Regulation used to be all about the regulator in one corner and those being regulated in the other and the constant slog between them to get anywhere. This approach was of course rightly disposed of as being bad for business and tarnished the image of regulation which in the whole is a necessity.
These days the world of regulation is a million miles away from that. It became clear that the only positive way forward was for regulators and businesses to work together because ultimately both parties aim for the same outcome – safe and well managed premises and environments.
Positive partnership has become the cornerstone of licensing regulation and engagement and in many ways one will be hard pressed to find better examples of real partnership than those in licensing regulation. It cuts across almost every aspect of licensing and has transformed the relationship between licensing regulator and business.
It is becoming common practice for national statutory guidance to focus on the message of positive partnership in regulation. This is no more so than in the Licensing Act s.182 guidance to local authorities where numerous references to “working in partnership”. The essence of this is captured in the following paragraph:
“All parties are expected to work together in partnership to ensure that the licensing objectives are promoted collectively.”
The Licensing Act is not alone in this, the Gambling Act’s statutory guidance also “seeks to reinforce the importance of partnership working between licensing authorities (LAs) and local businesses to mitigate risks to the licensing objectives.”
Examples of positive partnership in licensing regulation are numerous but below are a few examples:
- National Pub watch? groups where local businesses, council officers and police officers come together to promote a safer drinking environment in licensed premises throughout the UK.
- Best Bar None, supported by the Home Office, local councils and the drinks industry these schemes are aimed primarily at promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises.
- Purple Flag which is the accreditation process for town & city centres that meet or surpass the standards of excellence in managing the evening and night time economy (ENTE).
- National roll out of safeguarding training for licensed taxi and private hire drivers often in partnership with local councils and police forces
- The BRDO’s primary authority partnerships that offers businesses the opportunity to form a legally recognised partnership with a local authority, which then provides robust and reliable advice for other councils to take into account when carrying out inspections or dealing with non-compliance.
National licence week itself is a great example of positive partnership. National licence week partners represents all the sectors in the industry, ranging from trade bodies, independent traders, local authorities to the highest level of national Government – all working to achieve the same aim.