Opinion: A Comment on the Hampton Review

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A review of the impact of regulatory enforcement approaches upon businesses in the UK was recently undertaken by Philip Hampton at the request of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This review aimed to identify the ways that the administrative burden of regulations on businesses could be reduced, whilst maintaining or improving regulatory outcomes.1 The resulting document, entitled ‘Reducing Administrative Burdens: effective inspection and enforcement’ was published in March 2005, and its recommendations have all been adopted by the Chancellor. This review follows on from the work of the Better Regulation Task Force (BRTF) which was established in 1997. The Task Force aimed to promote better (and more consistent) regulation and enforcement by UK government agencies, and developed five principles to guide regulations and their enforcement: transparency, consistency, proportionality, targeting and accountability.2 In 1998 the Cabinet Office published the Enforcement Concordat, setting out what businesses and others should expect from enforcement officers and this has been agreed by both central and local government. The Concordat reinforces the risk-based approach to inspection previously recommended by the Cabinet Office.3 This means that higher risk activities should attract more enforcement attention.

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