The team at Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership working to streamline and simplify business regulation are celebrating after winning a prestigious award.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP has been honoured with the LEP Recognition Award by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) for its pioneering work in bringing together the business community and regulators to change how local regulation is delivered and make life more straightforward for businesses.
The result is a Regulatory Charter, backed by organisations including local chambers of commerce and local authorities across the LEP area, Staffordshire Fire Service and Police, the Environment Agency and ACAS, which commits them all to ensure that regulation is proportionate, balanced and well targeted.
Karen Woolley, Development Manager for the FSB, commented: “We were absolutely delighted to award the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership with the FSB’s LEP Recognition Award for its work around the creation of a Regulatory Charter which was signed between 19 organisations, including the FSB, to provide a regulatory environment which promotes success in business.
“It has been generally accepted in the past that small businesses are rather reluctant to put their head above the parapet and ask for help from regulatory agencies for fear of leaving themselves open to enforcement action. This has often led to businesses burying their heads in the sand and not seeking support with regulatory issues which could render them non-compliant.
“This initiative is an excellent example of trying to dispel some myths for small businesses and helping them to stay in business. After all, I think we are well aware that, for the most part, genuine businesses are not out to flout the rules but they may fall foul by being ill informed. Any measures which help a business to comply are welcomed and will only serve to create an environment which enables better business for all.”
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP has brought a wide range of partners around the table to tackle issues around regulation and has encouraged businesses to get involved.
The LEP has set up an Enterprise Round Table, where business support organisations, including regulators, can share information and build their knowledge. Regulators attend training sessions for LEP Growth Hub advisers working to help local businesses grow, and have input into how calls are handled by the LEP’s Business Helpline. One of the local partners, Lichfield District Council, has also created ‘Talk to Reg’ – an online directory explaining business regulation, which is now used nationally.
LEP chairman David Frost CBE commented: “We are delighted that this pioneering work has been recognised in the FSB award. It is very important that regulators should work constructively with business, so that we can all benefit from a streamlined system that is easier to understand and navigate.
“This kind of partnership working is vital to help our economy to flourish and encourage growth as well as more and better job opportunities for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.”
This is the second year running the LEP has featured in the FSB awards – last year it was highly commended in the LEP recognition category for its Growth Hub’s work providing advice for small businesses.
Businesses seeking advice on regulation or any other issue can contact the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Business Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Business support team leader Nicola Kent is pictured receiving the award, with colleague Matthew Shufflebotham from the Economic Regeneration Team, right, and John Poole, FSB Regional Chairman for Staffordshire and the West Midlands, left.