Headlines: August 22nd, 2000

More than 60% of local authorities in England and Wales and all local authorities in Scotland have adopted the Enforcement Concordat, which provides a blueprint for fair, practical and consistent enforcement of regulations. The aim is to build a more co-operative relationship between local authorities in their role as enforcers of laws affecting issues such as fair trading, health and safety and food safety, and the local businesses and organisations they oversee.In the longer term, this should reduce the need for local authorities to undertake prosecutions or other formal action, as the enforcers work to prevent the offence in the first place. The Government has been encouraged by how many councils have signed up to the voluntary agreement, as a sign of willingness to remain business-friendly at the same time as maintaining key consumer protections. The Concordat’s principles are found at www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/regulation

The Local Government Association (LGA) has also welcomed the numbers of councils signing up to the agreement, and is working with a number of authorities to develop a best practice guide which will show how the concordat principles can be taken forward and monitored.