Posted by

Kimberly Bingham, Assistant Director of Transforming Regulatory Enforcement at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

31 Jan 2013

Negative decisions made by regulators can have an adverse impact on business.  Refusals of planning permission, the down-grading of health and safety ratings or prescription of seemingly pointless risk assessments can inhibit business growth.

The Department for Business has been told by some companies that when a decision has been made on unstable grounds, there are often unsatisfactory opportunities for an appeal.  Businesses are also reluctant to use those processes when they are in place; some feel an appeal would ruin positive working relationships with inspectors; others feel that they don’t know how to appeal.  This leaves businesses high and dry.

The recently published findings of the Focus on Enforcement review into the regulation of food manufacturing revealed a number of cases where appeals mechanisms were poor.  One food manufacturer suffered a downgrade of his health and safety rating and felt that there were considerable grounds for appeal.  He learned that there was no apparent independent method to do so other than by judicial review.  He also worried that other small businesses would not know that they have a right to appeal.

Focus on Enforcement reviews into other sectors have shown that this issue is not just restricted to food manufacturing, but is a cross-sector issue potentially affecting thousands of businesses in the UK.

The Business Minister Michael Fallon recently launched a review of regulatory appeals and wants to hear from businesses in any sector. If you have had a problem appealing a decision that you have disagreed with, you could provide valuable evidence for this review either via the website or through a meeting with the review team. Fieldwork continues into February.  The ‘Focus on Enforcement’ website is taking comments from businesses and individuals until 15 Feburary.