food safety enforcers to play a more active role in the way
regulation is developed, helping government improve the quality of
regulation, and adopt best practice when enforcing regulations.
'Business and the public want to see regulation that is proportionate
to their needs, which takes account of research and other evidence,
and reflects their views. Our focus is on getting new regulatory
proposals right and changing existing regulation where it is
unnecessary and inefficient, establishing best practice at all stages
of regulatory activity, including the enforcement and advice stages.
'Food safety is an area where government needs to achieve the right
balance between promoting competitiveness without compromising the
protection consumers expect.
'Food safety enforcers and businesses alike face a challenging year
ahead, with the introduction of the food standards agency and the
impact of best value on local authority services in April. I urge
local authorities to work more closely with government in drawing up
regulations and to sign up to the Enforcement Concordat - a code of
best practice to ensure the fair regulation of business.'
He also encouraged local authorities to embrace new technology and
innovative new initiatives such as the Infoshop project, to help
improve standards of enforcement and make information on regulation
Mr Stringer outlined the work the government is taking forward to
address the burdens of new and existing regulations, which includes:
- the appointment of a minister with direct responsibility for
regulatory reform in each government department
- setting up a ministerial panel to call ministers to account for
their department's regulatory performance and programmes
- the cabinet office producing a Forward Look Plan of the
government's regulatory proposals for the next two to three years -
allowing government to take a strategic view of its regulatory
activity, decide on priorities and remove the uncertainty for
- the chair of the better regulation task force, Chris Haskins, has
been meeting ministers in charge of regulatory departments to discuss
simplification programmes and to ensure that action is taken to
remove and simplify outdated regulation
Mr Stringer concluded:
'If regulation is excessive or poorly informed we all suffer. There
is less choice, lower employment and a cumulative burden of red tape.
It is all about getting the approach right; minimising the cost and
maximising the benefits of individual proposals, and at the same time
tackling the cumulative effect of regulation.'
1. For copies of Mr Stringer's speech contact LGCnet on 0171 833 7324/5.
2. The seminar was organised by Basingstoke and Deane BC, to bring local authority enforcement officers up to date with the latest developments in food safety.
3. The new ministerial panel is chaired by minister for the cabinet
office, Mo Mowlam and includes Charles Falconer, Stephen Byers,
Andrew Smith and (representing business and non-government interests)
the chair of the better regulation task force, Chris Haskins and the
chief executive of the Small Business Service, David Irwin.
4. The Enforcement Concordat is a commitment to following good
practice when enforcing regulations. It sets out what businesses and
others who have to comply with regulations can expect from central
and local government agencies and inspectorates. Over 200 local
authorities in England and Wales have signed up to the Concordat.
5. The Infoshop Project is an IT based one-stop shop, which allows
local government front-line staff to answer complex queries from the
public or businesses on regulations. The Infoshop system enables
the operator to offer full and consistent advice on a wide range of
regulatory issues covering food safety, health and safety and
building control and planning. It was formally launched as a three
month pilot project in 14 local authorities on 8 February.