Book News: March 31st, 2009

This report sets out the findings from a survey of the business community on their views of the way regulations are enforced by local councils and fire and rescue services.

The majority of businesses agree that they have been treated fairly, especially in relation to fire safety, animal health, licensing and food safety. There were mixed reactions on health and safety and environmental protection. But the majority found the contact helpful.

The survey revealed that 90 per cent of businesses say that their opinions have not been sought in relation to enforcement of the various areas of regulation. Housing is the area of regulation that fares best with one in five saying they have been consulted.

About eight in ten businesses in the survey were in contact with just one or two councils and very few have been in contact with more than five. Where businesses had contact with three or more councils, over one third found the advice they received was inconsistent. This is a clear pattern across all areas of regulation.

On the issues of compliance with various areas of regulation, businesses say that food and fire safety are the most straightforward and agriculture, animal health and housing regulation are rated as the most difficult.

For most businesses, the burden of complying with these areas of local regulation is seen as broadly similar to that imposed by areas of regulation such as planning, tax, employment and company law. One in five say local regulation is less of a burden while one in eight say it is greater.

The report is available from LBRO.