The Government has confirmed it’s commitment  to providing businesses with the confidence and certainty to grow. As part of its package to drive growth, Primary Authority is being extended in three ways: to enable more businesses to join, to strengthen inspection plans and to bring more regulations in scope. The Government is investing in the scheme because it improves the way regulators work with businesses at the same time as improving crucial public protections and better supporting local authorities in targeting their resources.

Statutory guidance is issued to assist those using the scheme and sets out detail beyond the provisions in the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008. The guidance was last issued when Primary Authority began, in 2009. It is being revised now to reflect:

-       changes effected by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which extends eligibility and strengthens inspection plans

-       Government’s commitment to include new regulations in the scope of Primary Authority (age-restricted sales of gambling, sunbed tanning, Housing Health & Safety Rating System and Welsh regulations on single use carrier bag charging); and

-       the evolution of the scheme since 2009.

You will be aware that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is currently outside of the scope of Primary Authority. However, the scheme does extend to other regulatory areas, such as regulations relating to explosives licensing and petroleum licensing, which are already within scope of Primary Authority and as such some fire and rescue authorities have responsibilities as enforcing authorities under the scheme. Some fire and rescue authorities are also primary authorities to businesses for these categories.

You may also be aware that a pilot scheme has been ongoing to explore the implications of including fire safety within Primary Authority. A full evaluation is taking place that will inform Ministers of the key findings of the pilots and will allow them to make a decision on whether Primary Authority should be extended to fire safety or whether the non-statutory scheme led by CFOA would be adopted. No decision has yet been taken as to which approach will be adopted and the revised statutory guidance does not therefore extend to fire safety, as drafted, but would extend to fire safety if Ministers decide to extend the scheme.

The consultation ends on the 16th August and the National Social Housing Fire Strategy Group are monitoring the situation closely.