As part of the Focus on Enforcement campaign, the Government is urging companies, particularly small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to feed in their experiences of fire safety enforcement by fire safety officers who visit premises to ensure compliance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

The Government is also interested to hear where companies get advice on fire safety compliance.

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said: “Business owners rightly have important legal responsibilities to protect their employees and customers from the risk of fire. But finding helpful and authoritative advice on what fire prevention and protection measures are appropriate and cost-effective may sometimes be a challenge.

“Determining precisely how best to comply – without giving rise to unnecessary costs – can sometimes be a real issue. That’s why I’m urging anyone who has experienced problems in seeking to comply with fire safety requirements to visit the Focus on Enforcement website and to let us know your views.

“We know there’s some good practice out there too. So tell us on the website where you have had good advice and support.

“This is your chance to tell us about what works for you – and what doesn’t – and to make sure that, wherever possible, compliance advice and enforcement go with the grain of business aspirations.”

Fire Minister Bob Neill said: “This review will help ensure that regulations are applied in a common sense way, ensuring that we continue to protect lives and property from harm.”

The review has also been welcomed by the Chief Fire Officer Association.

Neil Gibbins, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, and the Chief Fire Officers Association’s strategic lead for fire protection, said: “Fire and Rescue Services are keen to help businesses stay safe from fire, and to continue to drive down fire deaths, injuries and losses. If there are ways of achieving the necessary levels of safety more efficiently we would welcome feedback from businesses.”

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The FSB welcomes the work of the Focus on Enforcement project. This is a good opportunity for businesses to raise concern and suggest improvements to the way that regulations are enforced. There are some good examples of regulators working proactively with businesses to ensure that they understand the pressures that small firms are under and support them where they can. We hope that best practice of this kind is disseminated to all regulators.”

The range of issues on which the campaign is calling for evidence includes:

o How and where companies access information about fire safety issues, legal obligations, and how to comply with the law.

o What information they need, and how they would like to access advice and guidance on fire safety matters.

o Activity undertaken by fire and rescue authorities to support business compliance.

o Interactions businesses have with fire and rescue authorities on their premises.
The campaign allows comments to be posted ‘on the record’ or anonymously on the website. We are also looking to hear views from and about commercial providers of fire safety information. We would be interested to hear if there is any evidence of companies being encouraging to undertake unnecessary compliance activity e.g. where regulation does not actually require a company to do something, but they are led to believe it does

Join the conversation on Twitter using the #focusenforce hashtag.

Improving Fire Safety Enforcement is now live on the Focus on Enforcement website and can be found at: http://discuss.bis.gov.uk/focusonenforcement.

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