Owning a business comes with a seemingly endless list of challenges. Stock delivery, cash flow, sales forecasts, product quality, staff retention, competitors, overheads, customer satisfaction. And that’s just for starters. The list is constantly changing and entrepreneurs could be forgiven for feeling like they’re forever spinning plates. While successfully managing all of the above is a surefire recipe for business success, there’s not a single entrepreneur who looks forward to dealing with the necessary evil that is bureaucracy. Especially at the very start when there’s nobody else to help, wasting time filling in endless forms is an incredibly frustrating endeavor.
Encouragingly, the government has stepped in with an initiative aimed at trimming away the fat from industry regulation and putting business groups in the driving seat. Under the Business Focus on Enforcement scheme, business groups will be able to collect information from their members before presenting evidence directly to ministers and regulators in order to remove needless red tape – all without weakening essential controls.
The first industries under the spotlight are the fresh produce and livestock farming sectors. The Fresh Product Consortium (FPC) and the National Farmers Union (NFU) have been chosen to investigate a wide ranging list of matters including high or inconsistent charges at ports on imports of perishable goods, overlaps and inconsistencies in regulator livestock visits and the data requested by local authorities.
“We are changing the way Whitehall works, listening directly to business to help them grow, create prosperity and jobs,” said Matthew Hancock, minster for business, enterprise and energy. “Businesses will now have the power to lead the reform of counterproductive, time-consuming or bureaucratic enforcement of regulation that can get in the way of growth.
“Putting reputable private sector experts in the driving seat will help us improve the way regulation is enforced without compromising standards. It is all part of our unambiguously pro-business agenda to increase the financial security of the British people.”
Nigel Jenney, chief executive of the FPC, was optimistic about the impact the scheme could make. “We welcome this innovative approach by UK government which allows industry to highlight key areas of concern and to present vital evidence on issues. FPC members have raised with us problems they experience and we want to take this opportunity to investigate further and present the findings to the minister.”
The government certainly seems to be going all-out to prove its pro-small business credentials. As with everything though, we await to see whether the impact of this latest wheeze turns out as positive as promised.