Press release

Primary Authority to be extended to fire safety

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

Businesses and fire and rescue services will benefit from clearer and more consistent enforcement of fire safety regulations.

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Businesses and fire and rescue services will benefit from clearer and more consistent enforcement of fire safety regulations, along with clearer advice on how to comply with the law, Ministers confirmed today (21 November 2013).

The government will now legislate to extend Primary Authority to fire safety from 6 April 2014. The reform is part of the government’s drive to reduce burdens on business by ensuring that necessary regulations are enforced more efficiently.

Primary Authority enables businesses to form a statutory partnership with a single local authority, which then provides reliable advice and coordinates inspections and enforcement.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

No enterprise should be held back by confusing or contradictory advice from regulators. Primary Authority is designed to make sure that hard-pressed businesses know what’s expected of them under the law – and receive clear guidance on how to maintain the highest safety standards.

Helen Dickinson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, said:

We’re delighted by this common sense approach, which promotes better ways of working for all involved. The BRC strongly supported the pilot which tested whether this move could work in practice, and which demonstrated that businesses and fire authorities both stand to gain from partnership working.

The proposed extension currently applies to England and Wales.

Notes to Editors

1.To help businesses and fire authorities to benefit from the scheme, the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) is currently working with the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) on a series of training and engagement events including:

  • a training programme for fire risk assessment staff between January and March 2014

  • an opportunity to hear from BRDO at the CFOA autumn conference in November 2013

Further resources are available on the BRDO website

Contact Adrian Hall at BRDO on 0121 345 1200.

2.In response to the 2011 consultation ‘Transforming Regulatory Enforcement’ the government committed to pilot the extension of Primary Authority to fire safety. In autumn 2012 two pilots were set up to examine how partnership working could help improve the delivery of fire safety regulation. One of the pilots looked at how Primary Authority for fire safety would work, and a second pilot looked at a non-statutory scheme.

3.There are now more than 689 businesses and 100 local authorities operating one or more of 2,256 primary authority partnerships.

4.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.

Published 21 November 2013