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Northgate calls for level playing field in business regulation

The government’s proposals for regulatory reform are a welcome step towards efficient and effective enforcement, but the benefits may be skewed in favour of larger companies, said Northgate Information Solutions in its response to the Cabinet Office consultation on the Draft Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill.

Northgate welcomed the proposals for greater coordination of regulatory inspection and enforcement, but voiced concern over whether the Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) would have sufficient resources to ensure that smaller organisations could take advantage of the benefits. In a Regulatory Impact Assessment published alongside the draft Bill, only 2.9% of the 27,965 businesses operating in the UK were expected to take up the option of the Primary Authority Partnership, and these were expected to be larger companies operating, on average, across 130 different local authorities each.

Northgate also called for the Bill to include:

• an annual review of the LBRO’s enforcement priorities;

• provision for local authorities to have regard to the national enforcement priorities but also to their local context;

• a clear framework of time limits for obtaining consent for enforcement action;

• a review of the arrangements for return of the receipts from Fixed Monetary Penalties to consider whether hypothecation would be beneficial to ensure that enforcement is effectively resourced and driven by local priorities;

• publication of the proposals for the effective collection of financial penalties at the earliest possible stage.

Russell Osborne, Managing Director of Land & Property at Northgate Public Services said today:
“The Draft Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill shows a welcome recognition that regulatory enforcement must be proportionate and coordinated. However, we are concerned that the benefits of the Bill will be felt by larger, established organisations whilst smaller, growing businesses must continue to negotiate their way round the regulatory maze.

“Northgate would also like to see further consideration of the Bill’s impact on local authorities, which form the largest regulatory enforcement operation in the UK, to ensure that they can access the resources they need to ensure the Bill’s aims of efficient and effective regulatory enforcement are realised.”

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For more information:

Fellows’ Associates:

Kathy Sutton
Tel: 020 7849 3403
Mob: 07966 890401
Email: ksutton@fellowsassociates.com

Naomi Stevenson
Tel: 020 7849 3508
Mob: 07966 890403
Email: nstevenson@fellowsassociates.com


Notes to Editors:

1. Northgate Information Solutions is a leading provider of innovative services to the public sector and utilities markets. Northgate’s task is to enhance public value through the intelligent use of people and technology, and to share in the economic and social benefits that this brings.

2. In the UK, the company works with four out of five local authorities and every police force. Northgate supports public service transformation through sustainable performance partnerships. Its technology is used in the administration of more than £12 billion of revenues and benefits; in electoral administration systems covering 18 million people; to support the national system for reporting police performance; and in the management of over three million local authority and housing association properties worldwide. Founded in 1969, the company has over 6,000 employees.

3. Primary Authority Partnerships are voluntary partnerships that operate under the Primary Authority Principle that a business operating in the UK should be able to rely on a single local authority for regulatory advice and support. Not all businesses seeking to establish one have been able to secure agreement from their relevant local authority.