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Improving Regulation in Scotland (IRIS) Unit

Improving Regulation in Scotland (IRIS) Unit. Working together for Scotland - A programme for Government lays out the Scottish Executive's vision -

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Improving Regulation in Scotland (IRIS) Unit

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  1. Improving Regulation in Scotland (IRIS) Unit

  2. Working together for Scotland - A programme for Government lays out the Scottish Executive's vision - 'Working together to make our nation more prosperous and our economy more competitive. Building a pro-enterprise culture in Scotland.We want success to be valued and business to flourish.' Freeing businesses from unnecessary regulation, appropriate implementation of new regulations and good enforcement policies and procedures will contribute to securing this vision The Improving Regulation in Scotland (IRIS) Unit was launched on 24 November 1999 by Henry McLeish, then Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, to meet this challenge. 'A better deal for business'

  3. The IRIS Unit will put a searchlight on business regulation. In partnership with business we will flush out regulations causing difficulty and ask what is really needed. We will co-ordinate the wide ranging activity to be taken forward under the Executive’s evolving Improving Regulation Strategy. We will focus on the interests and needs of small firms. We will be outward looking and take on-board the concerns of the Scottish business community. We will pursue any business concerns about regulations whether they are the responsibility of the Scottish Executive, UK government departments, public sector agencies or local authorities. The challenge

  4. The debate "Working together for Scotland"is at the core of the Executive's approach and the IRIS Unit is no exception. The Unit has been active in developing an open and constructive dialogue with the business community. Through seminars in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Ayr, dialogue with the Small Business Consultative Group, and a dedicated website, e-mail and hotline, the Unit has tried to develop the improving regulation strategy in partnership with business. The Regulatory Summit on 18 June 2001 brings together all sides of the debate, the businesses, the regulators and the consumer groups, with an aim to discuss this area in all its complexities and strive for workable solutions.

  5. Action so far Since it was set up the IRIS Unit has considered over 100 regulations. The Unit has pursued over 170 business concerns both within the Executive and at Westminster The Unit has assisted in the promotion of the Enforcement Concordat, now adopted by all Local Authorities in Scotland and many other public sector agencies. An Improving Regulation Strategy has been introduced with new ideas such as the 'Regulatory MOT' and Micro business tests.

  6. Programme for Government 2 committed the IRIS Unit to bringing forward an 'Improving Regulation Strategy' in spring 2001. On 15 February 2001, the First Minister and the Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning announced a package of measures which together represent significant progress on the Improving Regulation agenda. Announcing the groundbreaking package the First Minister said "Red tape [is] at the top of small business concerns and we are taking action ... Through joined up government, modern government, we can put Scotland at the top of the list when it comes to encouraging enterprise" The Strategy

  7. The most radical change to previous practice contained in the Improving Regulation Strategy was the introduction of the Review RIA or 'Regulatory MOT'. All Scottish regulation which impacts significantly upon business will now be subject to a 'Regulatory MOT' within 10 years. This will ensure each regulation remains fit for its purpose and its continuation is justified. The periodic reviewof regulations has long been a desire for business and the Scottish Executive has delivered on this. Review RIA

  8. Another new idea at the core of the Improving Regulation Strategy is the introduction of Micro Business Tests. Businesses felt that the existing 'Small Business Test' was not sufficiently sensitive to the characteristics of the Scottish economy with its very high number of very small firms. Recognising this, the Micro Business Test has been introduced. Now all proposed regulations impacting on business will include an assessment of their impact upon the micro business (1- 5 workers). Micro Business Tests

  9. The Welcome The announcement of these measures and others within the Improving Regulation Strategy, such as the road testing of business forms, was widely welcomed. Scottish business organisations, such as the Federation of Small Businesses, business commentators and members of the Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Committee welcomed the progress. "It is good to see that the Executive is listening to the small business sector,"

  10. The successes The work of the IRIS Unit and the value of the strategy will only be felt when it brings tangible results and benefits to the Scottish business community. Here are some early examples of success. • National Care Standards - "to further safeguard vulnerable people but not through a maze of prescriptive regulation" • NPPG Reviews and Strategic Planning - "Efficient operation of the system is an issue that concerns the Scottish Executive as well as local authorities and service users... focus on whether the framework of guidance provided is appropriate to support economic development" • The Unit has strived to change the regulatory culture and behind the scene pressures have secured improvements in regulations.

  11. The debate on regulation has rightly focused on the regulations which are the responsibility not only of the Executive The IRIS Unit has contributed to this debate. Cabinet Office at Westminster and DG Enterprise in Brussels are committed to freeing businesses from unnecessary regulations and success in both these areas is bringing real benefits to Scottish and UK businesses. The context But also Westminster and Brussels.

  12. The IRIS Unit works closely with the Cabinet Office Regulatory Impact Unit. The success of the Cabinet Office in pursuing this agenda is vitally important for Scottish businesses. The Regulatory Reform Act holds out the promise of real and tangible improvements being made to the regulatory environment for all UK businesses. Already savings of £40m have been suggested by five recent consultation documents. With Regulatory Reform Ministers, the Panel for Regulatory Accountability, the Better Regulation Taskforce and the Small Business Service working towards a better regulatory environment, the UK Government is committed to this agenda. Westminster successes

  13. With a significant number of the regulations that affect businesses arising out of EU Directives it is vital that the improving regulation agenda is mirrored within Europe. With a pilot Business Impact Assessment, pilot European Business Test Panel (EBTP) and Simpler Legislation for the Internal Market (SLIM)much is being done to improve the Commission's record on regulation. However it is recognised that there is yet work to be done. Ministers have called for significant reforms and concrete proposals for action from the Commission and this pressure will continue. European Successes

  14. The IRIS Unit in its short term has already made significant strides in changing the culture towards regulation. It has brought forward the Improving Regulation Strategy and redrafted better regulation guidance. The IRIS Unit - A summary It has ensured the development and implementation of Executive policy is completed in full recognition of the principles of better regulation. It has built a constructive dialogue with partners such as business organisations, CoSLA and NDPBs.

  15. The Future The work continues… We will pursue the better regulation agenda forcefully to secure for Scottish businesses the best regulatory environment thus freeing businesses to succeed. This work will continue in partnership and YOU can help us. Contact the IRIS Unit at: iris@scotland.gov.uk or 0141 242 5546 or via www.scotland.gov.uk/who/elld/iris.asp

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