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Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008

General functions of LBRO

Section 5: Objective relating to general functions

27.Section 5 sets out LBRO’s objective. This is that LBRO must, when carrying out its general functions under section 6 to 10, seek to secure that local authorities exercise their relevant functions effectively, in a way that does not give rise to unnecessary burdens and in a way which conforms to the principles set out in subsection (2). These principles are the Better Regulation Commission’s Principles of Good Regulation.

Section 6: Guidance to local authorities

28.Under section 6, LBRO has the function of giving guidance to local authorities as to how they should exercise their relevant functions. Guidance issued under section 6 may be given to one or more local authorities and may relate to one or more relevant functions. This means that LBRO could, for example, give guidance to a single local authority about how often it should be carrying out inspections of premises of a certain type, or more general guidance relevant to all authorities on how to enforce specific pieces of legislation, or in respect of areas of regulation.

29.LBRO may also issue guidance relating to the way in which a local authority exercises its functions in a particular case. This means that LBRO could, for example, issue guidance to a local authority about the way in which it is enforcing trading standards rules in respect of a particular business. Local authorities are required to have regard to guidance issued by LBRO under this section. Under subsection (6), LBRO may vary or revoke any guidance issued under this section by issuing further guidance under this section.

30.Before giving guidance, LBRO must consult: those persons whose activities are regulated by the exercise of the function, or persons representative of such persons (businesses and trade associations for example); local authorities in England and Wales, or such persons representative of local authorities in England and Wales (for example, the Local Government Association and LACORS (Local Authority Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services) as LBRO considers appropriate. LBRO must also consult any other persons it considers appropriate. These are likely to include businesses and other bodies that are subject to regulation, any relevant regulators, and relevant representative bodies such as the Trading Standards Institute or the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Section 7: Guidance to local authorities: enforcement

31.Section 7 allows LBRO to give directions to a local authority to comply with any guidance that has been issued by it under section 6, or guidance issued by another body (such as a national regulator), which relates to the exercise of a relevant function.

32.Before issuing a direction under section 7, LBRO must consult the local authorities to whom the direction is being given; any relevant regulator; and any other persons that LBRO considers appropriate. Subsection (6) defines a relevant regulator as ‘a person (other than a local authority in England and Wales) with regulatory functions which relate to the matter to which the direction relates’.

33.Subsection (2) requires LBRO to obtain the consent of the Secretary of State before issuing any direction under this section. Any such direction to one or more local authorities in Wales in relation to a Welsh ministerial function is subject to the consent of the Welsh Ministers. Where LBRO issues a direction to two or more local authorities in England and Wales, consent by the Secretary of State or Welsh Ministers must be made by order, subject to the negative resolution procedure (see section 20(2)).

34.Subsection (7) requires LBRO to publish any directions that it issues under this section. Under subsection (8) LBRO may vary or revoke any guidance issued under this section by issuing further guidance under this section.

Section 8: Financial support and assistance to local authorities

35.Section 8 allows LBRO to provide financial support to local authorities in relation to the exercise of their relevant functions and to any other person for the purpose of assisting local authorities in the exercise of their relevant functions. It is expected that LBRO will use this function to support and promote best practice by local authority regulatory services.

Section 9: Advice to Ministers of the Crown

36.Under subsection (1) LBRO can provide advice or make proposals to a Minister of the Crown in respect of the following matters: the way that local authorities exercise their relevant functions; the effectiveness of legislation or proposed legislation relating to the exercise of those functions; whether it would be appropriate for any other regulatory functions to be exercised by local authorities; and any other matter that relates to the way in which local authorities exercise their relevant functions. If a Minister requests advice or proposals on these matters from LBRO, then LBRO is obliged to provide such advice or make such proposals.

Section 10: Advice to Welsh Ministers

37.Section 10 confers an equivalent power and equivalent requirements on LBRO to those in section 9 with regard to advising Welsh Ministers in relation to Welsh ministerial matters.

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