Headlines: September 16th, 2005

The Cabinet Office has launched an innovative project to reduce the amount of paperwork and administration costs that government regulations impose on businesses and charities. This cross-government drive was recommended by the review, led by Philip Hampton the Chairman of Sainsbury plc, which was given the remit to identify how regulatory services bureaucracy can be cut without affecting the standard of protection. Another recommendation from the Hampton Review to move regulation, including trading standards and environmental health, from town halls to Whitehall with the establishment of a central, national agency, is not being pursued.The aim of the project is to measure the cost of regulation and then to set targets for reducing the burden. Costs will be measured by the Standard Cost Model, which was first used by the Dutch government. The measurement exercise outcome will be a baseline cost of the administrative burden that is placed on UK businesses, charities and voluntary organisations by regulation. The exercise will involve detailed measurement of the administrative burden of regulation through extensive interviews with individual businesses, charities and voluntary organisations between November and December this year. The data will be compiled to deliver a baseline that can be used as the basis to set targets for reducing the regulation burden.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been awarded a contract worth 11.4million pounds. to conduct the regulation measurement exercise across government. A parallel exercise is being conducted by HMRC who announced that they have appointed KPMG to focus on the tax and duty system.

A new website http://www.betterregulation.gov.uk/ . has been launched to allow people to get their views across. The one-stop online portal provides a way for businesses to challenge government to simplify or scrap particular regulations they think are too burdensome. A response will be given to proposals within 90 days.