UK Government

Local Better Regulation Office: Business voices on red tape come together for first time

News   •   Oct 21, 2010 13:16 BST

The first ever comprehensive report of business attitudes to regulation and its burdens, involving consensus from an unprecedented range of leading representative bodies and companies, is to be published on Thursday, October 21st.

From The Business End of the Telescope - Perspectives on Local Regulation and Enforcement, draws on input from 35 organisations, among them the British Chambers of Commerce, the British Retail Consortium, the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forum of Private Businesses and the Institute of Directors.

The document explores the views of businesses and depth of their feeling regarding regulatory burdens. It says a culture change in local regulation in which business and regulators work in partnership to achieve prosperity and protection is needed before any real difference will be felt and argues fewer resources for regulation should mean more focus, and better outcomes.

LBRO, the technical experts in local regulation who commissioned the report, hopes it will provide a useful resource for regulators. 

Business Minister Mark Prisk said: 
“This report sends a loud and clear message that the burden of regulation on businesses is too much to cope with.

“Bringing an end to the ‘tick-box’ culture of regulation is a key priority for me and something that the Government is working hard to stop, so I’m really pleased to see regulators working with businesses to relieve some of the burden at a local level.”

LBRO Chairman Clive Grace said: 
“Cutting red tape is critical in enabling UK businesses to maximise their potential as drivers of economic growth and innovation. Regulation remains a key concern for business, with 33% of SMEs citing it as the greatest barrier to success.

“It has been a major priority for LBRO to provide an insight into how business experiences the regulatory problem at local level. We secured unprecedented support from major businesses such as Asda, as well as business organisations and trade associations, through our Business Reference Panel, to achieve this.”

David Frost, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce
“From the Business End of the Telescope highlights how businesses of all sectors and all sizes are affected by regulation, and how they interact with local regulatory services on a frequent basis. With austerity measures now imminent, it is crucial that the elements of the system that work well, such as engagement and advice offered by inspection officers, are not lost.

“Business will drive economic recovery, and it is important that policy makers understand the issues raised in this document, so as to create the right environment for the private sector to create wealth”.

Download the full document
Summary of issues from The Business End of the Telescope 
Listening to business: The burden of regulation remains a significant concern for UK businesses and needs to be addressed at both national and local level. The regulatory system as a whole and local regulators individually need to tailor their approaches to be accountable to businesses in ways that meet their needs. Business organisations and trade bodies could play a useful role in helping regulators gain a solid understanding of business concerns and barriers to compliance.

Inspections: Businesses welcome a risk-based approach to inspection, which is informed by effective inter-agency working and recognises their investment in compliance. Where appropriate, visits should be pre-booked, with communication channelled through one local authority contact and regulators should provide useful feedback on compliance performance.

Advice and guidance: Guidance should be accessible, practical and legally defensible, with a ‘twin-track’ structure to support preferences for both rules and principles-based approaches. Regulatory advice needs to be tailored to meet businesses’ needs and clearly distinguish between minimum requirements and best practice. This approach enables enterprise and improves outcomes.

Culture: Businesses welcome a strengthened relationship with local regulators. Such ‘progressive partnerships’ should be founded on mutual trust and understanding and aim to achieve compliance in a way that is cost and time effective for both parties.

Enforcement: Businesses want consistent and targeted enforcement, ensuring a fairer playing field for the businesses that do invest in compliance and proportionate sanctions against non compliant businesses.

The way ahead: Businesses are keen to ensure that shrinking local resources result in innovative approaches with increased focus on business needs, rather than simply reduced levels of activity. Approaches should be designed with local business partners and delivered at a level that balances the benefits of local contact against efficiency, consistency and effective management of risk.

The organisations who participated in The Business End of the Telescope were:
Alliance Boots GmbH 
Asda Stores Ltd
Association of Convenience Stores (ACS)
Birds Newsagents 
British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA)
British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)
British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF)
British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA)
British Hospitality Association (BHA)
British Meat Processors Association (BMPA)
British Retail Consortium (BRC)
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH): Commercial and Industrial Special Interest Group (CISIG)
Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
Direct Selling Association (DSA)
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
Food and Drink Federation (FDF)
Forum of Private Businesses (FPB)
Institute of Directors (IoD)
Müller Dairy (UK) Limited
National Farmers Union (NFU)
National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF)
National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN)
Pet Care Trade Association 
Provision Trade Federation (PTF)
Radio Electrical and TV Retailers Association (RETRA)
J Sainsbury plc
Sea Fish Industry Authority
T. J. Butlers Ltd
Tesco plc 
Total UK Ltd
Trading Standards Institute (TSI): Society of Outside Local Authority Members (SOLAM)
WH Smith plc
Wilkinson Hardware Stores Ltd
Wines and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA)

The Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) helps business to save money and prosper by ensuring their voice is heard in the creation and local delivery of the rules and regulations they’re required to follow. It is a catalyst within the regulatory landscape; using its unique relationships to energise all those involved in making local regulation work for Britain. LBRO creates the conditions for cutting red tape for UK business and providing the right level of targeted protection for consumers, workers and the environment. Its area of responsibility covers environmental health, trading standards, fire safety and licensing. Following the commencement of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 on 1 October 2008, LBRO operates as an executive non-departmental public body, accountable to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills through the Better Regulation Executive. LBRO is governed by an independent Board, has a staff of around 25 and is based in central Birmingham. Our remit covers the whole of the UK and we liaise closely with the devolved administrations to ensure our work in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is appropriate. For further information please visit

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