Anderson Review calls for free Government Advice

Health and Safety

An independent review has recommended that the Government introduces a free advice service for small firms on employment law and health and safety issues.

Health and Safety

According to small–business owner Sarah Anderson’s Government–backed report, the Anderson Review, three–quarters of small firms have paid for advice on employment law or health and safety regulations in the past. This equates to a total of £1.4 billion per year.

“Many small businesses do not use and have no confidence in guidance from the Government. The vast majority of small businesses want to comply with the law. The Government should give them a cost effective and efficient way for them to do so.” said Anderson.

Anderson has proposed the Government introduce a free advice service to help firms cut these costs. Her recommendations include:

  • introducing a free telephone advice service for small businesses, offering tailored advice to ensure they comply with employment and health and safety laws.
  • establishing a range of other channels through which businesses can access guidance, including electronically, through printed material and face–to–face consultation.
  • providing businesses with a guarantee that if they follow the guidance they will not be prosecuted.
  • introducing a system through which businesses can report inconsistent or inaccurate Government guidance, with an obligation on the Government to respond to and resolve the issues.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) said that if health and safety legislation for small firms was simpler there would be no need for such a service. FPB chief executive Phil Orford said:

“The level of regulation should be proportionate to the size of a business, and if the Government adopted this strategy, guidance relating to new and existing legislation would be simple to deliver,”

“Instead, public–money may now be spent duplicating established, expert–based, reliable business support services available from the private sector, with little regard to cost or demand,” he added.

According to the FPB, the Government are considering the review, but have not provided a date when they will make a decision on the proposals.

For further information read the Anderson Review proposals.

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