ministers.
  2. In March 2014, industry groups such as trade associations were invited to bid to lead 1 of 3 ‘pathfinder’ reviews, allowing them to collect evidence of the impact on industry of current enforcement practices and challenge problems like duplicated paperwork, inconsistent advice or unhelpful guidance. The successful organisations will each receive a grant of up to £4,000 to contribute towards the costs of their projects. As a minimum, the review teams will match the funding from their own resources.
  3. Three trade bodies have been selected to run reviews in their sector under Business Focus on Enforcement: The Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC); The National Farmers’ Union (NFU); and techUK. Reviews led by FPC and NFU commenced in July 2014.
  4. techUK represents the companies and technologies that are defining today the world that we will live in tomorrow. With a reach that extends into over 6,000 companies from across the ICT & electronics sector, which collectively employ more than 500,000 people, about half of all tech sector jobs in the UK. These companies range from leading FTSE 100 companies to new innovative start-ups. The majority of its members are small and medium sized businesses
  5. Focus on Enforcement reviews examine how regulation is delivered – whether through inspections, advice, or enforcement – rather than focusing on the design of the regulations themselves.
  6. For more information about the new project, visit Focus on Enforcement.
  7. To feed in to the review by the electronics network techUK into the export of electronic goods, please view their survey.
Published 11 September 2014