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October 18, 2010

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Regulatory scheme to step up a gear following Young review

The Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) is pressing ahead with plans to strengthen the Primary Authority scheme, following the reprieve granted it in the Government’s recent cull of quangos.

Although the Office itself is technically still “under consideration” as part of the Public Bodies Review Bill announced last week by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, the Primary Authority and other deregulatory functions will be maintained – providing, said the LBRO, “assurance for businesses and local authorities committed to Primary Authority as the means for providing a single point of contact for all regulatory issues”.

The Primary Authority scheme allows multi-site businesses to sign up with a single local authority for advice and guidance on regulatory compliance. Its aim is to reduce burdens on businesses by providing them with assured and consistent advice on health and safety, environmental and trading-standards responsibilities, but some have questioned the need for it, and have expressed concern over associated costs.

LBRO chief executive Graham Russell said: “We are very pleased that the value and impact of Primary Authority has been so widely recognised, and we look forward to working with the Health and Safety Executive and the Better Regulation Executive to take this issue regarding inspections forward.”

Mr Russell added that Lord Young of Graffham’s recently published review of health and safety “reinforced business arguments that there needs to be an obligation for local authorities to follow inspection plans agreed by the Primary Authority, national regulator and the business”.

He also indicated that businesses that use consultants accredited under the new Occupational Safety Consultants Register would be “appropriately recognised for doing so within Primary Authority”.

€ᄄ€ᄄBusiness and enterprise minister Mark Prisk has asked for options on strengthening Primary Authority with regard to inspection plans and for extending the scheme to cover more areas of regulation.€ᄄ€ᄄA full, up-to-date list of partnerships and the regulations they cover are maintained on the LBRO website. Visit: www.lbro.org.uk/lbro-projects-list-of-partnerships.html

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