There are currently two reviews in focus
- Improving Enforcement in Childcare- Deadline for comments extended until 26 March 2013!
In this review, we are asking anyone involved in childcare to let us know their views and experiences on how current enforcement of regulation in the childcare sector is working. This review aims to ensure children get the protection and support they need while giving providers greater clarity and guidance, so they can focus on giving high standards of care rather than being held back by unnecessary bureaucracy.
Over the next 6 weeks until 26 March 2013 – Childcare providers, nurseries and pre-schools for children in the early years group (0-5years), as well as users of childcare services are invited to provide examples of how current enforcement of regulation could be improved, driving up standards while removing confusing bureaucratic requirements that divert carers from meeting the needs of children. You are also asked to suggest how regulators could better help providers comply with the law and to highlight where regulation is working well, so that good practice can be extended and replicated across the sector. We will do our best to consider any comments posted after 26 March but after that date cannot guarantee that they will be fed into the review.
We would be interested in hearing your comments on topics such as:
- the extent to which compliance and enforcement activity in childcare and pre-school education is: proportionate to the risks it seeks to mitigate; targeted; consistent; transparent; and accountable;
- the advice you have been given on how to comply with the law, whether from local or national Government, from regulators or from non-Government sources, such as trade associations
- any overlaps, gaps and coordination between multiple regulatory regimes from the perspective of the business or self-employed provider or parent
- how regulators arrange and carry out inspections of location or equipment needed for your business
- perceptions of the law that may drive unnecessary behaviour
- how you responded in any cases where you felt that your treatment by those enforcing regulations may have been unfair or that you may have been asked to carry out activities that were unnecessary for regulatory compliance
- enforcement proceedings taken against you or an organisation you know in the event of perceived or actual failure to comply with regulations (we cannot consider comments on specific cases unless all proceedings have finished – but we can consider general evidence in relation to enforcement proceedings)
- whether there is unreasonable or unnecessary pressure brought to bear on providers by third-parties.
We would also really like to hear where you think things are working well and to hear of examples of good practice which you think others should copy.
Regulatory Appeals Mechanisms Have you ever felt a local or national regulator’s decision (for example on hygiene, health and safety, environmental protection etc) affecting your business and/or costing you money wasn’t quite right and thought about asking for a second opinion, challenging the decision or just wanted to have an explanation? If so – regardless of what happened and whether or not you pursued this – we’d like to hear from you. We have been told some companies are reluctant to question a regulator’s decision, in any way, so we’d really like to know what would make companies feel more confident about asking for a second opinion or querying a decision and to have your views on whether current appeals / second opinion systems in regulators work, or could be improved.
Evidence gathered during previous Focus on Enforcement reviews shows that appeals mechanisms, or routes to seeking an informal second opinion are not always clear, consistent or available and that companies can sometimes feel reluctant to appeal for fear of damaging relationships. We have also uncovered some good examples of appeals procedures and of regulators that make clear they are open to appeals. We want to hear from you with experiences from your sector.
Over the next 10 weeks – until 15 February – we are asking people to let us have their experiences of using formal and informal appeals/second opinion processes when you have wanted to query or appeal against a regulatory decision. This includes examples of good practice that you think others should copy. We will do our best to consider comments posted after 15 February but cannot guarantee that they will be fed into the review.
We would be interested to hear from you on:
- Whether clear, easy to find, usable appeals mechanisms operate in your sector, allowing you to query decisions made by a regulator
- Whether informal processes or routes to a second opinion operate in your sector, providing a swift opportunity for you to query regulatory decisions or advice
- Whether there is sufficient guidance available on how to lodge an appeal
- Whether appeal terminology is clear so you know what process to use
- Examples of constructive appeals processes, formal or informal, that could be shared
- What role independent third parties such as trade associations might have in an appeals process and in giving companies confidence that they will get a fair hearing, without damaging their working relationship with the regulatory team.
- What other actions might regulators take (for example some regulators publish statistics on numbers of appeals received and percentages of appeals that have been upheld) to encourage a healthy relationship where companies feel able to appeal decisions without fear, but which do not make it easier for determinedly non-compliant companies to ‘game the system’
Share your experiences
What will we do with your feedback?
Your views will all be considered by the Focus on Enforcement Review team in the Better Regulation Executive in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Comments from this site (which can be made anonymously) will form a key part of the evidence base considered by the review team, ahead of putting advice to Ministers on issues you raise. The Government will then decide what action to take in response and we will report progress as soon as we can on this website.