The Kent and Medway Better Business for All (BBfA) has received recognition at a special awards presentation during the government’s Better Regulation Delivery Office’s Shared Learning Day at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in London.
The Better Business For All (BBfA) initiative for Kent and Medway was launched in 2013 and is endorsed by all the local authority Chief Executives in Kent and Medway. It is a partnership aimed at improving relationships between regulatory bodies and businesses, making access to information easier and helping to create economic growth.
The Kent and Medway BBfA has the support of all 12 district and borough councils, Medway Council, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), KCC Trading Standards, as well as Kent County Council and the Kent Economic Development Officers Group. It is also well supported by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses and Produced in Kent, as well as a number of individual businesses.
BBfA was presented with an award for the best new-comers in the “One to Watch” category and came third place in the “Innovations” category, recognising the proactive setting up of a website www.bbfa.biz to establish a single point of contact in the absence of a Growth Hub, which was seen by the judges as a great way to collect and distribute information in an accessible way for both businesses and regulators.
Jane Heeley, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s Chief Environmental Health Officer and Chair of the Kent and Medway BBfA Steering Group was also awarded ‘runner up’ in ‘Individual Ambassador Award’ in recognition of her strong leadership in driving forward the partnership in Kent and Medway, leading her team to overcome barriers and coming up with innovative solutions, such as setting up the website.
Nicolas Heslop, Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Regeneration, said: “Since its inception at the end of 2013, the Kent & Medway BBFA Initiative has made incredible progress and I am delighted that the work that the partnership has delivered has received the recognition it deserves in the form of these awards. Congratulation to all involved and I look forward to further strides being made during the coming months."
KFRS Area Manager for Technical Fire Safety John Robertson said: “We have been delighted to be part of the Better Business for All initiative over the last two years. Partnerships like this are at the heart of what we do, and we are pleased that the work of the initiative has been highlighted by these awards. We believe Kent Fire and Rescue Service has an important part to play in helping local businesses - large and small - remain safe for their staff and customers, stay in business, grow and develop.”
The Kent and Medway BBfA’s progress last year was recognized by the judges who shortlisted it for ‘Special Contribution Award’ with the emphasis on delivering training to 300 regulators, developing the website and attending business-to-business events. The Kent and Medway Growth Hub, run by the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, was established in December 2015 and handles referrals to businesses.
Cllr Jane Chitty, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, said: “This initiative has been hugely important in building good relationships between regulatory bodies and local businesses, making access to information easier and helping to create economic growth. It’s wonderful that the BBfA for Kent and Medway has been recognised at these awards, and it goes to show how valuable joined up working can be.”
Note to editors
Photo caption: Kent and Medway Better Business for All (BBfA) receive recognition at the awards presentation (left to right): Kathryn Preece - BRDO, Carolyn Mell and Jane Heeley - Kent & Medway BBfA Chair, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Geoff Dingsdale - Medway Council, Julie Oliver - Kent Fire & Rescue Service, Alison Trainor - Medway Council
During 2015 the Kent and Medway BBfS undertook the following:
1. March 2015 – presentation to Joint Chief Executives meeting
2. April 2015 – development of regulator training and the BBfA website.
3. May 2015 – ongoing publicity and marketing
4. July-October 2015 – delivery of regulator training
5. August-September 2015 – Presentation to the Kent Business Advisory Board and Kent Economic Development Officers Group (KEDOG)
6. November 2015 – official launch of the www.bbfa.biz website.
7. December 2015 – working directly with Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce to improve links with the Growth Hub.
The following activities are planned for 2016:
1. Increase the number of best practice case studies on the BBfA website.
2. Develop the business engagement task and finish group
3. Identify funding streams to ensure continuation of activities.
4. Start to evidence impact of BBfA