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Tory Councils cutting red tape

For a Labour Government Quango to be passing judgment on others having too much bureaucracy does remind me a bit of the United Nations deciding the Cuba would be a suitable country to sit pontificating on its Human Rights Council.

Nevertheless I am pleased to see that three Conservative Councils - Bexley, Westminster and Cambridgeshire - have won a "Beacon Award for Cutting Red Tape" sponsored by the Local Better Regulation Office.

Clive Grace, the LBRO chair, said:

"The Beacons awards are often called the Oscars of local government and the parallels are clear – they are very difficult to win and they recognise outstanding work.

"The officers and members of these three councils deserve plaudits for their inspirational and groundbreaking work. In the current economic climate, the support that local authority regulators can provide to business is more important than ever. Cutting red tape is an absolutely essential part of bringing Britain out of the recession."

Westminster achieved Beacons status in recognition of its efforts to make sure that its regulatory services are delivered in a way that reflects the needs of its local communities and businesses. The successful application includes reference to its work in Chinatown, where local restaurants were supported to improve compliance through a ‘masterchef’ competition.

Bexley’s involvement in the Retail Enforcement Pilot helped earn it Beacon status. The pilot saw regulators join forces with police and fire services to share intelligence about non-compliance and reduce the number of inspections that law-abiding firms face. By better targeting resources, action was focused on working with licensees to tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder and underage sales – leading to a 20 per cent fall in crime and more than 1,000 fewer victims.

The Beacon award for Cambridgeshire was given after judges were presented with evidence of a highly successful campaign to tackle doorstep crime. Council regulators helped develop ‘no cold-calling’ zones and a registered traders scheme, which tackled the rogues and criminals undermining honest competition, protected vulnerable people from fraud and helped match accredited companies with local residents needing work done.

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