Cheltenham Borough Council
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Decision details

BBfa partnership

Decision Maker: MD of Place and Economic Development-Tim Atkins

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decision:

The Council participates in the Gloucestershire ‘Better Business for All (BBfA)’ (Regulatory Advice) Partnership, and commits to the obligations as laid out in the BBfA Partnership Charter.

Reasons for the decision:

The BBfA initiative was established by the Better Regulation Delivery Office

(BDRO); part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and within Gloucestershire is delivered through the Growth Hub which is a

partnership between the Gloucestershire First Local Enterprise Partnership

(GFirst LEP) and Gloucestershire University.

 

BBfA aims to show our local businesses how working with your local regulators can save them time and money, improve their competitiveness and help grow the business. It is also about encouraging more businesses in Cheltenham to seek advice from local regulators by highlighting the benefits of regulation to business, without fear of enforcement activity. From the Council’s point of view it’s equally about gaining a better understanding of how businesses operate and the pressures they face.

 

Supporting BBfA would allow many of our traditional regulatory services (Licensing, Food Safety, Health & Safety, Environmental Protection and Building Control) to build positive relationships with our local businesses and grow our reputation as supporters of growth.

 

Delivering business advice in a non-regulatory framework has the potential to deliver more sustainable improvements that would in turn reduce the amount of formal intervention by our Regulatory Officers in the future.  The proposal would in practice enable the Council to provide businesses with more in-depth advice and support in a consultancy type capacity as opposed to the more formal but light touch provision of information and direction we currently provide often following a formal inspection, complaint or service of legal notices.

 

Resource Implications

Although a significant amount of assistance to businesses will be available on a free of charge basis it is proposed that the Partnership markets its services via a set of indicative Council set fees & charges for certain types of advice covering the range of regulatory services we provide. In addition it is proposed to offer packaged/tailored advice to meet specific needs based on officer time.

 

 Although the fees and charges will be set by the Council on a cost recovery basis it is anticipated that the proposal has in the short to medium term the potential to generate an income for the Council without introducing additional resource to deliver it. This type of advice and support is currently offered by a variety of third parties and we would be simply providing businesses with another option should they wish to consider it within that market place.

 

If the scheme were to prove successful it may result in an income being generated and this has not been budgeted for, as it would prove difficult to forecast.

 

Across the Council Lead Officers have been identified for BBfA and these will be the main points of contact should a business wish to discuss receiving our services. These Lead Officers will also be charged with cascading BBfA information amongst relevant staff and delivering BBfA training and updates.

 

At the outset this project is built upon the Council providing regulatory advice outside of a regulatory framework and delivered by existing staff. No additional resource would be required to deliver this work unless business demand at some stage in the future required it. If this situation was reached a business case would be submitted for additional resource.

 

 

 

The Growth Hub is currently funded via a funding application made to the Local Growth Fund (£2bn) allocation. When this funding is spent, there will likely be a request for partners to contribute to the Growth Hubs sustainability.

 

The Council retains its option to terminate its participation in the partnership.

Alternative options considered:

Consideration has been given to providing such a service in isolation and not in partnership with other local Council’s under the banner of The Growth Hub. This does not seem prudent however as The Growth Hub existing business audience would allow them to advertise our services extensively. It will also be consistent with other BBfA partnerships across the country.

Consultees

Internal consultation undertaken with:

Cllr Andrew McKinlay - Cabinet Member for Development and Safety

Mike Redman – Director of Environment

Sarah Clark - Public & Environmental Health Team Leader

Contact: Email: tim.atkins@chelteham.gov.uk.

Publication date: 22/12/2017

Date of decision: 21/12/2017

Accompanying Documents: