Primary authority scheme to be further extended to fire safety

By Ron Reid

The Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has announced that the Primary Authority Scheme will be extended to cover fire safety in England and Wales with effect from 6 April 2014.

The Primary Authority Scheme allows businesses that operate in more than one local authority area to enter into a partnership and thereafter deal with a single lead local authority. This local authority is then known as the primary authority (PA). To date, such a partnership has only been applicable to health and safety, environmental health, trading standards legislation and some specific functions such as food safety and petroleum licensing.

The scheme is intended to ensure that local regulation by different authorities, interacting with a business, is consistent in terms of advice, the co-ordination of inspections and enforcement. It tries to address the past criticism of regulators that they were reluctant to commit themselves to approving a policy or procedure but quick to enforce a breach…

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