Headlines: October 22nd, 2008

An early challenge for the newly launched Local Better Regulation Office is to improve consistency for businesses that trade across council boundaries.

The role of the Office is to help councils and fire services improve protections for consumers and workers and provide better regulatory support to business. Its remit includes trading standards, environmental health, licensing and fire safety services.

Consistency of rulings will be achieved through the Primary Authority scheme which will create the first legal framework for ensuring that compliance advice given by one local authority is not undermined in other areas. The framework is being piloted and will become a statutory entitlement in April 2009.

Support for local government in improving regulation is top of LBRO’s agenda. As well as making direct investments in individual authorities and regional co-ordination, LBRO will be publishing and promoting best practice in regulatory services, including tackling issues that concern communities such as illegal alcohol sales to children. It will also launch projects to give regulators greater insight into business and how to cut unnecessary burdens on retailers.

Other measures being pursued by the Office include developing a common excellence standard for local regulation with the national regulators and central government. It will also promote the creation of common approaches to data sharing, impact assessment, priority setting and risk management across the sector. The aim of this measure is to cut the burden on local regulators, freeing them to focus on core duties.