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ENFORCERS TO HELP GOVERNMENT EASE BURDEN OF RED TAPE

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Graham Stringer, cabinet office minister, today urged local authority ...
Graham Stringer, cabinet office minister, today urged local authority

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.

Speaking at the FoodSafe 2000 seminar, in Basingstoke, Mr Stringer

said:

'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

easily accessible.

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

business

- 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.'

NOTES

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.

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