Regulation is a controversial topic in business - while some recognise the need to have rules of operation, others feel constrained by the boundaries it can create.
The Government’s Red Tape Challenge and the leaked details of the Beecroft Report both indicate the the removal of regulatory burden could help to facilitate growth and jobs, but a team from Newcastle University and De Montfort University feel that regulation has an important part to play in business - as long as it is used in the correct manner.
In a study entitled “Situation small business regulation: A longitudinal study of how small firms receive, understand and respond to regulation” (REBEL) the team looked at the way small businesses receive, understand and respond to regulatory change.
Dr Simon Down, a senior lecturer in Newcastle University Business School was one of the researchers working on the project. He was keen to stress the importance of regulation, but admitted that there is no simple solution.
He said: “Regulation can frame business and make it more professional - and that formalisation can ensure that businesses are doing things properly.
“However, businesses find it very confusing and destabilising to have to deal with constant changes in regulation.”
Dr Down expressed his concern over the terms of the Beecroft report, and is now hoping that a number of events in Nottingham, Newcastle and London will attract the attention of policymakers.
“I don’t think that making radical changes is a good idea - it needs to be carefully considered,” he continued. “ It’s easy to say get rid of all regulation, but when you come out and say ‘well actually we have got good regulation’, it can be difficult to get policymakers wanting change to pick it up, because they will choose evidence which backs up what they want to do.”
Key stakeholders including individuals from the Environment Agency and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills will be in attendance at some of the event, and Dr Down now hoped that their will respond positively to his findings.
At events in Newcastle and Nottingham, the key findings of the study will be used to demonstrate to businesses that regulation, if managed well, can actually improve and benefit a business.
The event will also allow businesses to offer their own concerns and issues regarding regulation, whilst also gaining access to policymakers interested in their views.
In the meanwhile, Dr Down is encouraging businesses to implement effective mechanisms to ensure they can make the most of regulation.
“Get information, and look at examples of professional companies and how processes benefit their business,” Dr Down added. “ Businesses should also consider buying in services to give advice and help build up the compliance needed to formalize procedures, manage staff and create a culture of professionalism.”
Where Next for Small Business Regulation? Building Better Policy:
London, 29th June 12.30-2.30pm.