A few years ago the Government decided it would be simpler for businesses if new regulations were brought in twice a year - on 6 April and 1 October.*
So what's new from 1 October 2009? Not much to be honest - some measures left over from the Companies Act 2006, a few minor changes to the minimum wage and no new health and safety legislation whatsoever.
Good news as far as small firms are concerned. Small business groups such as the Forum of Private Business (FPB) reckon business regulations are a big enough "burden" already.
According to the FPB, small firms with up to 9 employees spend an average of 33 hours per month complying with regulations. This rises to 48 hours each month for businesses with between 10 and 49 employees, and 131 hours for medium-sized companies with 50 to 249 workers – equivalent to one full-time member of staff.
The FPB says time spent on employment law costs small businesses £2.4 billion per year, while health and safety administration costs £2.1 billion. Business owners spend an average of four hours every month on building and property regulations, four on standards, three on environment and waste regulations, and an hour per month on equality and diversity.**
Such loss of time and money is one of the biggest problems faced by small businesses.
At Aviva, we're helping small firms by giving them vital online guidance. On this site for example, our Risk Advice section offers many simple guides that make health & safety, fire safety and other regulations easier to understand and comply with.
We've also recently launched the Cut Red Tape site - www.cutredtape.co.uk
– exclusively available to Aviva’s commercial policyholders. This includes useful forms, checklists and information designed to help our small business policyholders with legislation.
If you own a small firm, help yourself to our guides. If you know a small businesses that would find this information useful, pass it on.
Big businesses such as Aviva are fortunate. We can afford to employ experts who know all about, and can manage health & safety, fire safety, security, employment and environment issues, business continuity and so on.
The least we can do is pass some of our know-how on.
* Common commencement dates (Business Link) - http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?type=ONEOFFPAGE&itemId=1075320304