Food Law News - UK - 2006

FSA News Item, 11 December 2006

ADMINISTRATION - FSA publishes simplification plan

The Simplification Plan is available on this site. See Simplification Plan

The Agency today publishes its Simplification Plan, a wide-ranging strategy designed to cut business red tape, reduce the burden on enforcement officers, and improve levels of consumer protection.

The plan draws together a number of initiatives that the Agency has in hand for reducing the burden of the regulations for which it is responsible. The Agency has calculated that, taken together, all these measures will save business and the public sector some £195 million per annum, without damaging consumer protection.

Most of the savings come from a cattle testing system for BSE, which eases the administrative burden on livestock farmers. Farmers' revenue should also increase, as the return from the sale of cattle from human consumption is greater than that which farmers received through the compensation scheme.

Other initiatives include the deregulation of butchers' licensing and GRAIL, a database system developed with some of the UK 's Port Health Authorities. The latter gives each authority rapid access to the relevant legislation relating to food imports.

The Agency believes that levels of consumer protection will increase, because when businesses find it easier to obey the law then more will comply. Enforcement officers will benefit too, because they will spend less time on paperwork, and be freed up to talk to businesses, again boosting compliance.

The Government is determined to reduce the amount of red tape that it imposes on business and boost competitiveness, through its ‘better regulation' policies. The Agency decided to participate in this process, because reducing bureaucracy offers consumers improved protection.

Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair of the FSA, said: ‘We are firmly committed to better regulation. Simplifying regulation makes compliance easier and leads to better public protection.'

Philip Clarke, Head of Better Regulation at the Agency, added: ‘Simplification is a three-pronged strategy touching on all stakeholders: businesses, consumers and local authorities. Fully implemented it will make a lasting difference, benefiting all.'

FSA Web Page, 11 December 2006

Simplification plan 2006/2007

The FSA's Simplification Plan 2006/07 contains a comprehensive set of initiatives to make food regulations simpler and easier to comply with.

The plan identifies a number of ways the Agency can enhance consumer protection by reducing unnecessary paperwork and administrative burdens of food regulation. Simplified regulation benefits everyone: businesses because it is easier to comply with; the enforcement community because it is easier to enforce; and consumers because if more businesses comply with legislation consumer protection will increase.

It includes a number of initiatives such as the deregulation of butchers' licensing which will save the industry £1.3 million a year in fees and reduced administration, as well as a major ICT project – GRAIL – which enables all Port Health Officers to search for legislation and guidance electronically rather than on paper as before.

The Plan also provides a number of examples of where the FSA has taken steps to reduce private sector burdens being introduced by the new EU food hygiene legislation. The FSA's flagship Safer Food Better Business initiative is a good example of where the Agency has sought to minimise the burden imposed on business while still achieving the same outcomes.

The initiatives in the plan are expected to save the public and private sectors more that £195 million a year.

But the Agency still needs your help. What have we missed? Are there other areas where we could simplify regulations? The FSA would welcome further suggestions for simplification at any time, which will be considered for next year's plan. Even if ideas don't immediately spring to mind, do take this opportunity to consider all the ways in which you are affected by regulation and where the major impacts lie.

Do the regulations for which the Food Standards Agency is responsible, and which impact on you and your business, comply with the five principles of good regulation? Are they proportionate, accountable, consistent, transparent and targeted?

The Principles of Good Regulation provide a good benchmark against which to judge whether the regulatory regime under which your organisation operates is effective.

To go to main Foodlaw-Reading Index page, click here.