I will start with the theme of better regulation this month following the publication of Better Regulation Executive's (BRE) report, "Improving outcomes from health and safety" on how regulation affects low-risk and small business. The reports sets out recommendations to reduce the burdens on these businesses, while improving working environments and general understanding of health and safety. One of the key recommendations concerns maximising the limited resources of HSE and LA inspectors, making inspection and enforcement more efficient and focused on high-risk work places. This very much endorses the work delivered by the Partnership to date and acknowledges that there is still more to do. A further recommendation sets out proposals for a new, single assurance scheme so businesses can have just one inspection to deal with a range of requirements, including health and safety, fire and food safety regulations. This may be seen as an extension of the Retail Enforcement Pilot, responsibility for which has now been passed from BRE to LBRO.
And more on the work of BRE. In the Autumn, it plans to consult on four draft statutory instruments (SIs) to help deliver on the recent enacted Regulatory Enforcement Sanctions (RES) Act. The draft SIs will cover Part 2 of RES Act on the Primary Authority scheme. They will cover: exclusions under section 29 of the Act; definition of what constitutes enforcement action; scope with regard to the Devolved Administrations; and the arbitration procedure. It is proposed that the 12 week consultation with commence in mid-September. This autumn will certainly be a busy time for consultation. On 29 July, the Audit Commission and its partners published the second consultation document setting out a proposed approach to the new Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA). Although this will only apply to English authorities, we are working closely with the Scottish and Welsh administrations to ensure that the contribution of health and safety to the health, work and well-being agenda is fully considered in each of the local government performance frameworks.
I conclude with a better administration issue of our own. From September, we plan to move to a shorter, snappier monthly eBulletin newsletter. This should make it easier for you to scan through a summarised version of all current issues with links to more detailed information if you wish. A more comprehensive newsletter will be produced quarterly. We also plan to include summaries of some of the activities that we carry out in LAU and HSE to improve your understanding of these issues. This follows feedback from the Partnership evaluation. We begin this month with a summary of how we use date from the LAE1 returns
Nick O’Donnell, Local Authority Unit