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Local Better Regulation Office

Volume 522: debated on Friday 4 February 2011

I am today announcing that, following a review of the Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) and its functions, a number of changes are proposed to the way in which the functions it performs are carried out.

It is proposed that the LBRO in its current form should be abolished, but that its most important functions will be transferred to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. These will be performed by a new organisation within the Department, drawing on the expertise of LBRO’s staff and work to date.

Its functions in directly promoting service improvement in local authority regulatory services will not be retained.

The proposals mean the primary authority scheme and work to simplify the regulatory system, providing real benefits for businesses will continue but will now be overseen by a new streamlined organisation that will form a part of the Department.

Local enterprise partnerships are already bringing business and civic leaders together across natural economic areas to set a strong local economic lead. Good local regulatory services can play an important role in securing growth, giving businesses the confidence and expert advice that they need to grow, and regulatory improvement needs to be at the heart of these local strategies.

The new organisation will play an active part in supporting partnerships: helping them set a clear lead in tackling red tape, disseminating and promoting good, business-friendly practice of all kinds, including the primary authority scheme.

The new organisation will have special governance arrangements which mean it will retain the operational independence and technical expertise that have been important to LBRO's role, ensuring that it is still relevant to businesses and regulators. The new organisation will focus on ensuring that there is better enforcement of regulations and will work closely with the Better Regulation Executive and Regulatory Policy Committee to reduce the burdens on business in the most cost-effective way.

The change forms part of a wider transformation in the system of regulatory enforcement. The Government are committed to transforming the way in which regulation is enforced—making sure that the actions of regulators support business growth and other worthwhile social activities.

The proposals outlined today will be subject to parliamentary approval and there will be consultation on these plans in spring 2011.