Sue Harvey works for Kent Trading Standards, in their Business Advice Team. In this blog she’ll give you an introduction to regulation in business plus informs us about what’s on offer for businesses in Kent and Medway from the Better Business for All initiative.
Why do I need to know about regulations?
Regulations can get a bit of a bad name and can often be seen as ‘red tape‘ but in actual fact they are there to protect and ensure consumers, our communities and businesses are safe and fairly treated. As a business you will have certain responsibilities to meet but there’s also rights to protect you and your business.
- Getting your regulatory responsibilities wrong not only means that you may end up breaking the law, but it can harm your business reputation and end up costing you more in time/money in the long run.
- Knowing your rights means you can avoid losing money, for instance giving a refund or losing a deposit when you are not required to, doing unnecessary building work, or buying unnecessary equipment.
It really is best to get it right from the beginning, rather than learning from what could be an expensive mistake, it doesn’t have to be tricky though, all you need to do is ask.
What is Better Business for All?
Kent & Medway, Better Business for All (BBfA) is a partnership between local regulators and businesses. The business partners include Federation of Small Businesses, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Kent and Medway Growth Hub and Produced in Kent.
The regulators included in this initiative are:
- Building control – for new premises, alterations to your premises or new services and fittings within your premises
- Environmental health – for food registration and hygiene, health & safety
- Environment agency – along with local environmental protection teams can advise on pollution and nuisance prevention
- Fire & rescue – help on fire prevention, fire procedures and firefighting equipment
- Licensing – you may need a licence for your from serving alcohol, animal breeding and boarding to skin piercing
- Planning – you may need permission for the use of land and the design of buildings
- Trading standards – advice on consumer and traders rights, safety of consumer goods, food and animal feed labelling and selling goods by weight or volume
We all want Kent & Medway to enjoy the economic growth that businesses bring. Making it easier for the good businesses to comply with the law and be successful, means regulators can spend more time tackling the unfair competition from rogue traders.
How can BBfA benefit my business?
We can’t promise to change the law but we are keen to help businesses locally get it right. We do understand how daunting it is; being faced with lots of rules and regulations, especially when you are first setting out. Whether you are just starting to develop your business idea or are up and running, regulators can guide you through what appears a complex web of rules.
Better Business for All provides advice on how the law applies to you and your business helping you find the most cost effective way for your business to comply. To help small businesses in Kent and Medway on offer is:
- A website to point you in the right direction so you can contact your local regulators in each district or borough council where your business is based, which may be your home address. Contact countywide regulators e.g. Kent Fire & Rescue plus find out about national initiatives and news.
- Download the business start-up brochure ‘The Kent and Medway business guide to regulation‘ to guide you through the regulations that may apply to you as a new or expanding business.