The review, being conducted by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), will look at how the GLA inspects businesses and enforces regulations.
If it were to recommend that the GLA take a more targeted, risk-based approach to inspection, it could significantly cut the amount of paperwork law-abiding firms have to undertake – saving time and cutting costs.
Terry Jones, FDF director of communications, said: “The food manufacturing industry has been concerned about increasing red tape which could render us uncompetitive. We want to see proportionate legislation and enforcement that does not penalise law abiding operations.”
Jones added the FDF supported a system that ensured the food and drink industry maintained high employment standards as part of its continued efforts to polish its image. “We are keen to ensure that the industry’s reputation as a responsible employer is not tarnished by a small minority of labour providers who do not comply with the legislation,” he said.
Two new appointments to the GLA board are Angela Coleshill, FDF director of competitiveness, and Catherine Pazderka, British Retail Consortium sustainability adviser.
Coleshill said: “My role on the board will ensure that food and drink manufacturers’ perspectives are represented and bring the sector’s knowledge and experience to this important regulatory role.”
A BIS report –Review of workplace rights compliance and enforcement– will be published later this spring, said a BIS spokesman. The government wanted to cut red tape as part of its Red Tape Challenge and has presented recommendations for changing the way the GLA operates to the Farming Regulation Task Force – an independent body reviewing all legislation affecting farming.
One recommendation was that the GLA should be allowed to extend a “lighter touch” approach that was being piloted in the forestry sector to other low-risk areas such as farming.
Any changes suggested by the BIS report could be applied across all sectors of the food industry under GLA administration by this summer, according to the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). That included: fish, shellfish, meat, dairy and food processing.
A DEFRA spokeswoman said:“The government is committed to protecting vulnerable workers. That’s why we’re looking at improving the operation of the GLA so that it can carry out its important work while reducing burdens on compliant businesses.”
Earlier this year, FoodManufacture.co.uk reported that the review would also look at the financing of the GLA. At the time, it was rumoured that funding for the GLA would be slashed following publication of the report, leading to problems with the policing of food industry employment standards. DEFRA denied rumours that the review could result in control of the GLA being transferred from DEFRA to BIS.