Select Committee on Regulatory Reform Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Local Better Regulation Office



  The Local Better Regulation Office welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Regulatory Reform Committee's inquiry "Getting Results: The Better Regulation Executive and the impact of the Regulatory Reform agenda". This memorandum is being submitted to assist the Committee in their inquiry following the evidence session on 20 May.

  Better local regulation is critical to the wider regulatory reform agenda. It is also critical to achieving the aspirations of communities throughout the UK to tackle community disorder, reduce under-age drinking, improve the environment and combat climate change, and many of the other "wicked" issues. These are the issues which confront councils and their communities and which call for concerted action by a range of partners and using a range of powers and instruments, including—in a significant way—local authority regulatory services.

  LBRO has been set up by the Better Regulation Executive in the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to drive the wider regulatory reform agenda at local level and to support and incentivise improvement in local authority regulatory services (trading standards, environmental health, licensing and fire safety). LBRO's mission is to secure the more effective performance of these services in accordance with the principles of better regulation—enabling councils to strengthen both prosperity and protection at the local level.

  LBRO will help reduce the burden on businesses, and also improve the system of local regulation by providing clearer guidance about priorities, and by identifying and spreading best practice. It will also manage the primary authority scheme that will ensure greater consistency for businesses operating across council boundaries.

  We recognise that the local regulatory system as a whole needs to change if it is to deliver these aspirations. Change will be needed in the approach of all stakeholders—including the national regulators and policy departments—in working together to provide a more coherent and consistent framework for risk, competence, performance management, data capture and impact assessment.

  Our experience shows that there is both much good practice and huge potential within local authority regulatory services to support better local regulation. Yet it is only through working together that this potential can be realised. We are wholeheartedly committed to encouraging and driving change through collaboration and support with partners across the local regulatory landscape.

Clive Grace



LBRO's structure

  The LBRO was established as a government owned company on 4 May 2007 and commenced business on 1 September 2007. The budget during the financial year 2007-08 was £2.029 million and will be £4.4 million in 2008-09. LBRO is accountable to the Secretary of State through the sponsor, the Better Regulation Executive within the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). LBRO will operate as an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB), in accordance with a management statement and financial memorandum agreed with the sponsor department.

  LBRO is led by a nine-member board that brings extensive experience in local government, business, consumer issues, national regulation and advocacy. There are eight non-executive board members (including the Chair), and one ex-officio member (the Chief Executive). There are currently 25 staff members in the LBRO, led by the senior management team.

LBRO's purpose

  LBRO's principal focus is on helping local regulation deliver economic prosperity and community wellbeing. Our statutory mission is to secure the more effective performance of local authority regulatory services in accordance with the principles of good regulation, which means working in a way that does not give rise to unnecessary burdens and ensures that that regulatory activities are:

    —  proportionate;

    —  accountable;

    —  consistent;

    —  transparent; and

    —  targeted.

  The principles of good regulation are not a new concept, and already underpin the work of the Better Regulation Executive in its remit to reduce administrative burdens on businesses and the third sector. However, initial assessment suggests that awareness of these principles within local authority regulatory services is relatively low. It will be an important element of LBRO activity to raise awareness and understanding of the principles and of LBRO's role in improving local authority adoption of the principles of good regulation.


  LBRO activity in 2008-11 will focus around three strategic objectives. It will:

    —  Support service improvement and change in local authority regulatory services.

    —  Directly deliver consistency, principally through the primary authority scheme.

    —  Act to improve the local authority regulatory services system more generally.

  In addition, LBRO will progress work to build the foundations of an excellent organisation, including:

    —  creating contemporary and fit for purpose governance arrangements;

    —  focusing on a clear strategic direction, including revising our strategy to reflect changes in the regulatory system;

    —  developing our capability through investing in developing our people; and

    —  developing an evidence base on the challenges for local regulation.

  The diagram below illustrates the role and functions of LBRO and their relationship to the wider system within which LBRO operates.

  Copyright 2008 Local Better Regulation Office


Legal powers

  The Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill that would establish LBRO as a non-departmental public body with statutory powers has not yet completed the parliamentary process. LBRO cannot pre-empt the decision of Parliament regarding the scale, scope and powers it should have, and so naturally, we await the enactment of the Bill to inform our action around functions and key deliverables.

  Subject to the passage of the Bill, LBRO will be legally responsible for:

    —  Providing guidance to local authorities on regulatory services:

    Providing useable and practical guidance to local authorities is central to LBRO's programme of activity over the next three years, supporting local authority regulatory services to understand the principles of good regulation and drive towards that standard. LBRO will issue statutory guidance to local regulatory services, where appropriate, including to accompany legislative changes, such as the introduction of the Primary Authority scheme. This will assist local authorities by supporting their awareness, understanding and consistency of interpretation of legislation.

    —  Advising ministers about local regulatory reform:

    LBRO will be empowered to advise and make proposals to ministers about the law they set for local authorities to enforce. We expect this to include advice on those areas which are proving excessively burdensome for local authorities in practice including, the use of the newly agreed national performance indicator which seeks the views of the business community on the issues raised by local regulation.

    —  Investing in projects to improve local regulation:

    LBRO's role in the provision of guidance is closely connected to the proposed statutory function for LBRO to incentivise and facilitate the identification, development and dissemination of innovation and good practice through programme funding, ensuring local authorities are supported to drive towards better local regulation.

    —  Updating the list of national enforcement priorities:

    The publication of the Rogers Review in March 2007 was an important milestone: the first time central government had provided clarity on national priorities for local regulatory enforcement. The Bill proposes that LBRO will take on the role of refreshing the national enforcement priorities and preparing a first set of national priorities in Wales. To prepare for this responsibility, LBRO is undertaking an innovative project with a small number of local authorities to explore approaches taken to prioritisation. It will look at the identification, selection and use of local and national enforcement priorities in setting service delivery plans. The results will be published to assist all local authorities in using local, national and community priorities to secure effective service delivery.

    —  Setting up and running the Primary Authority scheme:

    Primary Authority is the focus of LBRO's work to reduce inconsistency and consequent burdens on business. Increased consistency of legislative interpretation and provision of accessible and specialist advice to business provides confidence and a level commercial playing field. It reduces burdens through clear and consistent interactions with local authority regulatory services.

    —  Signing memoranda of understanding with five national regulators:

    LBRO will sign memoranda with the Food Standards Agency, Office of Fair Trading, Health and Safety Executive, Environmental Agency and the Gambling Commission. The challenging nature of our mission, and the complexity of the local regulatory landscape, demands strong collaboration and a partnership approach to identifying challenges, developing solutions and delivering change. In recognition of this, the Bill proposes that LBRO establish a series of memoranda of understanding with key stakeholders setting out how we will work together.

Working in partnership

  Although LBRO is a small organisation, it will have significant powers and influence and it will not operate alone. It will work with a wide range of partner organisations. A diagrammatic representation of the local regulatory environment is at figure 2.

  Among these partners are:

    —  Professional bodies, such as the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Trading Standards Institute.

    —  National regulators, such as the Food Standards Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, the Office of Fair Trading, the Gambling Commission and the Environment Agency.

    —  Local authorities and their representative bodies, such as the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS).

    —  Central government departments, such as the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), Communities and Local Government (CLG) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the National Weights and Measures Laboratory.

    —  Devolved Administrations.

  LBRO will also work closely with bodies representing businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom.

  Copyright 2007 Local Better Regulation Office



  Four stakeholders groups will be affected by and benefit from LBRO's work:

    —  Businesses which will receive consistent interpretation and enforcement of legislation in all parts of the country. Burdens on compliant businesses will be reduced through fewer unnecessary inspections, while access to advice about regulatory issues is improved.

    —  Consumers which will be appropriately protected from rogue businesses and receive consistent and robust protection across the country.

    —  National regulators and policy departments which will provide more consistent messages to local authorities, allowing authorities to focus resources in a way that meets local and national needs.

    —  Local authority regulatory services which will understand the principles of good regulation and be able to assess against that standard represented by those principles, and will drive towards that standard and local authority regulatory services will understand the business environment and work together with business to achieve better local regulation.


  As a key beneficiary of LBRO's outputs, LBRO's relationships with business and business representative organisations will be crucial. Local authority regulatory services' understanding of business drivers and needs is vital and one of LBRO's challenges will be embedding business awareness within local authority regulatory services.

  Some have expressed a view that the benefits that LBRO delivers will be felt primarily by larger, multi-site businesses. In our assessment, benefits will be experienced by businesses of all size and sector.

Benefits for single site businesses

  It is important to recognise that many businesses that trade across local authority boundaries operate from a single site, for example many small and medium sized businesses engaged in manufacturing. Whilst these companies do not encounter inconsistency in the inspection of their premises, they can encounter inconsistency in how their products or services are viewed nationally.

  For this reason the Primary Authority scheme is very relevant and can assist these businesses through:

    —  The guarantee of specialist regulatory advice charged at cost in respect of new products or services.

    —  Removal of the need to enter into further technical debate with other local regulators where advice has been given by the Primary Authority.

    —  The opportunity to channel all interactions with local authorities regarding products or services through a single Primary Authority.

    —  Better co-ordination of national product recalls via a single local authority that is expert in the business.

Benefits for small and medium sized business

  Small and medium sized businesses are unlikely to employ specialist regulatory compliance staff, and are not therefore well equipped to enter into technical argument around regulatory issues. In the same way these companies are less well equipped to fight protracted legal action, for example the defence of prosecutions.

  The benefits for single site businesses are:

    —  The guarantee of specialist regulatory advice charged at cost.

    —  Removal of the need to enter into further technical debate with other local regulators where advice has been given by the Primary Authority.

    —  Inspection plans to help direct the business to regulatory compliance priorities across multiple sites.

    —  An administratively efficient penalties regime that minimises court action.

Benefits for multi-site businesses

  Large multi-site companies often face high volumes of requests for the same information, coupled with high volumes of interactions over low level matters which can be prone to inconsistency in local interpretation. These companies typically employ a team of regulatory compliance experts, as well as relying heavily upon external regulatory compliance consultants. For this reason they have very little need for "advice". What these companies do need is the opportunity to negotiate and reach agreement upon compliance matters at a single point in the local regulatory system.

  For such companies the benefits will be:

    —  A Primary Authority that can give "approval" to a compliance approach, thus providing national certainty from a single point in the local regulatory system:

    —  An agreed national inspection plan developed in consultation with the company that targets inspection resource only at those issues that are of merit.

    —  The opportunity to share commonly requested documents with all local regulators via the primary authority IT system.

    —  The opportunity to develop national systems for interaction with local regulators. For example, the use of inspection plans to agree complaints handling protocols.

    —  A single point of contact within the local regulatory system with the resources and expertise to support the company effectively.

  Business has been responsive to and broadly supportive of the establishment and objectives of LBRO:

    "LBRO's brief is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness with which regulations are enforced...we of course recognise that there is a place for good and appropriate rules. So ensuring these are applied as intelligently as possible is important." Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

    "The British Retail Consortium has been an enthusiastic supporter of LBRO and its proposed role throughout its development over several years." British Retail Consortium

    "We see the introduction of LBRO as a key element in ensuring that progress is made in improving regulation through better working practices within local authorities." J Sainsburys

    "The advisory role is highly important in ensuring a more joined-up understanding between a policy's development and its subsequent implementation." Institute of Directors

  With the Primary Authority scheme being an intended statutory function of LBRO, it will become even more important that business needs are understood. The Primary Authority principle is a key part of LBRO's objective to directly deliver consistency. Businesses will be the key beneficiary of the scheme and support it. For example:

    "The lack of certainty and the inconsistency of approach between authorities genuinely represents a substantial barrier to economic growth." John Lewis Partnership

  LBRO has established positive and strong relationships across a range of organisations and individuals through intensive stakeholder engagement, which has helped raise awareness and increase understanding of the role and purpose of LBRO. This includes with a full range of businesses sizes and sectors ranging from manufacturing, retail and national multi-site companies[50]. In addition, LBRO has engaged with the regional organisational aimed at driving economic development such as Government Office English Regions Economy Teams.


  In 2005, Sir Philip Hampton was commissioned by the Government to review the regulatory system in the UK. His 2005 report highlighted that the present complex approach to local authority regulation allowed wide variations and inconsistencies and that the system as a whole was uncoordinated:

    "There is no central forum for government or local authorities to set priorities or resolve disputing regulation. No single government body is responsible for information to local government. The local government representative bodies, and local authorities themselves, identified this to the review as a major problem... The review does not believe that the present approach to local authority regulation, in allowing such wide variations and inconsistencies in the application of national standards, is delivering what the regulations governing it require."

    Hampton Report[51]

  The establishment of the LBRO largely originates with the Hampton Review, which recommended the creation of a dedicated statutory body to deal with some of the issues associated with the enforcement of regulations by local authorities.

  Hampton noted that local authority enforcers sit at the centre of a system that has grown up over decades, within a framework involving multiple government departments, initiatives and regulators. He found that this is a complex system, with adverse implications for businesses and local authorities alike. He noted in particular that businesses encounter difficulties where they are required to deal with slightly different interpretations of the law in different local authority areas across the country; and highlighted problems for local authority enforcers where they are required to deal with a number of different government departments and national regulators.

  Several other sources of evidence exist which come to similar conclusions. These include:

    —  The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy who collect and analyse operational and financial data for Fire and Rescue Service, Environmental Health and Trading Standards[52].

    —  The Audit Commission's report on trading standards services within England and Wales "Measure for measure: the best value agenda for trading standards services"[53].

    —  The Accounts Commission "Made to measure? An overview of trading standards services in Scotland"[54].

    —  The Office of Fair Trading's report "Developments in Local Authority Trading Standards Services"[55].

    —  LACORS and Tavistock Institute research paper that sets out the features, drivers and barriers to improvement in local authority regulatory services "Tributaries not chains: a policy position paper for LACORS"[56].

  The analysis of the evidence suggests four distinct issues:

    —  Problems created by inconsistency, including inconsistency of interpretation, enforcement and resource allocation and variation over time.

    —  The need for local authority regulatory services to be more outcome-focused.

    —  Structural barriers to change within local authorities.

    —  Difficulties caused by a lack of co-ordinated signals and messages to local authorities from national bodies, including central policy departments and national regulators.

  The local regulatory system needs to provide consistency and allow local needs to be prioritised. There is potential tension between these two aims. There are circumstances in which it is reasonable for business to accept local variation, provided that this is carried out in a transparent way. For example, a business might expect higher levels of enforcement of restrictions on sales of alcohol in areas where alcohol-related antisocial behaviour is a significant local priority.

  LBRO is committed to being an evidence-based organisation. We will develop mechanisms to collect, analyse and evaluate evidence, including carrying out a national survey of business and consumer satisfaction with local authority regulatory services. A key part of our policy development work in the forthcoming year will be to build an evidence base on the challenges facing local authority regulatory services, including establishing the extent, scale and scope of the problems faced.


  It is LBRO's role to ensure that local regulatory activity contributes to outcomes that make a difference to local communities and individuals, most notably supporting improved economic prosperity and community well-being. This should create the conditions to allow compliant, well-run businesses to flourish and provide for the protection of consumers, workers and the environment.

  Since autumn 2007, LBRO has been working in partnership with the department for Communities and Local Government and the local government family, including LACORS, to achieve our mission. LBRO and LACORS agreed a joint statement of collaborative working in February 2008, a copy of which is attached at Annex A. A comparative analysis of the two organisations is provided at Annex B. We recognise the significant work undertaken by LACORS, IDeA and the Local Government Leadership Centre to support the local authority improvement journey and want to explore ways we can work together, for example with leadership development and identifying and disseminating best practice. We are sponsoring the Beacons Scheme award for "Cutting Red Tape" along with key local regulation partners, and with LACORS, we are raising awareness and understanding of elected members of the impact and contribution of local authority regulatory services.

  All local authority chief officers and leaders and all the local government bodies across the UK were consulted on the LBRO draft strategy. We are committed to ensuring that LBRO programmes and projects are consistent with and supportive of the Central-Local Concordat and the local government performance and improvement frameworks.

  In a number of ways LBRO aims to add value and realise clear demonstrable benefits for local authorities, including:

    —  Developing and publishing evidence to demonstrate the value and impact of local authority regulatory services on economic prosperity and community wellbeing.

    —  Working with local authorities, their partner agencies and the wider local government family through pilot work and action research.

    —  Providing evidence based information, case studies and guides to support the dissemination and embedding of good practice and innovative approaches.

    —  Working with national bodies and other partner organisations to address systemic issues that impact on local authorities' ability to deliver excellence.

Supporting improvement

  The mission of LBRO is to secure the effective delivery of local authority regulatory services in a way which does not give rise to unnecessary regulatory burdens; and conforms to the principles of good regulation. Our statutory functions have been designed to support this.

  To achieve this, LBRO will support improvement in local authority regulatory services and improve the regulatory system in which they operate.

  One of the LBRO strategic objectives is to support sector-led service improvement in local authorities, which is aligned to the messages of the National Improvement and Efficiency Strategy (NIES). Work in this area includes exchange programmes to improve the relationship between businesses and local regulators, recognising the role local regulators play in improving economic prosperity.

  Our approach to local authority improvement will be to support the improvement journey of individual local authorities through the promotion of self-assessment and the development of practical tools to do the job. We will also identify and disseminate best practice and provide evidence-based advice to central government on better regulation issues impacting on local authorities. This approach will be firmly rooted in collaborative delivery. While it will be necessary to consider the performance of local authority regulatory services and seek demonstrable improvement in accordance with the principles of better regulation, LBRO will not itself assess performance and will work with department for Communities and Local Government and the Audit Commission within the national performance framework. This role for LBRO in providing support to local authorities and their work on the local economy is included in the recently published the department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Association NIES prospectus[57]. See Annex C for more detail.

  LBRO is also seeking to drive improvement in the regulatory system, and changing the conditions outside the control of local authorities that impact on their ability to deliver excellence. The feedback we have received from local authorities through attending events and through consultation on our draft strategy have emphasised the problems of mixed messages from national regulators and other central bodies. One of our key programmes of work will be to focus on the journey towards a "world-class" local regulatory services system. We have brought together a coalition of partner organisations from across the system, including the national regulators, the professional bodies and national local government bodies, to consider the elements of an excellence standard and appropriate methods of assessment. LBRO will facilitate the coalition and the work of the project not only to agree a common standard but also to agree common frameworks which clarify and simplify the system as a whole. These common frameworks will cover: risk assessment, competency, sharing intelligence, impact and outcomes, and priority setting.


  LBRO has identified an ambitious programme of delivery for the next three years, designed to address both complex issues within local regulation and meet the high expectations of LBRO from stakeholders and partners. We are working in a challenging and complicated environment, but already clear early successes are emerging. Work is progressing well on programme delivery and stakeholder relations, winning the confidence and trust of key players. These early signs provide an indication of the likely long term impact of LBRO; its ability to drive cultural change and improvement in local regulatory services and demonstrate the impact of these services on key high level outcomes.

  Highlights include: awarding regional co-ordination funding for trading standards services, a positive example of LBRO bringing together a coalition of OFT/ BERR/ LBRO to build capacity providing essential clarity in a crowded landscape; commissioning a national survey of business and consumer satisfaction with local authority regulatory services to provide a baseline for measuring our impact, the improvement in regulatory services and allowing comparison with results from both the NAO survey and national indicator 182; publishing a "guide" for regulatory services on the national performance framework for an early focus on the identification of best practice relating to tackling alcohol misuse and associated crime and disorder in response to the findings of the Licensing Act Review; testing the Hampton Implementation Review methodology and Macrory compliance test processes with a local authority and publishing a guide to the Compliance Code, supporting local authority adoption of the Code and better regulation behaviour, and clarifying its relationship to the Enforcement Concordat.

Annex A


  LBRO/04/078 6 March 2008


  Two influential organisations today pledged to work together for better council regulatory services.

  New improvement body the Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) and the long-established the Local Authorities Co-ordinators Of Regulatory Services (LACORS) have issued a joint statement outlining their plans to co-operate.

  In the statement the two bodies say they will:

    —  Collaborate to ensure that council regulatory services are in the best possible position to protect consumers, workers and the environment and reduce unnecessary burdens on business.

    —  Work together to build a `world class' system of local authority regulatory services.

  LACORS chief executive Derek Allen said:

    "LACORS has an established reputation in providing quality advice and guidance to councils and promoting best practice. It champions the important local role of council regulatory services, provides leadership on behalf of local government sector and promotes local authority excellence. The organisation is the national representative body for council regulatory services and has demonstrated its important role in ensuring that local council regulatory services meet the needs and balance the expectations of local people and local businesses."

  LBRO chief executive Graham Russell said:

    "LBRO will take full advantage of its unique statutory role to work with LACORS, the local authorities and our other key partners to ensure that there is a prosperous future for businesses throughout the United Kingdom and the communities they serve. By working together we will be more effective in helping local authorities protect consumers, workers and the environment from rogue traders and support legitimate businesses."


    "LBRO and LACORS have a shared interest in the improvement of local authority regulatory services and the wider landscape in which they operate. Both organisations recognise that it will be essential to work in partnership to achieve maximum mutual benefit and added value across the sector."

    "LACORS was formed 30 years ago by local government to support councils in their delivery of a consistent and effective trading standards service. Over the years its support has been extended and now includes many of the operations associated with councils' environmental health services."

    "The Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) is a new independent organisation created by the Better Regulation Executive to drive the wider regulatory reform agenda at local level and to stimulate, support and incentivise improvement. Its mission is to secure the more effective performance of local authority regulatory services in accordance with better regulation principles. Subject to the passage of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill through Parliament, LBRO will have statutory power to give guidance to local authorities in order to achieve this overall aim."

    "Working together, LACORS and LBRO can share a wealth of experience and expertise, which can be supported by LBRO programme funding. We will benefit from mutually reinforcing roles—lobbying on behalf of local authorities in the case of LACORS, and offering evidence-based advice to government in the case of LBRO."

    "LBRO recognises that LACORS is a key stakeholder and delivery partner in driving improvement. Working closely with the local government associations (LGA, WLGA, COSLA and NILGA) and the Improvement and Development Agency for local government (IDeA), LACORS is ideally placed to support the better regulation agenda across local government, not least in raising awareness and understanding of the role of regulatory services with local councillors."

    "LBRO has a specific brief to reduce the regulatory burdens upon business, while maintaining current high levels of public and environmental protection. In this regard the LBRO will work with all the stakeholders across the regulatory landscape that impact upon regulation at local level. This will include the national regulators, government departments, professional bodies, business and consumers. LBRO will take an evidence-based approach to improvement across this wider landscape in which local authority regulatory services work and will work with all stakeholders to achieve coherence and consistency of approach and outcome."

    "LBRO will also have a statutory duty to review the national enforcement priorities for local authority regulatory services and will work with them to align national priorities to local priorities of wellbeing and economic regeneration, recognising the importance of preserving local discretion within the context of local area agreements. Working together, LBRO and LACORS will be best placed to ensure consistency and transparency in the regulation of business across the country while maintaining local autonomy."

    "The two organisations will develop collaborative projects and have already agreed to work together in a coalition with other partners to explore the issues which will lead to a `world-class' local authority regulatory services system. A joint conference is being planned for summer 2008 and a number of joint publications are being discussed. Both organisations are sponsoring the `Tackling Climate Change' theme in round nine of the Beacon council scheme."

Annex B


  LBRO and LACORS have a shared interest in the improvement of local authority regulatory services and the wider landscape in which they operate. Both organisations recognise that it will be essential to work in partnership to achieve maximum mutual benefit and added value across the sector. There are differences between LBRO and LACORS. LBRO is an independent body, whilst LACORS is a representative body. In addition, LBRO has a necessarily focus on business and the relationship between business and local regulators, whereas LACORS is focused on local authorities and the wider local government family.

VisionTo improve economic prosperity and community wellbeing To be an exemplar local government organisation, leading on policy development, driving improvement and adding value to regulatory services
MissionTo secure the more effective performance of local authority regulatory services in accordance with the principles of better regulation To enhance local government's reputation by informing policy development as well as guiding, supporting and improving the delivery, coordination and consistency of council regulatory services
StatusNon-departmental public body Local government central body
Created byStatuteUK local authority associations (LGA, WLGA, COSLA, NILGA)
Source of fundingCentral Government (BERR) UK local authority Associations (Monies "top sliced" from revenue support grant in England and Wales)
ConstitutionNine member Board, various backgrounds Board of Directors, comprising senior elected members nominated by the UK LA Associations
ValuesOutcome-focused, evidence based, creative, challenging & supportive —  To focus primarily on the needs of council regulatory services and the wider local government family;

—  To work professionally with external stakeholders;

—  To operate as a socially and politically responsible body driven by the needs of local government rather than other interests;

—  To provide a friendly and positive working environment;

—  To encourage, support and develop staff;

—  To be an equal opportunities employer
Key functions (LBRO) / Key aims and objectives (LACORS) —  To operate the Primary Authority scheme, including the provision of a determination service to resolve disputes, whereby nominated "primary" authorities will provide advice to businesses that operate across council boundaries and agree inspection plans to guide other local authorities in their interaction with the business, thereby improving consistency;

—  To provide advice to central government on enforcement and regulatory issues associated with local government;

—  To issue statutory guidance to local authorities in respect of regulatory services;

—  To review and revise the list of national enforcement priorities;

—  To use programme funding to achieve strategic outcomes, in particular to facilitate identification, description and dissemination of innovation and good practice;

—  To develop formal partnerships (memoranda of understanding) with national regulators.
—  To work with, and on behalf of, the UK local authority associations and serve their best interests on regulatory and related services;

—  To drive improvement and raise the profile of regulatory services;

—  To support and promote the important role and contribution of these services in improving community well being;

—  To provide authorities with advice and guidance and assist in the development and dissemination of good practice;

—  To support and promote effective coordination, consistency and cooperation between local authorities;

—  To develop effective partnership working with key stakeholder organisation particularly government;

—  To advise local authorities, their associations, central government departments and its agencies and the European Union on effective policy, legislation and enforcement; and

—  To develop collaborative arrangements with local government and relevant European enforcement networks


  In January 2008, the political leadership of the LGA agreed to carry out a rapid review of the long-term business strategy and commissioning arrangements for the local government family, namely:

    —  Local Government Association (LGA).

    —  Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA).

    —  Public Private Partnerships Programme (4ps).

    —  LACORS.

    —  Local Government Employers (LGE).

  The review began in March and reported in June 2008, the recommendations will be put to the LGA executive. The review is intended to ensure that LGA and the above central bodies are fit for future purpose, using an approach of both internal and external challenge. It is anticipated that some changes will be implemented from April 2009. It is possible that the outcome could be an integrated central body, funded by a levy with the existing central bodies and the leadership centre merged into an integrated company.

Annex C


  The first National Improvement and Efficiency Strategy (NIES) was published in December 2007 and agreed between central and local government (signed by John Healey and David Shakespeare, as Chair of the Local Government Association's Improvement Board). The strategy focuses on delivering improvement in local authorities in the context of significant environmental, economic and social challenges, rising public expectations and slowed growth in public spending. Within the "Prospectus 2008: the guide to improvement and efficiency support", which was developed by alongside the strategy, LBRO is referred to under the local economy theme as a source of support:

Local Better Regulation Office

  The Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO) has been set up by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to drive the wider regulatory reform agenda at local level, and to stimulate, support and incentivise improvement. LBRO working closely with LACORS will offer local authorities access to best practice in local authority regulatory services and provide opportunities for sharing advice and guidance, and working directly with local authorities on pilot and project work. The two bodies will:

    —  collaborate to ensure that council regulatory services are in the best possible position to protect consumers, workers and the environment and reduce unnecessary burdens on business;

    —  work together to build a "world class" system of local authority regulatory services and work together for better council regulatory services.

  Source:CLG/ LGA: Prospectus 2008: the guide to improvement and efficiency support, March 2008

  LACORS, as part of the local government family, are referred to as "enablers":

Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS)

  Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services provides key advice, guidance and best practice to council regulatory services practitioners, to ensure the delivery of consistent, proportionate, fair and transparent, and joined up regulatory services in supporting local economies and protecting their communities.

  Source:  CLG/ LGA: Prospectus 2008: the guide to improvement and efficiency support, March 2008

June 2008

50   Representative organisations that LBRO has engaged with include Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors, Forum for Private Business, British Chambers of Commerce and individual Chambers. Back

51   Philip Hampton/ HM Treasury, "Reducing administrative burdens: effective inspection and enforcement" March 2005, pages 71-75 Back

52   Registration is required to access the materials from the CIPFA website Back

53   Audit Commission, 1999 available at ID=&ProdID=70CB035B-C64C-404F-A85E-85EBE9E5890F Back

54   "Measure for measure: the best value agenda for trading standards services", The Accounts Commission Back

55   Developments in Local Authority Trading Standards Services Report of the OFT-TSS 2006 Survey Volume 1: Statistics available from LACORS website Back

56   Tavistock Institute and LACORS, November 2006 Back

57   "Prospectus 2008: the guide to improvement and efficiency support" Back

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