A More Business-Friendly Approach to Enforcement

Article excerpt

Regulatory bodies in the West Midlands are setting the pace in the development of a more business friendly approach to enforcement.

Here is a brief digest of the ways in which some of them are helping companies to comply with regulations.

Birmingham City Council "Our work is about providing support, help and guidance to businesses and our priority is to ensure compliance," says Jacqui Kennedy, director of regulation and enforcement at the council, which regulates businesses ranging in size from multinationals such as Kraft down to jewellery workshops in Hockley.

"The city's regulators try to keep inspections to a minimum and communicate with businesses regularly via questionnaires and talks.

"We are not big stick people unless we have to use a stick," says Jacqui.

"We are proportionate in our response." Proof of the success of the approach comes from a recent survey that showed 90 per cent of those questioned were confident abut buying goods and services in Birmingham.

Worcestershire Regulatory Services Established in 2010, WRS is a shared service that combines the regulatory functions of six district councils and Worcestershire County Council's trading standards service, "It brings a number of different regulators under one management structure and one roof, and that enables us to be more business friendly in a lot of ways," Steve Jordon, head of WRS, said.

"One of the first things we did was went out and talked to businesses and to customers and the public about what was important to them and what really mattered to them.

"What businesses told us was, 'I just want to trade, can you help me trade well'."

WRS has found that many companies welcome inspections as a source of good information that helps them to comply. …