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Primary Authority Partnerships

Volume 570: debated on Monday 4 November 2013

Government have committed to ending the culture of tick-box regulation and creating an environment that gives business confidence and certainty to grow.

Primary authority promotes business confidence through the provision of robust, reliable and consistent advice on compliance issues. It also generates efficiency savings for local authorities, enabling them to target their resources more effectively. In short, it enables better enforcement.

Since their introduction primary authority partnerships have delivered proven benefits to businesses and regulators. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 demonstrates Government’s commitment to primary authority by strengthening the scheme and extending the scope.

In response to the consultation “Transforming Regulatory Enforcement”, the Government committed to pilot the extension of primary authority to fire safety. In autumn 2012 two pilots were set up to examine how partnership working could help improve the delivery of fire safety regulation. One of the pilots looked at how primary authority would work for fire safety, and a second pilot looked at a scheme which was not backed by statute.

The pilots ended in July 2013 and an independent evaluation concluded that partnership working delivered benefits to both businesses and fire and rescue authorities. Although there were positive elements to both schemes, the statutory primary authority scheme represented “the most sensible way forward”.

We are pleased to announce that Government intend to proceed with the extension of primary authority to fire safety with effect from 6 April 2014.

In order to effect this change and bring the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 within the scope of primary authority, we will amend the Co-ordination of Regulatory Enforcement (Enforcement Actions) Order 2009, by means of a statutory instrument, subject to a negative resolution process. We anticipate this happening in the new year.

I am sure that the House will welcome with me the extension of primary authority to include fire safety and the benefits and efficiency savings that this will bring to both businesses and fire safety authorities.