News story

Primary Authority consultation to help all UK businesses grow

From 1 October 2017, all UK businesses, pre start-ups included, will have access to assured regulatory advice through Primary Authority.


Changes are to be made to Primary Authority (PA), the gateway to better regulation through single points of contact in local authorities for assured regulatory advice.

From 1 October, 2017, when the Enterprise Act 2016 comes into force, Primary Authority will be open to any size of business, and pre start-ups, through an extension and simplification of the scheme, supported by an improved Primary Authority Register - an internet resource.

Regulatory Delivery, part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is replacing the existing orders to implement the new regime and seeking views on:

  • Listing the national regulators given the ability to support Primary Authority partnerships
  • Simplifying the definition of an ‘enforcement action’
  • Updating the definitions of relevant functions within scope of Primary Authority in Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • Updating the requirements for an application for a determination by the Secretary of State
  • Moving to a system where a partnership covers all of the regulatory functions that a local authority can offer

The changes to the scheme are based on feedback from businesses and regulators already involved in the scheme, and are designed to make achieving prosperity and protection through Primary Authority easier for everyone.

The consultation Unlocking the Potential of Primary Authority is available to view now. Those with an interest in the scheme (businesses and business groups, local authorities, national regulators, etc) are invited to take part in the consultation.

A BEIS spokesperson said:

“Through Primary Authority, the Government is giving every business - and every person who wants to start a business - access to reliable, tailored regulatory advice. Building on the success of Primary Authority since 2009, we have been listening and have taken action, to ensure it works in the best possible way for everyone.”

  • The extension of Primary Authority will give every business, and every person who wants to start a business, access to reliable, tailored regulatory advice
  • Having early access to regulatory advice helps businesses get things right first time, protecting consumers and allowing enforcing authorities to target their resources
  • The Enterprise Act also brings national regulators closer to the scheme, giving them a role to play in the provision of advice
  • These provisions will help Britain ensure its position as the best place in Europe to start and grow a business

Approximately 90% of businesses in Primary Authority are small and medium enterprises. It is estimated that over 250,000 businesses will benefit from Primary Authority as a result of these changes.

Published 13 February 2017