Blow The Whistle On Red Tape – The New BIS “Red Tape Challenge”


The Department for business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has issued a new challenge to business owners, employees, the public and even government inspectors, asking them to blow the whistle on inconsistent and over-zealous enforcement of rules and regulations. The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister, David Cameron,  on 7 April, giving the public a chance to have their say on the more than 21,000 regulations that affect their everyday lives. The website is available at www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Examples of comments already made to BIS as part of the Red Tape Challenge that relate to enforcement include:

  • Julian Humphreys said: “The Road and Air Transport regulations make adequate provision for all aspects of public and occupational safety as well as security of loads, the intervention by the other regulators is just an unnecessary duplication of time and effort that serves no purpose other than to add costs to industry.”
  •  Parmpal Singh Brar said: “I work for an SME and we have been told that in order to use fresh meat I need a licence number from an Environmental Health Officer. Our first visit was fine with our set-up, but when a new EHO came 6 months later, they said we were not up to standard and stripped us of our licence number until we made the changes that they wanted. Not only did this affect the taste of our fresh products as we had to buy in cooked meat but it also added pressure to our overall costs in production.”
  •  Matthew Morris said: “Unfortunately, food safety regulators (and I am one of them) may sometimes take a narrow view of what is acceptable in terms of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points and fail to have regard to the extensive flexibility which is permitted. However, this problem would be best addressed by ensuring food safety regulators are appropriately trained and monitored.”

The new drive is a direct result of comments already made by the public as part of the Red Tape Challenge. The Government wants people to use their experience of different regulators and say where tick-box regulation, multiple inspections and conflicting advice is getting in the way, harming their business and preventing economic growth. We urge you all to get involved in the process.

The new initiative asks the public and businesses:

  • Which aspects of enforcement do you find most difficult to deal with and how could things be done differently?
  • What impact do these problems have on your business?
  • Do regulators recognise where you have made efforts to comply? What more do you think could be done to ensure regulators take your efforts into account?
  • Is it easy for you to appeal or complain about the way regulations are enforced?
  • Do you have any examples of good “common sense” enforcement where you feel that a regulator has really done its best to understand and work around the realities you face as a business?
  • Is enforcement flexible enough to keep pace with the way your business is developing.

Equalities

From 9 June – 30 June the Red tape Challenge site is open for your thoughts on the measures within the Equality Act.
The Government wants to understand how the measures in the Equality Act affect you and to explore ways in which it can achieve the equality goals in a different way, focusing on reducing any burdens and bureaucracies associated with the Act and its implementation.

Red Tape Challenge – What’s coming up in 2011

  • 30 June      Health and Safety
  • 21 July        Manufacturing
  • 11 Aug        Media and creative services
  • 1 Sep            Environment
  • 15 Sep         Employment Related Law
  • 29 Sep        Children’s services
  • 13 Oct         Rail and Merchant Shipping
  • 27 Oct        Utilities and energy

Philip Henson, Partner and Head of Employment Law, Bargate Murray solicitors. (www.bargatemurray.com)

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