At some point in their lifespan, most businesses will come across, what to many will be the thorny issue of regulations. Regulations have to be complied with, right? And so naturally, many businesses see them as a pain, something that takes time out of their working day, can be complicated, and sometimes costly to comply with.
In Greater Manchester, however, a new scheme is launching aimed at making things simpler – and easier – for businesses when it comes to compliance. So if you’re a business needing some assistance with licensing, health and safety, food safety, fire safety – or anything else in between that comes under the regulation banner, this is good news.
Regulatory authorities across GM have launched a programme called the Greater Manchester Regulatory Centre of Excellence (GMRCE). In essence, this is a partnership of the 10 local authorities in GM, plus the Fire and Rescue Service, with the aim to deliver assured guidance and advice on compliance, in a one-stop-shop process for any business seeking help. Firms will be able to get help in typical compliance areas such as trading standards, environmental health – especially around food safety law and health and safety – as well as licensing, and fire safety.
Nick Reddrop, the man appointed with co-ordinating the programme, explains the principles behind the scheme: “The beauty of this partnership – which we call a primary authority partnership – is that businesses won’t suffer from different interpretations of regulatory law depending on the area in which your product or service is sold.
“Other local councils must take the advice a business has been given into account and contact the issuing primary authority partner if there is non-compliance issue, or they receive a complaint about a business. This means you don’t have the headache of dealing with other local councils if you have complied with the advice provided by your primary authority. It’s about making it easier for small firms and creating a more level playing field.”
“The concept is simple, good regulation can promote business growth rather than become a barrier and this is best achieved by a business and regulator working together,” adds Nick.
So, if you’re a business in GM, you’ll have access to trading standards, licensing, environmental health and fire safety specialists in not one, but 11 authorities across the whole of Greater Manchester, in what is the first partnership of its kind in the country.
The GMRCE will always try to match you with the local authority in which you are based as they are likely to know you and your business best, but if they don’t have the expertise to help, there will be someone in Greater Manchester who does.
Nick continues: “So, if you’re a business in Rochdale, you might receive advice from a licensing specialist in Salford, but if you are in a primary authority partnership, the advice you receive can be assured, and therefore can’t easily be contested by another authority. In theory, a business based in say, Cheshire could also enter into a primary authority partnership with the GMRCE and receive assured advice from an expert from across Greater Manchester and other authorities would have to contact the us before taking any enforcement action.”
Primary authorities are also able to work alongside private consultants in approving policies and practices that they have devised for their clients. Like consultants, local authority officers have vast experience in seeing what businesses do well, and what they don’t. This combined intelligence will help the business they are working with identify the highest risk areas and offer advice on best practice and how to reduce those risks.
Nick adds: “What we’re offering here is specialist scrutiny of processes and practices in a safe environment, highlighting any deficiencies and focusing on the areas of high risk for a business.
“Ultimately, this means they will have confidence that they’re complying with the law, protecting their customers, reducing the risk of costly mistakes, and saving time and money.
To learn more about GMRCE, Nick Reddrop can be contacted on 07545462247 or by email