This independent blog collects news about projects or achievements in regulatory reform / better regulation. It is edited by Charles H. Montin. All opinions expressed are given on a personal basis.
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31 March 2015

Business groups review administrative burdens (UK)

Another good practice from the UK, showing how smart regulators can enlist and subsidize responsible stakeholder support to identify regulation in need of streamlining or deletion.
On 23 March, the British business minister (note the specific title) reported on the outcome of the Government's March 2014 invitation to industry groups such as trade associations to bid to lead one of 3 'pathfinder' reviews, allowing them to collect evidence of the impact on industry of current enforcement practices and challenge problems like duplicated paperwork, inconsistent advice or unhelpful guidance. The successful organisations each received a grant of up to £4,000 to contribute towards the costs of their projects. As a minimum, the review teams were required to match the funding from their own resources.
The press release summarizes the findings presented by participant organisations: Fresh Produce Consortium, National Farmers' Union (NFU) and techUK. It shows how these business groups made proposals respecting the benefits of regulation:
  • The Fresh Produce Consortium scrutinised imports of fresh produce into the UK. After carefully considering their findings, the Food Standards Agency will be taking a number of steps including reviewing official control turnaround times at airports and investigating disparities in the costs that are charged by Port Health Authorities for their inspections.
  • techUK have reviewed the export licensing of electronic products. The government's Export Control Organisation (ECO) will explore options to re-introduce their control list classification advice service to make it easier for businesses to know whether a product requires an export licence. They will also continue to pursue export licensing reforms aimed at providing businesses with more flexible licensing solutions which minimise the impact on the exporter and the regulator. This review was explicitly not permitted to make any recommendations on the UK's strict vetting and licensing system for military or dual-use products.
  • The National Farmers' Union examined livestock inspections and found issues with duplication of visits from different regulators and inconsistencies across the country in terms of the number of inspections. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have welcomed this important work and are considering what action to take.

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