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16.5% upsurge in businesses asking Cornwall Council for help with regulation

Cornwall Council’s regulators have announced a 16.5% increase in the number of businesses contacting them for support in 2016.

The Council is attributing the rise to the introduction of its Business Regulatory Support service, which launched in January 2016 to offer businesses a single point of contact for advice on regulations, from food hygiene and licensing to planning and fire safety.

In 2016, over 7,233 businesses contacted Cornwall Council for advice on regulation, compared to 6,209 in 2015. There was a particular increase in start-up businesses seeking help, with 75% of new food businesses receiving advice from the Council’s regulatory teams, compared to only 12% in 2015.

The Business Regulatory Support service came about as a result of business feedback channelled through the Better Business for All partnership, driven by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP. Better Business for All is committed to improving the way regulation is delivered to help Cornwall’s businesses grow, save time and money. 

Responding to feedback from Cornwall’s businesses that the Council’s regulatory services were difficult to access, Better Business for All brought about a simpler approach. For the first time, businesses now have a single point of contact for regulatory support. 

The service gives expert advice on regulations across environmental health, licensing, trading standards, planning and building control and fire safety. Promising a same day response, the Business Regulatory Support service offers Cornish businesses a quick and easy way to access advice on regulations. Callers are asked about their business and are then advised on what they need to do to meet regulations. 

The new hub also offers a number of new specialist support packages for new and existing businesses. These include food and safety advice, product labelling and environmental protection support to help businesses making planning applications. Others are being developed for fire protection and business continuity planning assistance. Julian German, Portfolio Holder for Economy and Culture, Cornwall Council said:

“I am delighted to have led on Better Business for All for Cornwall Council’s Cabinet. Businesses are finding the Business Regulatory Support Service helpful in providing advice which helps them save money and run a more efficient business. The new service is helping Cornwall’s start-up businesses get it right first time. 
“We know that many businesses have been put off from contacting regulators in the past, through fear of enforcement. I am very pleased to see how Better Business for All is helping to break down these barriers and that regulators and businesses have formed positive working relationships. Cornwall Council is committed to creating the best possible regulatory environment, one that promotes business success at the same time as protecting our communities. I am proud of the improvement in this service; it has taken a cultural shift and hard work, and now we can see the benefits for our businesses and residents. ” 

In 2016, Cornwall’s Better Business for All partnership was voted the best business-regulator partnership in the country, by the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. LEP Board Director Sarah Trethowan said:

“When Better Business for All started, the LEP had identified regulation as a barrier to business growth. Many businesses avoided contacting their regulators, through fear of enforcement. Those that did want to get advice found it difficult to access the right information or even something as simple as finding out who to call. It was clear that what was needed was a single point of contact, and a service that delivered regulation in a much more business-friendly way. 

“We are very pleased to see the positive response that the Business Regulatory Support service has had in its first year. By offering an excellent service, regulators can play a key role in helping Cornwall’s businesses grow and compete.” 

Better Business for All is managed by a steering group which includes small and large regulated businesses in Cornwall, the Federation of Small Businesses, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and representatives from a cross-section of regulatory services at Cornwall Council (including Environmental Health, Licensing, Trading Standards, Fire, Planning and Building Control). 

Businesses can access regulatory advice through the Business Regulatory Support service on 0300 1234 212 or  businessadvice@cornwall.gov.uk   

Case study: the Carbis Bay Hote

When the Carbis Bay Hotel, St Ives, was setting up kitchens for its two sister hotels – The Gannet Inn and Atlantic Bay Hotel – it contacted the Business Regulatory Support service. As a new venture, the Gannet Inn needed a brand new kitchen and the business wanted advice on the kitchen set up and menus for both restaurants. 

The hotel used the new Gain or Retain 5 service, which helps businesses with catering premises understand what they need to do to achieve the best possible National Food Hygiene Rating score. Assistant Manager Emma Smith said:

“We’ve had a lot of experience of working with the Council’s regulators in the past but this time we felt there was a much better relationship. Businesses are generally wary of regulators but I am pleased to say that we have fully benefitted from this support. 
“We had advice on everything from the layout of the kitchen to the menus. The chef was also involved in the discussions, which was a great help. We listened to all their advice and executed it, getting everything right first time. In the past we probably would have sought assistance from any number of consultants, so having everything we required from the Business Regulatory Support service was a considerable time and cost saving. 
“The new service works really well for us and we’re very happy with the advice we had.”

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