Business regulation affects all organisations, because businesses must comply with UK law to run in this country.
Often, business regulation can seem more complicated or challenging than it actually is. Most local authorities and other business support organisations have regulation teams who are there to help, and you can simplify the focus and get up and running quicker when you engage with them.
Better Business for All works in the North East to simplify business regulation and make it an easier process for companies. Here’s an overview of the types of regulation you need to cover, and where to get the guidance you need.
- Building control: Managed by local authorities, these departments manage all buildings and structures, including inspecting building sites, and also deal with a variety of permits and licenses, like those needed for skips and scaffolding
- Environmental protection: Pollution control and environmental permits are managed by individual local authorities, but the Government also has a specific Environment Agency which provides a range of other resources
- Fire: Every business can benefit from fire safety advice; conducting fire risk assessments, ensuring alarms are in place, and so on. But for some firms the hazards associated with higher risk activities, like the management of flammable materials, carry extra regulation.
- Food: There are a number of laws which apply to businesses who sell, import, export, or work with food, around areas like food safety, hygiene, and traceability
- Health & Safety: Simple for some businesses, and very complex for others, looking after the health and safety of yourself, your staff, your customers and anyone else who might be impacted by the work you do, is vital. The Health and Safety Executive is the regulatory body which oversees the implementation of the Health and Safety at Work Act. They have a business toolkit specifically aimed at SMEs, but the requirements for each business type will be different
- Licensing: Depending on your business sector and function, licenses may be required in order for you to carry out your services. From fishing, to gambling, to waste collection, and beyond, it’s best to seek advice to make sure you allow the right amount of time to follow appropriate procedures
- Planning: Local authorities plan for, and make decisions about, the future of cities, towns, villages and countryside. You’ll need to know all about this if you’re looking at developing on land, or if you’ll be using existing buildings yourself. Considerations include the environment and local regeneration, as well as economic activity
- Trading Standards: Nationally, the job of trading standards is to protect consumers and safeguard businesses. They prevent businesses from acting unfairly, misleading customers, and selling unfit goods, to name just some of their responsibilities. They attempt to fix problems by providing advice, but they can also instigate formal enforcement action, so it’s important that you pay attention to them.
The complexity of these fields mean that expert help is invaluable – and it’s freely available to North East businesses through a local voluntary partnership.
Better Business for All (BBFA) is being delivered in partnership by the Department for International Trade, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), North East Fire and Rescue Services, local authority regulatory services and the North East and Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnerships.