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Regulatory reform favours larger companiestest.

Northgate Information Solutions : 16 August, 2007  (Technical Article)
Northgate Information Solutions is calling for changes to the Government regulatory reform proposal to make it fairer for smaller businesses.
The government's proposals for regulatory reform are a welcome step towards efficient and effective enforcement, but the benefits may be skewed in favour of larger companies, said Northgate Information Solutions in its response to the Cabinet Office consultation on the Draft Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill.

Northgate welcomed the proposals for greater coordination of regulatory inspection and enforcement, but voiced concern over whether the Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) would have sufficient resources to ensure that smaller organisations could take advantage of the benefits. In a Regulatory Impact Assessment published alongside the draft Bill, only 2.9% of the 27,965 businesses operating in the UK were expected to take up the option of the Primary Authority Partnership, and these were expected to be larger companies operating, on average, across 130 different local authorities each.

Northgate also called for the Bill to include:.

* An annual review of the LBRO's enforcement priorities.
* Provision for local authorities to have regard to the national enforcement priorities but also to their local context.
* A clear framework of time limits for obtaining consent for enforcement action.
* A review of the arrangements for return of the receipts from Fixed Monetary Penalties to consider whether hypothecation would be beneficial to ensure that enforcement is effectively resourced and driven by local priorities.
* Publication of the proposals for the effective collection of financial penalties at the earliest possible stage.

Russell Osborne, Managing Director of Land & Property at Northgate Public Services said today: "The Draft Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill shows a welcome recognition that regulatory enforcement must be proportionate and coordinated. However, we are concerned that the benefits of the Bill will be felt by larger, established organisations whilst smaller, growing businesses must continue to negotiate their way round the regulatory maze.

"Northgate would also like to see further consideration of the Bill's impact on local authorities, which form the largest regulatory enforcement operation in the UK, to ensure that they can access the resources they need to ensure the Bill's aims of efficient and effective regulatory enforcement are realised."
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